HomeBooksReview: Batman #42

Review: Batman #42

By: Andrew Fontana

Nothing is quite what it initially seems in Tom King’s and Mikel Janin’s Batman #42.

What begins as a high stakes clash between Batman and Catwoman on one hand and and a mind-controlled Justice League on the other ends as a serious exploration of what makes Poison Ivy tick. King’s run on Batman has brought a fresh perspective of every character he writes, and fortunately he doesn’t lose his touch here.

Poison Ivy’s motivations are fleshed out in a manner that makes her more sympathetic to the reader and elevates the entire plot to something more captivating. Themes of trauma have been at the heart of King’s work on Batman, and he applies that here by asking one question that is at the center of this arc: how do you come back to yourself after doing something terrible?

Poison Ivy is tormented behind her imperious facade; king let’s this out in bits and slips of dialogue, whether they be declamations of power or her brief conversation with Selina. All of this feels earned and organic both to King’s narrative arc on Batman in general and for Ivy’s character in particular. King’s reveal of this turmoil as the motivation behind Ivy’s scheme’s adds an intriguing wrinkle to the “Everyone Loves Ivy” arc.

King deftly juxtaposes this with Batman and Catwoman’s attempt to get to the root (pun intended) of Ivy’s global empire. The constant back and forth between DC’s newest power couple is as entertaining as always, as is Batman’s clever takedowns of fellow league members. All of this moves perhaps a bit too fast, but the creative team can be forgiven for trying to craft a story this big in only three issues.

It doesn’t hurt that Mikel Janin is given penciling duties. There isn’t much action for him to draw, but what he does is cinematic in scope. The constant back and forth between Ivy and the others she controls is rendered seamlessly from panel to panel. Janin’s particularly detailed facial expressions make these transitions effective without being jarring in the least. He is joined by June Chung on colors, whose shades of red and green add an ethereal quality to scenes involving Ivy.

Rating: 8.5

Batman #42 is available at comic book retailers everywhere.


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