“Deliver me, o Lord, from the Evil Man.”

Wedding bells Are ringing. Did anyone really expect Batman and Catwoman’s wedding to go off without a hitch? That’s not how things go in comic books. Especially when you’re antagonized by none other than the Joker. A love and hatred like no other is the kind that exist between Joker and Batman. And it’s one of the most interesting dynamics in fiction, and arguably the best rivalry in conics. Some make the argument that Batman loves the Joker just as much as the clown loves him, but how can that be true? When so much mayhem has occurred. So much hardship has transpired. So it comes as no surprise that the Joker started to reveal his plans for Batman’s wedding in Batman #48.

Tom King has been planting seeds and building relationships for almost 50 issues. It’s been a great run that’s added to the Batman mythology and changed the character for the better.. He deserves this happy ending. But of course,  life isn’t fair. And neither is the Joker. Mikel Janin does a wonderful job of bringing his Joker to life with a neat yet unkempt sociopath with the eyes of a monster. A perfect Joker. Unfortunately, The Best Man Part 1 is not without its faults. Batman clearly isn’t thinking straight. He may have a card up his sleeve we’re not aware of, but he falls right into the Joker’s trap with ease. So as a Joker monologue, Batman #48 is a lesson in dialogue.

As a Batman comic, it’s a little lacking in the Batman part. The Caped Crusader is supposed to be one of the most intelligent humans on Earth. The perfect man. Yet the tangled webs in which he finds himself don’t seem to be that hard to figure out. If Batman does indeed have a trick up his sleeve, the reader could use a hint or two. Otherwise it just seems like a dumb character falling into a easy trap.

“Preserve me from the Violent Man.”

There’s something about the Joker that just lights up any page he’s on. Of course, he has his own van. His voice is entirely recognizable and entirely his own. But it’s the manner in which he speaks, the song and verse that tickles the edges of his speech. A uniquely poetic gift of gab completely opposite to that of the quiet and dignified Dark Knight. This isn’t the first time Tom King has sat the Joker in the room and had him wait. In fact, He’s been doing that a lot lately. Repetition is one of the signature and divisive parts of Tom King’s writing style.

Batman #48 Preview Page - Art by Mikel Janin - DC Comics

During the I Am Bane arc, it got a little redundant. He repeated the same three words over and over. The storytelling is starting to follow a similar pattern. Many accused Snyder of crafting a bat god, but no one will accuse Tom King of that. If anything this Batman could use a lesson or two in, well, Batmaning. Where are the contingency plans? Where are the police? There’s a line of logic that seems to be missing that could only be an element of the story that has yet to be revealed. Otherwise, it just feels like this Batman is not one we know. A flat character who is nowhere near the tactician and strategist every reader knows him to be.

Instead, it’s best to think of Batman #48 as a Joker comic. In that it’s a fantastic read and an almost introspective look at the inner monologue of one of the most villainous characters ever created. Tom King perfectly captures the Joker’s voice. The entire situation, nay the entire issue, is orchestrated by his thought process. The reader will only be entertained by the presence of the Joker.

“Keep me, o Lord, from the hands of the Wicked.”

Mikel Janin is an incredible artist. The only detriment is the somewhat computerist look that can linger in the character designs of his work. Though the designs are unique, they can still look a little artificial. Almost too perfect. The frame choices are perfect, an excellent way to build tension.They excite the reader and string them along as the Joker gets deeper and deeper into his plan. Some of the best pages of Batman #48 don’t even contain the Joker. Just his dialogue bubbles as some poor soul awaits their fate.

Batman #48 Preview Page - Art by Mikel Janin - DC Comics

It’s damaging, it’s emotional, and frankly it’s awesome. And it’s a heart-wrenching way to showcase just how little this character, or even comic writers in general, care about those victims. At the end of the day they’re just meat at the end of the Joker’s gun or knife. Janin and David Finch have helped to make Tom King’s run on Batman monumental and memorable. Batman #48 is another horrifyingly beautiful look at just how terrible the Joker is.

The Verdict

The Joker was eagerly awaiting an invitation to the Batman and Catwoman’s wedding that never came. A sad thought, isn’t it? That the love of his life wouldn’t want him to be there. To see him pass on his love to another. “Well, we can’t have that,” the Joker apparently thought. Here are the beginnings of his ultimate plan. A plan that doesn’t seem ultimate though. Unlike the brilliant thinker we all know him to be, the Batman in this issue does no such thing. Instead walks into traps with the thoughtless nature of a Superman or Wonder Woman. Batman is usually more cool and calculating than that. Someone who’s able to see through a ruse from a million miles away as if you were Clark seeing through a bank vault.

Instead, of a Batman-centric story the issue is devoted to watching The Joker fulfill his plan. Not a brilliant one, but an inevitable stopping point in the story of Batman’s happiness. Mikel Janin does a wonderful job of bringing Tom King’s story to life, even if  the uncanny valley can appear every now and then which can give the impression that there’s more pixel than paintbrush. But it still perfectly captures the horror that is the Joker. He never did get his invitation to the wedding. Batman #48 serves as a pseudo invitation to watch The Joker’s madness unfold. Hopefully, it gets better from here.

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Comic Book Review: Batman #48
Pros
  • A Maniacal Perfect Version of the Joker
  • Tension Builds to the Wedding of the Year
  • Janin's Joker Looks Just Right!
Cons
  • Janin's Art Can Seem A Little...Computer-Generated
  • Batman Needs a Dunce Cap
7Overall Score
Reader Rating: (1 Vote)
9.7

About The Author

Daniel Mills
Batman & DC Writer

Daniel Mills is a screenwriter and director working in Los Angeles, California. Far too many comics and Forgotten Realms-novels led him to want to tell stories of his own. From articles and opinion pieces to reviews and screenplays, he sees every new opportunity as another new realm waiting to be explored.

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