A Double Date for the Ages – Batman #37 Review
by James Ferguson
Batman and Catwoman go on a double date with Superman and Lois Lane. That’s all you need to know about Batman #37. That might sound like a trivial side-story, but it’s far from it. Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent are best friends and it’s important that their significant others meet and get along, although neither one will come out and say that. The quartet goes to a carnival of all places and tonight is super hero night, so they’ll only be allowed entry if they’re dressed in tights. It’s a good thing they have a few pairs lying around. To avoid suspicion, they switch costumes. Batman is dressed as Superman, Lois is dressed as Catwoman, and vice versa.
Swapping out the costumes is a nice move considering the dialogue. You’re forced to remind yourself that although you’re seeing one character, it’s actually the other one speaking. This helps you realize that despite their many differences, Batman and Superman are a lot alike. These two men form an unlikely pair that balance one another, just like their relationships.
Lois is a fast-moving city girl while Clark is a country farm boy. Selina is a criminal while Bruce loathes crime. Despite these differences, they complement each other well, forming a complete whole. It just fits. There are some pitch perfect moments throughout Batman #37 that explain this, such as the statement “When I fall, he catches me.” This is said by Selina explaining why she’s marrying Bruce and then it’s later repeated by Bruce to explain why he’s marrying Selina. It’s incredibly well written.
Although it can be tough to remind yourself that the characters are wearing different costumes, there’s still a lot of themselves to be seen. Artist Clay Mann maintains the basics of each of them. For example, Bruce is still gruff and surly, despite wearing Superman’s blue and red suit. Meanwhile, Clark is sporting his glasses over the Batman costume which is probably the nerdiest thing in the entire world.
As with the previous issue, and a number of writer Tom King’s books, there are some repeated panels, used to emphasize a moment. It’s a way to control the pacing, which is traditionally something that creators have less ability to do in comics. By showing a shot again, it gives it an additional beat, like timing a joke correctly. It also puts some additional emphasis on these shots, even if they’re just images of the characters eating ice cream.
Mann frames each scene well, putting the characters in your immediate and solitary focus. The backgrounds could fade away so long as Batman, Superman, Catwoman, and Lois remain and it would be just as effective.
Jordie Bellaire’s colors create the feeling of a warm night at the carnival. The cool darkness of the night is pushed away by the lights from the rides and attractions, keeping it at bay long enough for the patrons to have an evening of fun.
This is a Batman comic where no punches are thrown. Aside from one very dumb mugger, there are no bad guys. If you’re looking for fisticuffs, you won’t find them here. Instead, what you will get is an amazing examination of four major characters in the DC Universe. It’s a special kind of comic that doesn’t come around nearly enough, one that dives into the heart, soul, and mind of the characters we follow on these crazy adventures month-in and month-out. The friendship/rivalry between Batman and Superman is essential to both of their mythos and helps round them out as individuals. This now extends to their romantic relationships as they’re becoming better men due to their close ties with their significant others.
Batman #37 is currently available at your local comic shop and digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.