Batman #78, published by DC Comics, is written by Tom King, with art by Clay Mann, colors by Tomeu Morey, and letters by Clayton Cowles. The ‘City of Bane’ arc continues in this issue, as Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle mend their relationship while training to take back their city from the menacing Bane.
Although labeled as the fourth part of the ‘City of Bane’ arc, this issue of Batman also acts as the first half of an interlude to this ongoing story. The cliffhanger ending to the last issue in which Damian Wayne is forced to see a member of the Bat-Family killed is not even mentioned at all, which slows down the momentum built up last time. Instead, the book focuses on Bruce, currently incognito under his alter-ego ‘Matches Malone’, and Selina’s relationship after the former’s physical defeat at the hands of Bane and his father, as well as mentally after the latter’s jilt at the alter.
The issue, which almost serves as a pilot to the upcoming Batman/Catwoman, does a great job at delving into Bruce and Selina’s minds and what their feelings are about what happened during the big wedding event. King clearly adores these two characters and what their relationship and history mean to each other. This is evident throughout his run and this issue in particular. Those who are fans of the couple will be extremely happy with the focus of this interlude. Selina helps Bruce to regain his strength and wills, while Bruce also understands how his own failings extend to the breakdown of their relationship.
If the issue was purely about Bruce and Selina’s relationship without any other lasting consequences, it would feel almost cheap, but that’s not the case here. It’s clear that one of the key weapons in Bane’s arsenal is his manipulation of Batman’s heart and mission, hence how easy it was for the villain to take control of the city after the breakdown of the wedding. So, Bruce and Selina reconciling fit perfectly with the physical recuperation for the hero, in this almost montage-like standalone issue.
Mann and Morey excel at complimenting each other’s skills, delivering readers with a visual delight. Much like King, Mann clearly enjoys drawing these two characters and it comes across through the book. Morey helps to bring the issue to life with spot-on color choices that add a cinematic style to the story. A great example is the way the sea is brought to life using a mixture of blues and greens, absolutely brilliant. Cowels’ lettering emphasizes King’s script at all the right moments and the placement of the speech bubbles never feels out of place.
During the issue, we see Bruce Wayne in disguise with a mustache while staking out a beach and soaking in the sun with Selina. With his long hair and new tache in tow, Bruce looks like Magnum PI’s clone, which seems to be the intention from artist Mann, who posted on Twitter that Tom Selleck himself makes a cheeky cameo in the book. It’s a fun little easter egg to look out for when flicking through the book again.
Overall, Batman #78 is a fun first part of an interlude that dives deep into the relationship between Batman and Catwoman. It is strengthed by the writer and artists’ adoration for the story, but the abrupt change in pace may upset those who wanted to see the aftermath of the previous issues’ cliffhanger.
Batman #78 is available now wherever comics are sold.
Batman #78 is a fun first part of an interlude that dives deep into the relationship between Batman and Catwoman.