By Cat Wyatt
It’s almost time for the wedding, so naturally many of the issues being released around this time are running off of that theme. Batman #48 is titled the Best Man, but in truth, it’s a pretty warped idea of the concept. It looks like it’s going to be a multi-issue story though so that things could get pretty interesting here.
If you had to ask yourself who the worst person for being best man would be, who would you say? It probably wouldn’t even occur to you to list the Joker as one, because the idea is so ludicrous. And yet here we have an issue that appears to be Joker heavy, with this title. Feel free to take a moment to theorize how that’s going to go.
The issue starts off with a man praying. His prayers are constantly interrupted by loud bang sounds, presumably a gun being fired. It doesn’t take much to realize what is happening here, but there’s some important context we really shouldn’t miss out on. The man is in a church, attending a wedding. He’s attending his own wedding. Or rather, he was.
By the time Batman arrives there’s only one person left alive from the bridal party – the bride herself. Naturally, the Joker uses her as a hostage in an attempt to keep Batman from beating the crap out of him. It probably would have gone better if his trigger finger hadn’t been a bit premature.
To be honest, it’s hard to believe that Batman would stand there watching Joker kill the bride like that. Even considering the lack of reaction time he would have, it just doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t feel like something Batman would allow to happen. And he certainly wouldn’t be watching the whole scene in sullen silence, would he?
The same scenario plays out with one of the last two survivors in the room being the ‘hostage.’ Batman. Joker gets through his ‘don’t move one step’ rant, but once again he can’t resist pulling the trigger. But this is Batman, and if anybody is going to have a Kevlar cowl, it’s him.
Unsurprisingly Joker staged this whole situation in an attempt to talk to Batman. Considering most of Joker’s life revolves around the Batman this makes total sense. What is alarming is the fact that Joker heard he was getting married. Bruce Wayne is getting married. That has been publicly announced. Batman is not getting married. There has been no announcement for that. See the very important distinction here?
It’s been theorized for years that Joker knows Batman’s true identity. The belief is he chooses to ignore this fact because it ruins the game. It’d be too easy to take out Bruce Wayne. Batman however, he’s a fun quarry to hunt. Thus he ignores the truth and lets the game go on.
By saying that Batman is getting married he acknowledges, at least on some level, that he knows the two men are the same person. This is worrying, but also incredibly interesting. Will other facts start bleeding through the boundaries in Joker’s mind, or is this the rare exception? What happens next?
Anyway, Joker is left with one final hostage if he’s hoping to get Batman to comply and allow this conversation to continue. Himself. Picture it: Joker and Batman standing in a church, Joker has a gun pointed to his own head, and he’s asking Batman to kneel beside him at the altar. You can’t get much more messed up than that.
This whole time Batman has been utterly silent. He’s watched Joker kill a woman, ramble on about his wedding, and then hold himself a gunpoint, and yet he hasn’t said a word. Even for Batman this is uncharacteristically silent.
That is until Batman utters his first word of the issue: Amen. That’s when shit hits the fan. Because Joker didn’t just want to talk, when does Joker ever just want to talk? Of course he planted a bomb in the freaking cross, and of course it went off at that exact moment. Who knows how Joker made it out mostly unharmed, but Batman took a good knock to the head.
The conclusion clearly sets up for at least one more issue; as Catwoman is coming to the rescue. With Batman unconscious this could end up turning into a Catwoman versus Joker fight. That could either be really interesting or really awful. Only time will tell.
This was an okay issue. It’s hard to believe that Batman would have taken all of these events in stride like he did, however the Joker side of things had some really interesting implications. While there’s a chance that this whole issue was done from Joker’s perspective, and therefore all of Batman’s actions were shown through rose tinted lenses so to speak, it’s pretty unlikely. It’ll be interesting if after everything is said and done they show us Batman’s opinion on what was said and done.