Batman 5: The Rules of Engagement

batman volume 5 the rules of engagment cover trade paperback tpb
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Art: 8/10

Feels like it is trying to make Batman fun again

Don't always work

Comic Info

Comic Name: Batman (Volume 3)

Publisher: DC Comics

Writer: Tom King

Artist: Joelle Jones/Clay Mann/Lee Weeks/Michael Lark/Seth Mann

# of Issues: 6

Release Date: 2018

batman #37 cover lois superman catwoman

Batman (3) #37

Reprints Batman (3) #33-37 and Annual #2 (December 2017-February 2018).  Bruce and Selina’s engagement is public, and now Batman and Catwoman are making the rounds.  First Bruce and Selina have a problem to deal with in the form of Bruce’s “ex” Talia al Ghul who isn’t happy about the announcement.  With the wedding upcoming, Bruce has some explaining to do to Clark about his falling for a “villain” and this means a night out on the town with Clark and Lois.  Plus, Batman remembers his earliest encounters with Catwoman as she played with his secret identity.

Written by Tom King, Batman Volume 5:  The Rules of Engagement is a DC Comics Rebirth title.  Following Batman Volume 4:  The War of Jokes and Riddles, the collection features art by Joelle Jones, Clay Manning, Lee Weeks Michael Lark, and Seth Manning.  Issues in this collection were also included in Batman:  Rebirth Deluxe Edition—Book 3 and Batman Arkham:  Talia al Ghul.

The Batman and Catwoman pairing was always just a bit too shiny for me.  Lois Lane and Superman always felt like they belonged together while Batman and Catwoman felt like a one-night stand (an illustration in Batman #37 demonstrated it perfectly with both Lois and Clark and Selina and Bruce’s reaction to the Tunnel of Love).  The marriage rounds made in this collection may be kind of necessary, but they also feel unreal.

batman annual #2 cover catwoman

Batman (3) Annual #2

The first part of the story has Batman and Catwoman essentially revealing their marriage plans to Batman’s former girlfriend (not really) Talia al Ghul.  Though the comic is working hard to make Catwoman an equal to Batman, it sometimes feels unrealistic such as the fight between Catwoman and Talia.  I like Catwoman but I don’t see her able to take Talia in a fight…and it kind of feels oddly insulting that Catwoman has to fight her fiancé’s ex to be ok to marry him.

The next storyline is Batman and Catwoman’s date with Superman and Lois.  The date is meant to easy tension between Superman and Batman, reestablish their friendship, and show that Batman can relax on occasion (something that hasn’t been shown much in years since The Dark Knight Returns.  It is a little too light and goofy, and unlike something like the X-Men playing baseball together, it feels more forced.

I commend DC for trying to put the fun back in comics, but I think it is a challenging and difficult process.  Batman demonstrates this attempt, and it shows some success and some failure.  Comics don’t always have to be dark and grim (they were happy and light for decades), but there is a place for dark and grim and I do think there is a happy medium…I don’t know that Batman has found that happy medium in this attempt, but I will see if it continues to try.  Batman 5:  The Rules of Engagement is followed by Batman 6:  Bride or Burglar.

Preceded By:

Batman 4:  The War of Jokes and Riddles

Followed By:

Batman 6:  Bride or Burglar

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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