Writer: Tom King
Artist: Mikel Janin
Despite the notorious events of Batman #50 (if you don’t know, where have you been?), Batman #63 revolves mainly around Batman, Catwoman and… John Constantine, who’s an unexpected addition. The plot follows Bruce and Selina through various snapshot moments while Constantine offers mysterious, cryptic anecdotes and advice to the Caped Crusader, and also reveals some more context for the previous parts of the Knightmares arc. Ultimately, it doesn’t feel very substantial and lacks the more surrealist aspects that made the first two Knightmares stories more interesting reads. There’s a couple of nice moments, but this feels a little like a paint-by-the-numbers affair.
Janin’s art feels like it suffers from similar problems. In panels that have more shadows or are more stylised, it looks good. In panels that are meant to be more straightforward, naturalistic panels, everything looks just a little bit off. Characters’ poses look static, their expressions look wooden and unfocused. It’s far from the worst use of 3D models in comic book art that’s ever been seen, but when trying to draw characters in natural lighting up close, they come across as strangely lifeless. While most panels don’t give them a chance to shine, Jordie Bellaire’s colours are well rendered and are excellently used in certain panels, such as a beautifully coloured sunset, or using them to emphasise the strength of a punch. If this issue leaned a little more into surrealism, the colours would probably have gotten more points of interest, however much of the issue simply doesn’t give Bellaire room to truly utilize them to full potential
Batman (2016-) #63
A somewhat mediocre entry into what has been a Batman run with many ups and downs, and the weakest of the Knightmares stories so far.