Batman #37 is about Batman and Superman taking their significant others on a double date. Batman #37 is also about them doing that in each other’s costumes.
This week’s issue of Batman is also about two old friends and two new ones, examining the uncertainty of commitment and the absurdity of love.
Batman #37 is a funny, human story featuring some of the world’s most famous characters. It’s a love letter to Batman and Catwoman and Superman and Lois Lane being in love. You should read it.
The only outing that Batman and Superman and Catwoman and Lois Lane can to agree to visit is the Gotham County fair, only to find that it’s “Superhero Night” and nobody gets in unless they’re dressed as a superhero.
Of course, if they dress as themselves, they’ll look like the real thing. And so: costume swap. Lois puts on Catwoman’s outfit, and Catwoman gets in via ... persuasion. That’s the setup, and it’s good.
Catwoman and Lois Lane sip a flask and talk about their pasts until they collapse giggling. Batman and Catwoman behave most untowardly in the Tunnel of Love. Batman and Superman agree that the pitching machines at the batting cages are far too easy, but then devolve into an argument over whether Batman could get a hit off of a Superman pitch.
At one point, this happens:
At another, there is this exchange:
Batman and Catwoman have recently gotten engaged. For normal people, this is the sort of time when a newly engaged dude would want to introduce his fiancée to his best friend and his best friend’s wife, if he hadn’t done so already.
But, as Superman says, “We don’t live normal lives. It can be ... it’s really hard to do normal things,” a clear allusion to the issue as a whole.
Superman is surprised that Batman could find it in himself to do something as normal as getting engaged. He wants to know what pushed his friend, the self-flagellating, emotionally-closed-off loner, into opening up to someone.
Batman answers by talking about his parents (typical), and how their early deaths meant that he never fully knew them — or their relationship — not as an adult does. That’s left him without a roadmap for any kind of normal romantic relationship, and a life that’s also uniquely unsuited to them.
“I’m in the dark,” he tells his friend.
“You do all right in the dark,” Superman answers.
Here’s where I remind you that they say all of this while Batman is wearing Superman’s costume and Superman is wearing the Batsuit with his Clark Kent glasses over the mask and they’re surrounded by civilians in DC superhero cosplay and they’re both casually eating ice cream cones.
The home run
Batman #37 is just the latest installment of Tom King’s run on the series, in which he’s taken Batman through plenty of action and mystery and adventure. But it’s all in the service of examining whether a character who’s been seen through the lens of his trauma for so long can convincingly be transformed into a happier, healthier version of himself.
(It’s also the Batman run where Kite-Man becomes a big deal, which gets a reference in Batman #37.)
But #37 stands perfectly well on its own, a joyfully sincere story about friendship, love and how infrequently we take satisfaction in the normal. I’ve only put a couple of them in here, but there’s barely a page or even a panel without something delightful in it, thanks in no small part to Clay Mann’s carefully composed facial expressions.
Go on. Read it. Especially if you want to know if Batman can hit a baseball pitched by Superman, because I’m not going to spoil the ending.