Here's a secret about me that isn't actually a secret at all: I love mundane superhero stories. Kicking and punching and doomsday devices are fine, and big catastrophic stakes are cool, but really, there is nothing better than a story about how a guy like Batman spends his down time—even if that down time typically results in something sort of absurd happening.
So you can imagine how over the moon I was about Batman #68 this month, which, really, might be the closest thing to a totally mundane story we've gotten for Bruce since the almost-wedding...even though it wasn't technically a mundane story at all.
Look, I'll take what I can get. Things have been so, so sad around here since the whole thing with Selina, I can't be picky at all.
Anyway, mundane Batman stories are a little hard to come by, as you can probably guess. Guys like Bruce Wayne don't really lend themselves to normalcy, even on the best days. But hey, a bachelor and bachelorette party are the perfect excuse for anyone, right? Even for Batman.
Not that Bruce and Clark were really partying. Selina and Lois were, for sure, but the boys? Not so much. Still, that's more than okay because how pitch perfect is it to see Superman and Batman playing chess with one another?
It's cute, is what it is. And cute in Gotham is something that should be cherished.
But cute factor aside, the real reason I love mundane Batman stories as much as I do is for the little moments of insight they provide. That line Clark shares, about how he loves being Superman but hates that he has to do it, and how Bruce is the opposite, that he hates being Batman but loves that he has to do it, hit me in an unexpected place. I'd never really heard it articulated out like that—the difference between Clark and Bruce on a fundamental level—even though it seems like it should be obvious. And I probably wouldn't have heard it, or even had a chance to think of it that way, had it not been for a little, quiet moment over a chess board in Wayne Manor.
Fights with New Gods and super-villains and ancient mythological forces don't exactly lend themselves to much introspection, you know?
If you're like me and a fan of these softer touches, I've got one major recommendation for you: Batman: Gotham Knights #32, a one shot issue called "24/7" which is basically exactly what it sounds like—a look into a regular, average day for both Bruce Wayne and Batman. It's not exactly "mundane" by, you know, normal human standards, but it's absolutely mundane for someone like him, and it's so, so perfect and so, so enlightening.
Oh, and if you're maybe more interested in the bachelorette/bachelor party side of things from issue #68, I'll toss you a recommendation that isn't exactly Batman, but is still worth your while. Check out the Green Arrow and Black Canary Wedding Special. Bruce does have a cameo in this 2007 Judd Winick one-shot that helped launch the Green Arrow and Black Canary ongoing series. The rest of the Bat-Family shows up as well, and as an added bonus, the art is by Amanda Conner.
That’s right, one of the artists who brought Bruce and Selina’s hijinks to life in Batman #68!
Of course, things aren't all fun and games in Gotham these days. Seriously, have you been reading The Batman Who Laughs? Because issue #4 just came out, and, well, let's just say if normalcy and slice-of-life stories aren't your thing, this is absolutely the book for you. And there's more where that came from. In case you missed the news from WonderCon last month, Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo's Black Label book, Batman: Last Knight on Earth, debuted some pages for the first time ever and, man oh man, talk about crazy.
Let it never be said that Gotham City doesn't have a little something for everyone.