Batman & Catwoman face their big day together
In Batman #25, Batman revealed his love for Catwoman and proposed to her. Now that was months ago, so if it's a spoiler, well it's kinda tough shit, really. Pushed together in the War of Jokes and Riddles story arc that saw Joker and Riddler go at each other in a deadly turf war, Batman decided it was time to ask Catwoman for her hand.
I've read a bunch of Tom King's run on Batman, and while I've enjoyed some of it, I have to admit, the idea of this marriage was really off-putting. I mean, this is a world where Selina Kyle is a known thief. How would Bruce Wayne slip his wedding to her into society? And that's where King pulled a stunt. You see, Selina and Bruce aren't technically the ones the marriage is about - it's Batman and Catwoman who are together, and Selina and Bruce will tie the knot very privately.
And that's what I find the oddest about this story arc. It's their night-time personas who are to enter the union together publicly. By publicly, we aren't going to see Batman and Catwoman at the church at 11am, but they have revealed their engagement to their enemies and allies.
We've had months filled with the reactions of Ra's al Ghul, Talia, Hush, The Riddler and of course Harley and Joker in the build-up to the big day itself. The Joker's reaction is hilarious as he murders his way through Gotham in search of his wedding invitation.
Tom King has told us that the first 100 issues of his Batman run are an exploration of Batman and Catwoman's complicated love, and so this mid-point wedding issue leaves a lot of room for the twists and turns of this most complicated coupling.
I have to admit to being a bit cynical about the story. It's like the opposite of the Incredibles - where Mr Incredible and Elastigirl aren't married, because their primary function is to fight crime - but Bob and Helen Parr are married, because day in, day out, they are Bob and Helen. So what purpose does it serve to have Batman and Catwoman married? Those identities exist only to fight or commit crimes (don't forget, folks, vigilantism is a crime!), and one day, when they can't put the suits on any more, only Selina and Bruce will remain.
So there, that's the hurdle out the way, the I just don't get why we're doing this. But since we are doing this, I went along for the ride. And in doing so, I managed to enjoy myself.
The build up to the nuptials has been fun, with Batman having to disclose his plans to the deadly Talia Al Ghul (with whom Bruce has a son, Damian - the current Robin if you aren't keeping up), choose a best man, Nightwing, (one of his longest-standing allies in the war on crime, and his adopted son, Dick Grayson) or Superman, (the married Clark Kent and long-time Justice League ally of Batman). Then of course, all the villains learned about Batman's plans and came out of the woodwork looking to start up some shit for various reasons, including why should he get a happy ending?, I want to be loved, and If Batman becomes happy, is that the death of Batman?
It's that last one, the acknowledgment that Batman's drive is a deep-rooted sadness, that is posed by none other than The Joker. And it is that question, and the discussion between The Joker and Catwoman as they lay bleeding in a bomb-site in Batman #49, that casts a long shadow over #50 and causes Catwoman to ponder if she is about to bring an end to the man she loves.
With all the will-they, won't-they of Ross and Rachel in Friends, the issue belts along, as Batman and Catwoman decide to bring forward their big night, realising it's never going to be perfect. The narrative is punctuated by set pieces of artwork from some of the most talented Batman creatives in the business, capturing key moments in the lifelong love affair of these two costumed Gothamites, with monologues that reveal how the two have felt about each other across their careers.
It's a beautifully put together issue, but how does it end? I'll never tell. For that, you'll have to pick up a copy today!