This is the one we’ve been waiting for. The wedding of Batman and Catwoman. Would it take place, though? That’s the question that’s hung over Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle ever since they announced their engagement.
So far as I’m concerned, it was a big Why Not? I grew up with Earth 2 Batman and Catwoman having been happily hitched, and loved it. Didn’t these two deserve a bit of joy? And if they retired from heroics, well, they had daughter Helena, the Huntress, to carry on the superhero tradition. And it’s not like DC couldn’t just wipe away a marriage they later regretted with the next Crisis event.
As it happened, the suspense was ruined when DC spoilt their own book in a US newspaper last weekend. I managed to avoid the spoiler for at least a day, so by the time Batman #50 arrived, it was all a matter of details.
The good: this comic features guest art by some of the most amazing illustrators ever to have visited Gotham City. José Luis Garcia-Lopez, Lee Weeks, Neal Adams, Frank Miller… Eighteen of the 20 contributions are pin-ups featuring Batman and Catwoman, the other two pages feature stripwork.
As well as the bonus material, there’s the story of the wedding day itself, which sees Batman, after Catwoman helps out in a fracas with Kite Man, ask Selina to marry him that very morning, at dawn. She accepts, which means they have to find a judge and one witness each.
Selina grabs her protege Holly Robinson from Arkham Asylum, where she’s incarcerated over the small matter of murdering 237 terrorists.
Batman finds a judge in a bar, and he has a plan to ensure he doesn’t learn his secret identity – Bruce and Selina plan to get wed in traditional garb. On a rooftop.
As for who Bruce chooses as his witness…
That’s a perfect moment.
Writer Tom King and illustrator Mikel Janin, with colourist June Chung, produce some beautiful work. While I don’t like the ending – spoiler, Selina doesn’t go through with it after Holly muses that perhaps a happy Batman would be an ineffective Batman – I don’t think the romance is over. King has said he wants to stick around until #100, so it’s likely our star-crossed lovers will tarry, then marry.
It’s all good. What doesn’t work for me is the way the pin-ups are presented. Rather than lump them all together after the story, King threads them throughout the issue – a couple every few pages, linking them into a mini-tale. It’s Selina and Bruce meditating on how they met and fell in love. Mostly, it’s page after page of the happy couple describing, alternately, one another’s sooooo awesome eyes. And while it’s objectively good, if self-conscious, writing from King, it gets tedious very quickly, interrupting the real story; we get it, they’re in love – their planning to wed is a pretty decent hint.
All that text, as nicely as Clayton Cowles lays it out, doesn’t half get in the way of some truly wonderful art pieces.
In terms of the real story, there are just 17 pages, most of which are, admittedly, stunning. Just look at this spread.
This is a pretty decent comic. The characterisation of Bruce and Alfred is strong, though King drops the ball by having Selina cancel the wedding due to an argument she rejected when it was out to her by the Joker last issue. And the final page twist is simply unbelievable. But I’m still interested in Selina and Bruce’s story; so long as this series doesn’t give us a long run of mopey Batman, I’ll keep checking it out. For now, though, a picture to leave you with a smile. It’s just a shame about all that text.