This issue is nearly impossible to discuss without spoilers, so warning – there will be spoilers ahead.
Batman #50 is probably one of the most hyped comic issues ever, with Tom King, building on the relationship between Batman and Catwoman for literally months. We’ve had the ‘bachelorette party’ issue, the superb issues #48 & #49 involving the Joker, where Catwoman goes head to head with the clown prince to save Bruce. Plus, it’s easily the most controversial DC title of the year, considering the New York Times spoiling the “will they, won’t they?” by printing in its vows section – “Batman and Catwoman didn’t get married after all” – (which was mega mean) but there is another twist to the plot, that they didn’t reveal.
This intertwined love story has been built from the very start of King’s arc, and as he points out in his beautifully told love letters from the Bat to the Cat, and the Cat to the Bat, they’ve been together since the very start. I’m not going to lie, with over fifty variants and issues running up to this, I’ve never wanted the Bat and the Cat to end up together more. So, I was slightly miffed when it turned out that wasn’t going to happen. In these days of Facebook, Twitter and even the New York Times, it was amazing I missed the spoiler, but I read it unknowing and desperately wanting these two to end up together finally.
The great thing about this issue, is that it’s a sort of love letter to the long-time Batman fans, especially readers of King’s run on the book; though new comers won’t find it as appealing, it’s still showcasing Batman and Catwoman’s incredible past and present. It induces so much of Batman’s history, and therefore it becomes a stronger issue with staying power. It has so many guest artists that it’s impossible to list them all, but in between the sequence of events, we have one-page illustrations by Jim Lee, Frank Miller, Tim Sale and Joelle Jones. Other artists and writers are honoured in locations around Gotham City.
Even though the book is very well written and has beautiful artwork, the whole love story has been built up way too much at this point. DC refer to it as the wedding issue, and to be honest it just feels like a ploy to sell more comic books. I felt really annoyed that I’d spent months investing in this relationship, with King having me believe this was a good idea; for Selina to just leave Bruce at the alter (or the rooftop.) Especially as it happens because of a few choice words that Holly Robinson (Selina’s best friend & brides-maid) says to her. Commenting on Bruce’s happiness and how can he be Batman if he’s happy? Selina would have questioned this long before her actual wedding day! In fact, I’m sure she did question it earlier on in the issues. So, there’s a touch of unbelievability about the outcome.
The story is juxtaposed between two letters Bruce and Selina have written each other and like in ‘Rooftops’ it has a very dreamy poetry to it. The question, as raised time after time, is can a happy Batman be Batman? Does misery have to push him forward? I don’t think that’s true, in fact I find King’s “Wedding Issue” ironic. These two lovers have been fighting crime together and living with each other and being happy with each other for nearly a year (in Comic-book time.) So, why suddenly would a ring on their fingers mess it up? Not that the love story is over. King still has another fifty issues to write, and with his fantastic obsession with these two lovers key to his storylines so far, I don’t see why we wouldn’t eventually see Selina and Bruce tie the knot.
The artwork by Mikel Janin is beautiful as ever, he draws Selina’s cat-like beauty as stunningly as he draws Bruce’s handsome masculinity. The two main characters spend most of their time with their besties, Bruce with Alfred (and I must say there is a moment between these two that is such a tear-jerker) and Selina with Holly. There’s a beautiful two-spread scene where both characters meet in the middle (bad luck to see the bride in her wedding dress before-hand, didn’t you know?) which is beautifully drawn and the colour by June Chung is lovely, also. It highlights Janin’s artwork splendidly – especially that green he uses on Selina’s eyes. However, he did bug me by drawing Selina’s dress as black and purple instead of black and white.
The ending may be the saving grace to this huge disappointment, where we realise that Holly Robinson is working for Bane, and every single character involved in Kings arc so far has been plotting together and manipulating the couple to destroy Batman. This leads us on to the beginning of this all coming out, and so it’s as much a beginning as an end.
This issue is for Bat and Cat fans primarily. Poetry to their love since the very first issue, which I admit gets a little stale with the letters but is very romantic. It’s not as powerful as ‘Batman Returns’ Pfeiffer denying Keaton’s Bruce her fairy-tale ending, and it’s certainly not as believable. However, at least Selina gets her new book out of all this. So, something good comes of this upset.