Review: BATMAN/CATWOMAN #11
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Clay Mann
Colours: Tomeu Morey
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Batman/Catwoman #11: After barely escaping with one of her nine lives, Selina arrives at a crossroads. She can either continue on the path of a criminal or take a chance at being a hero like Batman. There’s just one thing she has to do: make a vow to never kill The Joker. But what could lead her to break that sacred promise years later? Find out in the penultimate issue of this critically acclaimed maxiseries!
Last issue, ended in the midst of a confrontation between the future Selina and her daughter, Helena (a.k.a. Batwoman). Batman/Catwoman #11 opens with Helena telling Commissioner Dick Grayson that Selina had won the fight and fled Gotham City. However, Dick doubts Helena’s story, suspecting that Helena is covering for her mother.
This leads to a confrontation between Helena and Dick in the Batcave. Helena quickly takes Dick down and demands he leave the cave. After which, Helena has a heart-to-heart talk with her mother back in Wayne Manor.
I find it interesting that Selina and Helena have softened their seemingly intractable stances and have met somewhere in the middle. Selina acknowledges that she has done wrong, but admits that she isn’t totally irredeemable. She tells her daughter, “I knowwhen I do a thing wrong, I pay the price for it, I can feel it”. But she goes on to say, “But you, raising you, just… just loving you, seeing you every day grow into the woman you are. I did that right. I finally got some $#&@#% thing right”.
And Helena has moved away from her stance that she must punish her mother’s crimes as she feels as her father, the Batman, would have. She openly defies the law, and her brother Dick to protect her mother from facing the consequences of killing the Joker. Like the concepts of yin and yang, some good is revealed in Selina, while some bad is shown in the otherwise scrupulously diligent Helena.
It is clear that Helena mostly takes after her father. When she claims that Selina beat her, Dick refuses to believe that, saying, “She’s not a young woman. You’re Batman“. Dick isn’t accidentally forgetting Helena’s gender, but is deliberately stating that Helena has completely filled her father’s role. And later, Helena admits her similarity to Bruce to Dick. She reiterates her mother’s point that Dick is “nice”, but admits, “Me on the other hand… I’m a little more like Dad”.
In the present-day storyline, Andrea Beaumont reveals how she gained custody of her son. She informs Selina and Bruce that she had saved a baby from the Joker. Assuming that the Joker had killed his parents, she took him as her own. However, she has now learned that his real parents were still alive. Overcome by guilt over taking him from his family, she feels compelled to enact Phantasm’s brand of justice on herself.
There are some nice callbacks to Tom King’s run on Batman. Selina looks at a picture of Bruce and Helena in which Bruce is dressed as Superman for Hallowe’en. And while doing so, she tells Helena of the time when Batman and Superman switched costumes on double date with Selina and Lois (Batman #37 in 2017). And Dick tells Helena, “I was literally on the boat when your parents met each other”. This refers to their first meeting in Batman #1 in 1940. But it also brings to mind the ongoing disagreement between Selina and Bruce as to whether they first met on “the boat” or on “the street” (in Frank Miller’s Batman: Year One).
There are also a couple of nods to the DC Animate Universe. As Batman/Catwoman #11 opens, we see Helena battling Inque, a villain introduced in Batman Beyond. It’s especially appropriate, as Helena’s is the successor to Batman during the same time period that Terry McGinnis is Bruce’s successor in a different version of the future. And in the Batcave we see Helena with the Batmobile from Batman: The Animated Series. I really enjoy seeing Tom King showing some love for the DCAU Batman lore.
Clay Mann handles the art this issue, ably assisted by colourist Tomeu Morey. Liam Sharp did a great job as fill-in artist for some of the issues and Jean-Paul Leon did some stellar work on the Batman/Catwoman Special. But I think the story is best served by the series’ original artist. Clay Mann created the look for this project. Thus, he is the artist best-suited to draw the final issues.
We have one more issue to go, and given the cover image that DC has previewed, it should be quite noteworthy. That image implies that we will see the wedding that we were denied in Batman #50. It’s great that we will finally see Bruce and Selina tying the knot. However, I wish it had happened during King’s run on Batman, rather than in a Black Label title. In the former case, it would have been cemented as canon DC history.
However, as a Black Label story, it will likely be considered as outside canon. It might be considered a possible future event or perhaps an Elseworlds. But it won’t change Bruce and Selina’s relationship status in Batman and Detective Comics. And that’s a damn shame.
Tom King’s run on Batman was somewhat divisive, although I loved it. I maintain that the stories that covered the full breadth of Bruce and Selina’s story: past, present, and future. King has made the wise choice of delivering another such story in Batman/Catwoman, and it’s paid off. I look forward to seeing their romance culminate in matrimony next issue.