Review: BATMAN/CATWOMAN #12 (Final Issue)
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Tom King
Artist: Clay Mann
Colors: Tomeu Morey
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Batman/Catwoman #12: Wedding bells are finally ringing for Batman and Catwoman! As our story concludes, the lovers prepare to take the next steps in their lives together by trading everlasting vows. The Bat/Cat wedding is here, and knowing Bruce and Selina, it’ll be anything but conventional. You won’t want to miss this final chapter of Tom King’s Batman epic!
Tom King has a reputation for writing soul-crushingly depressing stories. His “City of Bane” storyline in Batman brought us the death of Alfred Pennyworth. His Heroes in Crisis showed us Wally West killing Roy Harper and other heroes. And then there’s Batman #50. In his Batman run, Bruce proposed to Catwoman and she accepted.
And it started to look like it might actually happen. This was fairly early on in the Rebirth era, when the whole line still had something of a hopeful tone. Superman and Lois’ marriage had recently been restored to continuity. We saw Selina picking a wedding dress. And DC was hyping the big wedding. But it wasn’t to be. The issue ended with Selina leaving Bruce at the altar.
But King stated that his Bat/Cat love story was still far from over. Even when his run on Batman was prematurely ended, he maintained it would still be properly finished in this series. However, the general tone of the series has not been terribly happy or optimistic. Bruce and Selina’s relationship hasn’t been great in the past or present timelines. And in the future timeline, Selina is Bruce’s widow. She kills the Joker and falls out with her daughter over it.
Batman/Catwoman #12 actually succeeds in turning this tone around and goes out with a joyous ending. This issue is Christmas for the readers – literally. The advent calendar shown at the beginning of each issue has reached the last day, reaching the big day. And the dark background behind the calendar is now white, underscoring the change in tone. The idea of using Christmas as a connecting theme for the miniseries was ingenious, and pays off tremendously this issue. And on a personal note, I love that the carol associated with this special chapter was “O Holy Night”, which was my mother’s favourite Christmas song.
And this issue is Tom King’s present to all the readers who have followed his Bat/Cat love story. King finally delivers the wedding we were promised way back in Batman #50. And the wedding is almost perfect in its execution. Bruce and Selina opt to get married immediately in a quickie wedding chapel that offers a “Batrimony” option. Thus, the officiant marries them while dressed in a cheap Batman costume, which happens to look exactly like the Adam West Batsuit. I was especially pleased with this little touch, as the 1966 Batman show was my entry into the world of Batman.
And I loved seeing the couple’s choice for witnesses to the ceremony. Bruce merely utters “Clark. We’re doing it. If you and lois want to… to attend… we’d… be happy… to have you.”, and the Kents immediately appear. I love how this displays the bond of friendship that exists between the two heroes, even though Bruce doesn’t like to express it.
And there are some delightful bits of humour in the issue as well. Bruce agrees to invite Lois and Clark, but first stipulates to Selina that, ” if he starts going on about hope again. I’m going to call this off and get the just-in-case rock”. Bruce is, of course, referring to the piece of Kryptonite Clark entrusted him with. And when Bruce presents their witnesses, the cashier, not realizing how appropriately, comments, “Super”.
Another nice touch was when future Selina describes the wedding ring Bruce gave her to Helena. As she tells her daughter, “It’s the #@$#@ diamond that he caught me stealing when we met on the boat!”. This connects the gem to the very first appearance of Selina way back in Batman #1 in 1940. And I noticed that Selina no longer argues that they first met on “the street” as shown in Frank Miller’s “Batman: Year One” (Batman #404, 1987). She now agrees with Bruce’s interpretation that they didn’t meet as their true selves until “the boat”.
Clay Mann adds some great touches in the artwork. I loved how a cat and a mouse move between the panels as Selina and Helena have their conversation. This gives a literal representation of their conversation as a cat-and-mouse game. And I loved the main cover with the various versions of Batman and Catwoman, both in-continuity and outside of it. And as I stated, the Advent Calendar and inclusion of the Adam West costume were also fantastic touches.
There will likely be some readers that will say this special wedding issue is “too little, too late”. And they have a point. It’s too late in the sense that this is the story that DC promised them, back in Batman #50. That’s not King’s fault, though. I think that it’s most likely that DC got carried away with the marketing and got fans’ hopes up that the wedding would actually happen in that issue. This led to disappointment and a bit of a backlash against King’s story, despite the fact that it was meant as the midpoint, not the conclusion.
But it’s the “too little” part that I sympathize with. King’s story started in the regular Batman title, which made the aborted wedding part of the official DCU canon. However, this concluding chapter happens in a DC Black Label title, and it appears that it is not canon – at least not yet. At best, it’s a possible near-future timeline. I wish King had been allowed to complete this story in the main title, Then it would have cemented the story into the canon continuity and began a new era for the Batman.
Despite the fact that this is not set in the canon DCU, it is still a fantastic story. Thanks to Tom King, Clay Mann, Tomeu Morey, and Clayton Cowles for this special wedding issue. Batman/Catwoman #12 is quite possibly the best single issue of any comic I’ve read this year.