We don't know if getting married would make Batman and Catwoman less violent rivals, but DC Comics readers are about to find out. After taking the reins of DC's main Batman series as part of the larger "Rebirth" relaunch, writer Tom King has slowly but surely pulled Selina Kyle back into the center of Bruce Wayne's spotlight, reminding readers that it's no coincidence the two have been drawn together like magnets over the past few decades. For Bruce, being Batman is his "suicide"... and Selina is the only one who could ever understand that pain.
The series so far has included several twists and turns, with Catwoman accused of mass murder, and leading to Bruce's closest brush with death in years - but it's the love scene between Bruce and Selina that showed where King has been headed. In Batman #24, Bruce Wayne finally asks himself what happiness the future could hold, if he truly is thinking of retiring from the Batman role. That happiness, as it turns out, is with Selina Kyle as his wife.
Bruce & Selina Reunite in Rebirth
For the casual fans who may have missed out on King's "Rebirth" series alongside artists David Finch and Mikel Janin, it might seem like a surprise to see Bruce Wayne willing to settle down with a famous thief and criminal. But where Selina's history has always been checkered with crime and thievery, "Rebirth" re-established her as an outlaw, or a rebel, at worst. That mass murder she was imprisoned for, having confessed? It was to cover for a friend. And when Batman came calling seeking her help to outsmart Rebirth's stronger, scarier Bane, she delivered in spades.
It all led to one final night before Bruce would be forced to take Selina in to face the music. She agreed, requesting only that they spend the night together, as partners (in more ways than one). With most of the night spent taking a tour of Batman's stranger Gotham enemies and rogues, Selina revealed that her final request was to "stop doing what we have to do, and do what we would like to do." It began with removing eachother's costumes on a dark Gotham rooftop... and ended with the above moments of vulnerability, love, and happiness.
The story soon leaped onto a new path, but this baring of their souls had an impact. And Bruce's chance to see there was more to life than his cape and cowl would soon become a lot more important...
Bruce's Flashpoint Father Tells Him To Quit
More recently DC dropped its larger Watchmen/Rebirth/Doctor Manhattan bombshells in "The Button" crossover between Batman and Flash, as the two heroes made a leap back into the Flashpoint timeline. There, Bruce Wayne met his father, Flashpoint's Batman... giving Thomas Wayne a chance to see that his son had grown into a man himself - and what's more, a father of his own. Before the crossover ended, Bruce and Barry Allen returned to their own universe. And Bruce Wayne was given a final message from his father that he did not expect. Put simply? Don't be Batman.
In the final issue of "The Button," it was revealed just how much weight those words had carried, as Bruce Wayne was forced to realize his career as Batman was dooming his son, Damian Wayne, to a similarly cold life. When the issue ended with Bruce Wayne observing the Bat-Signal from his home, but staying rooted to the spot and dropping his head, the readers were as unsure of what to expect from the future as Alfred. While the mass audience would likely claim there was 'no way' that Bruce would ever choose to stop being Batman... c'mon, meeting his father only to hear that he should really be raising his son the way Bruce never got to experience? That is going to hit home.
At the very least, encourage Bruce to consider what else life could hold for him. And, no surprise, Selina Kyle remains at the top of the list.
Bruce Proposes To Selina
In Batman #24, King pairs with artists David Finch, Danny Miki, Clay and Seth Mann to walk Bruce through what may be the most difficult decision of his life. It's Gotham Girl, one-half of the duo that launched his "Rebirth" refresh asking if Bruce thinks she should become a full-fledged superhero, or leave that world behind in favor of 'normal, happy life.' It takes time for Bruce to yield to her pestering, but when he does, King lays bare the truth of the character: that he lives the life of Batman that he does as an attempt to be happy... but he isn't. Even the Dark Knight craves peace,and explains why he can't find it:
"I'm scared. I fail. Because I'm scared. What I've seen. Gotham. Him. If you're not scared... if all that doesn't scare me... then I'm insane. And I'm not... I don't want to be insane. So I'm scared."
Gotham Girl asking what Bruce would want to do, if he weren't scared, or if he were brave enough to overcome that fear, sends him out in search of Selina. When he finds her, he reveals that the diamond she stole when they first met wasn't just recovered by Batman, but purchased by Bruce Wayne shortly after. Even then, he knew Selina would be the one he loved... and taking a knee, Bruce finally does what he's always been afraid to.
Fans will want to pick up the issue for themselves to see the entire moment unfold, since it certainly feels like an earned development in the larger relationship between Bruce and Selina more than the 'stunt' twists like these are so often accused of being.
Some readers may fear for what it could mean to see Bruce staring into Selina's eyes instead of the Bat-Signal in the Gotham sky... but just as many may claim that it's about time.
Batman #24 is available now.