Warning: SPOILERS for Batman #50
Batman and Catwoman’s wedding has finally arrived and the months (if not years) of build-up have ended in tragedy. As was unfortunately spoiled before Batman #50 went on sale, Catwoman leaves Batman at the altar.
Catwoman explains to Batman (in a letter, not face-to-face) that the wedding we've all been building to simply can't happen. If they were to get married, Selina explains, Batman would be happy - and a happy Batman can’t do his job. While this is the totality of Catwoman’s reasoning, the whole truth of why the wedding is called off is... a little more complicated.
Being such a landmark issue, Batman #50 is set up in an interesting, if anticlimactic fashion. The 'real-time' events are very slim - only a couple pages - as Catwoman and Batman throw out all their wedding plans and essentially decide to elope on a Gotham rooftop with two witnesses.
The rest of Batman #50 consisting of two letters that the couple writes to one another spilling out their secrets. Batman’s missive functions as his marital vows, telling Catwoman how she makes him a better hero and man. Catwoman’s letter, however, is the break-up. Catwoman explains that Batman and her love for him has changed her for the better, making her a hero.
And as a hero, she has no choice but to sacrifice him and their love. Gotham needs a Batman, more than Catwoman needs a Batman.
It’s a disappointing outcome, but one that has been set up as much as the wedding itself. Batman #49 had presented the same argument, coming from The Joker hoping to “save” Batman from happiness. The Joker connection isn’t just thematic, either. It may even hint at the future of the caped crusader.
The final page of Batman #50 reveals that although Catwoman made the decision to leave Bruce out of her own free will, she was urged into it by her imprisoned friend Holly Robinson. Holly, meanwhile, has made some new acquittances while inside Arkham Asylum. After Selina leaves Bruce, she dumps Holly back in prison where Holly visits a secret villainous cabal created by Bane.
Holly tells Bane that everything went according to plan and that Bat has been broken … again. Bane isn’t alone in hearing the news of the break-up, as a whole group of villains has been gathered to hear about Batman’s misery, including Riddler, Hugo Strange and even The Joker.
The wedding might be the end of Catwoman and Batman’s romance (for now) but it’s evidently the start of a whole new reign of terror for Batman. This isn’t necessarily a guarantee that Catwoman and Batman will end up back together. But it does offer some hope that there’s more to the wedding’s tragic end than just lumping more misery onto Bruce Wayne’s life.
Tom King’s Batman has been consistent about showing a happier or at least more content Dark Knight. The decision to have Catwoman leave, even if it has been teased in previous issues, does seem like a betrayal of King’s Batman ethos so far. However, if the wedding’s end is a part of some larger villainous plot it might have a more positive ending. Holly, Selina’s best friend, working with Bane even suggests that Catwoman is just as much a victim of Bane’s scheme as Batman.
The only real argument against Batman and Catwoman getting back together is that the wedding and break-up happens in issue 50. DC has made a very big deal about the landmark issue being the definitive end to Catwoman and Batman’s engagement. To reverse Catwoman getting cold feet might feel even more anticlimactic than the event itself.
Catwoman and the impact that her relationship had on Batman likely isn’t going anywhere but it might be a very long time, if the two are ever romantically involved again.
Batman #50 is available now from DC Comics.