Warning: SPOILERS for Batman #51
Bruce Wayne is no longer Batman ... at least temporary. The follow-up issue to Batman and Catwoman's wedding, where Selina Kyle left Bruce Wayne at the altar, Batman #51 doesn't directly touch on the fallout of the disastrous nuptials. However the next entry in Tom King's Batman makes it clear that not everything is alright in Gotham.
Bruce Wayne is on a self destructive path after being abandoned by the only woman that he loves and that means bad things for Batman. Bruce has cut himself from his support system, is living almost solely as his playboy alter ego and has given the mantle of Batman up to Dick Grayson once again.
There is more going on with Batman's retirement than just him smarting over his break-up to Catwoman. Bruce physically can't suit up as he's been chosen for jury duty for the latest trial concerning Mr. Freeze. Yet Batman #51 also makes it clear that while there's extenuating circumstances Batman, or more accurately Bruce Wayne, is a long way off from where he should be emotionally.
Dick Grayson has taken the mantle of Batman back for two reasons. The first being Bruce getting jury duty but the other, as Dick explains to Commissioner Gordon, is because Batman is "not OK." When Gordon and Batman meet on the roof of the GCPD, the Commissioner immediately knows that upon seeing the former Robin in the Batsuit that he's not the usual Batman. He's the "other him." Gordon and Dick both acknowledge that something is wrong at that moment. Yet it's only as the issue goes on that things become more specific.
Although Dick has taken over as Batman and presumably he has Bruce's blessing, the new Bats can't quite get in hold with the elder one. Despite Dick's efforts to reach out and/or inform Bruce of his activities as Batman, Dick can't get a hold of his former mentor. All calls, for lack of a better term, are going to voicemail. Jury duty is no excuse either because Bruce could easily get around the restrictions on a jury.
This is point however. Bruce can't be reached because he doesn't want to be in contact with anyone. Bruce Wayne has cut himself off from his entire support system (and Batman) because of the dissolution of his engagement. Catwoman broke up with Bruce to ensure he was the best Batman possible but the exact opposite has happened.
Batman can't stand himself and he's taking it out on everyone around him, allies and villains alike. In fact, part of the reason Bruce actively pursued getting on jury duty was to escape from the world outside the court system. Jury duty gives Bruce an excuse to not be Batman and one that he can use to deflect off of his hurt feelings about Catwoman.
Batman #51 leaves things a little unclear about how long Bruce's latest retirement will last. The odds are that it won't be very lengthy however. Dick's stint of Batman will last roughly as long as Bruce Wayne's time on the jury, which could realistically go on for more issue.
However, it is interesting that the after effects of Batman #50 aren't being brushed under the rug. As much as DC Comics was (rightfully) criticized for not moving forward the status quo and letting the Bat and Cat marry, it isn't business as usual in Gotham. The wedding didn't end the way many people wanted but it still looks like it's going to have a huge impact on Bruce Wayne's emotional state for the forseeable future of Batman.
Batman #51 is available now from DC Comics.