The relationship between Batman and Catwoman has been a focal point of Tom King’s entire Batman run. It drove the second year’s worth of stories, and its seeming destruction drove the third. As the final arc of this Batman run reaches its conclusion, Bruce and Selina finally reunite and discuss their old relationship, as well as what their new one can be.
This issue is a contemplative one. There’s a story inside about Batman and Catwoman stopping a shipment of Venom that Magpie is sending, but it is not nearly the focal point of the issue. Instead, the issue focuses on Bruce and Selina redefining their relationship. Where the previous issue had them feeling visibly repressed, this one feels like an audible manifestation of their love for one another. Artistically as well as in dialogue, they are together rather than apart, near every page has a shot of both of them together. It’s a triumphant, joyous return, one that properly feels 29 issues in the making.
King’s dialogue is idiosyncratic and focuses more on a poetic flow rather than natural speech, but in a context such as this one it works to absolute perfection. Bruce and Selina’s conversations feel like the dialogue between two people who have known each other for an incredibly long time and love each other an incredible amount. Their repetitive arguments, the words they don’t need to even say to each other, everything feels incredibly familiar and full of love, and it is a joyous, romantic read. King’s love of callbacks is on full display here as well, as near every conversation they have feels like it’s calling back to an earlier conversation in the run. This culminates with the final answer to the eternal argument between Bruce and Selina: When did they meet? Was it the street, or was it the boat? King provides a sense of closure and progress with Batman and Catwoman’s relationship, providing a conclusion to a long-running question and starting a new chapter to both of their lives.
Clay Mann and Tomeu Morey are absolutely fantastic on this issue. This may be Morey’s best color work to date; every page is drop dead gorgeous. This two-part arc has been a teaser for what the upcoming Batman/Catwoman title is going to look like, and it is incredibly beautiful. Strictly from an artistic standpoint, this may be the best looking issue of the run so far. The splash pages all feel iconic, and Morey’s colors give every page lives of their own. There’s an excellent page of Bruce and Selina standing together watching the sun set, and the colors turn the page from a cute moment into an absolutely gorgeous scene. There are a few scenes that end up looking off because of a focus on sexualizing the women, but as a whole it’s still very good.
King’s dedication to fleshing out and providing depth to Batman and Catwoman’s relationship is incredibly evident with the conclusion to this two-part interlude. The versatility he brings to the book, allowing for each individual artist to showcase their own style, really lets these shorter interludes and mini-arcs shine within the greater tapestry of his run. This issue is a much-needed rest and victory for Bruce and Selina, and provides a triumphant note to herald their return to the City of Bane.
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