Batman & Catwoman Are Already Like An Old Married Couple, And It Works!

SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Batman #34 by Tom King and Joëlle Jones, on sale now.

Most couples in a new relationship have at least a brief honeymoon phase, where each feel that their bond with the other is the stuff of an idyllic marriage, boding a loving future full of hope, happiness and living happily ever after. Batman and Catwoman, though, are most certainly not like other couples, for numerous reasons – among them, their longstanding relationship as foes is far from the typical foundation that most marriages are built upon.

RELATED: Batman’s Getting Married! It’s Time To Tell The Kids – And The Ex

Perhaps because of this once-antagonistic dynamic, Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle’s honeymoon was over before it began, or more appropriately, the very possibility of the couple even being able to have such a phase in their relationship just might be too far-fetched – even for a comic book. In Tom King and Joëlle Jones’ Batman #34, Bruce and Selina, despite recently becoming engaged, bicker and squabble as though they’ve been together for years, in large part, well, because they have.

Familiarity Breeds Contempt

If two high school sweethearts ultimately tying the knot in holy matrimony is the perfect love story, then Bruce and Selina’s is more akin to two teenagers never asking one another to the senior prom, but destined to be together because no one else did, either. As Batman and Catwoman battle a squadron of Talia al Ghul’s soldiers – the Silent Soldiers of the Pit – their banter isn’t that of a couple in a newfound relationship, or even that of crimefighting allies. Instead, the two don’t sound all that different from a long-married but strained husband and wife who just can’t get enough space between each other. Batman has a far easier time taking down Talia’s swordsmen than he does trying to find the right words to say to a petulant Selina, and Selina seems to have far more patience with these would-be assassins than she does with her future husband.

Batman learns two valuable pieces of information during his and Selina’s encounter with Talia’s minions. The first is that these combatants aren’t assassins at all, but instead merely foot soldiers running interference for Talia herself, so that she may face a wearied Bruce and Selina herself in direct combat. Talia non-fatally dispatches Batman easily, and the issue wraps up with a cliffhanger ending foreshadowing what might shape up to be Selina’s deadliest, and most significant, catfight to date: Catwoman vs. Talia – The New Fiancée vs. The Ex-Girlfriend.

RELATED: Catwoman’s Answer to Batman’s Proposal Is…

The other valuable information learned by Bruce is that an old relationship adage applies just as well to the legendary Batman as it has to anyone else: that his new beloved gets the last word in any argument – and that any backtalk from him is simply the start of a new one.

Page 2: The Real Reason for Batman & Catwoman's Trip

Do You Think She’s Pretty?

Anyone in a new relationship understands the awkwardness of discussing the old one – there’s always that uncomfortable dichotomy that exists when trying to marginalize the previous relationship in one breath, but then having to explain its seeming significance in the next. Batman tries to minimize his past fling with Talia, but as anyone with a significant other knows, the “she meant nothing to me” defense doesn’t always wash, and it certainly doesn’t with Selina. Nor does the fact that Bruce considers Talia to be the “deadliest woman alive” – he might as well just tell Selina that Talia is prettier than her, too, for all the points that he’s losing by the second.

Of course, Talia likely finds herself in a bit of a conflicted position, as well – upon learning that Bruce and Selina are an item, her reaction to it (“You poor thing”) carries some possibly deliberate ambiguity. As the former lover in the scenario, her pseudo-sympathy could be directed at Selina – after all, the baggage of Batman that was once Talia’s to carry now becomes Selina’s burden. Or, like any ex, Talia could see Selina as the shrewish hussy seeking to sink her claws into her former beloved. Talia may still have feelings for Bruce, and therefore hatred for Selina, or she may instead have hatred for Bruce that drives her to feel some semblance of sympathy for her successor. Either way, it appears that she intends to deal with those feelings in the form of a swordfight. Or two.

The Real Reason Bruce & Selina Pay Talia A Visit

All the above makes it seem as though Bruce’s history with Talia is the reason for his and Selina’s transcontinental trek to Khadym – but as it turns out, their reasons are actually work-related. Readers will recall the two-part “Rooftops” interlude in Batman #14-#15, where Bruce and Selina had a steamy tête-à-tête that played no small part in his eventual marriage proposal. Within that storyline, Bruce deduced that Selina was taking the fall for hundreds of murders committed by her close and longtime friend Holly Robinson. After Batman confronted Holly, she fled the country, where Bruce reveals to Talia that he and Selina have tracked her to Khadym, and directly to Talia – meaning that their trip isn’t any kind of courtesy visit at all to the mother of his son, but instead merely a rather uneasy coincidence.

So, Batman and Selina’s visit to Talia isn’t a social call, after all, which is a good thing – comics might commonly ask for the willing suspension of disbelief, but an engaged couple visiting the ex to announce their marriage? Well, that’s just too preposterous, even in a reality full of continuity rebirths and dark multiverses. Running into one’s ex while on the job is rather unpleasant, sure, but at least that’s something that people in relationships can readily relate to.

Part two of “Rules of Engagement” changes the rules a bit, but they’re all pretty much rules that are lessons for anyone in a relationship, not just Bruce and Selina. The drama continues in Batman #35, on sale November 15.

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