“The Wedding of Batman & Catwoman”
Writer: Tim King
Artists: Mikel Janin, with Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez; Becky Cloonan; Jason Fabok; Lee Bermejo; Neal Adams; Tony S. Daniel; Amanda Conner; Rafael Albuquerque; Andy Kubert; Tim Sale; Paul Pope; Mitch Gerads; Clay Mann; Ty Templeton; Joelle Jones; David Finch; jim Lee & Scott Williams; Greg Capullo; and Lee Weeks
Colors: June Chung, with Trish Mulvihill; Brad Anderson; Alex Sinclair; Hi-Fi; Tomeu Morey; Paul Mounts; Jose Villarrubia; Jordie Bellaire; and FCO Plascencia
Letters: Clayton Cowles
Cover artists: Mikel Janin (regular)/Jim Lee & Scott Williams, and Arthur Adams
Editor: Jamie S. Rich
Publisher: DC Comics
Price: $4.99 US
As I read the narration for this milestone issue — presented in the voices of Batman and Catwoman, by way of letters to one another on their wedding day — one thought kept running through my mind.
“It’s like poetry.”
King’s romanticizing of the Batman/Catwoman dynamic is incredibly effective, and it’s completely captivating. While he spends a little time dealing with the mechanics of two people with alter egos getting married, the focus is on the relationships in their lives and the emotions at the heart of the story. King’s script sells it, as does Mikel Janin’s realistic artwork. Honestly, I welled up at one point, over a Batman comic. That’s how great this is, how finely honed the execution of a potentially corny, soap-operatic moment truly is.
While dispatching yet another member of the Batman’s rogues gallery together, the Dark Knight and Catwoman decide they’ll wait no longer. It’s July 4, and they’re going to get married tonight. On a Gotham rooftop, just the two of them with a judge and a witness each. Each chooses the person closest to him and her, and they talk — talk about whether they can do it, what it will mean. Bruce and Selina also write letters to one another, explaining how each fell in love with the other, why they love each other, how they’ve arrived at this point and what tomorrow will bring. Will it bring happiness or heartache?
Janin instills some real vulnerability in the two main characters here with his detailed but soft linework. Selina’s reaction to her best friend’s comments is striking, and I love how we can see how uncomfortable Bruce is with his tuxedo and his awkward attempt at telling Alfred what he needs to tell him. There’s a truly creepy, insidious vibe to his depiction of the various villains who turn up in the closing moments of the issue as well.
The extra-sized issue is peppered with pinup pages by various artists, several of which have been integral to landmark Batman stories over the years. Writer Tom King deftly incorporates those pinups into the story, having them represent key memories the couple have of their history; consequently, they don’t feel like filler material. I was struck by how artist Becky Cloonan clearly strives to channel the late Darwyn Cooke, who designed Catwoman’s most recent iconic look; and by how Jason Fabok endeavours to capture the rather buxom, bombastic look that artist Jim Balent brought to Selina in her own title in the 1990s.
Also visually striking is the lettering job Clayton Cowles offers her. I love the large block letterforms that convey the dialogue, and how it contrasts with the much softer, lowercase letters that make the two narrative voices come alive. The approximation of cursive captures Selina’s style and grace, while the printing of Bruce’s message shows how he’s trying to curb his more stoic tendencies.
King uses a device he’s employed many times before in this ongoing Batman/Catwoman saga: parallels and repetition. I suppose one might find it’s a little clumsy or obvious, that he uses it as something of a crutch. But it’s definitely no crutch. Weaving the different perspectives in the script in and out of one another is incredibly satisfying, and King knows exactly how to pace the plot, dialogue and narration — or perhaps the mirroring device allows him to pace it so well.
There’s been a lot of discussion online about how a New York Times article about this comic, ahead of its release, spoiled the ending. But did it really? Was there any other way for this story to end? And actually, has the story ended at all? A wedding doesn’t encapsulate love; for some, it’s the next step in a growing relationship, and for others, it’s the beginning of the end. King doesn’t explore Bruce and Selina’s nuptials here, but rather their love and their perceptions of one another, what it is about them that makes them unique in each other’s lives. It’s incredibly convincing, and ultimately, King delves into what makes Bruce Wayne the Batman. It makes an impossible scenario seem incredibly true and poignant and sad.
It’s like poetry. 9/10