If ever there was a love story that I never wanted to read, it was that of Batman and Catwoman. I’ve been staunchly against the match between these two since my first stumble into the DCU, and I have never wavered in my belief. Batman with Talia or Wonder Woman? Bruce with Talia or Diana? That I could get behind. But Selina and Bats? No, thank you!
So imagine my immense surprise upon finishing BATMAN ANNUAL #2, and finding Tom King had changed my mind, if only for this arc that takes place on Earth 2. Tom King is a brilliant writer, something that cannot be denied by anyone who’s ever read his work. He has a knack for intense moments that, even when mixed with humor, capture your heart and interest in them without overwhelming you. It’s always just enough to have your heart in your throat, and not so much that you need to set the book down and breathe. In my opinion, that’s the perfect amount of everything to have in a story. I’m in love with his portrayal of Batman and Catwoman, their back and forth dance of danger and mystery, the flirtation between right and wrong, and the ultimate connection between them over one thing that bonds them together stronger than anything else would: their respective pained pasts. Both orphans, both creatures of the night, and both total opposite of one another.
Lee Weeks and Michael Lark split the book’s art between the two of them, Weeks rendering the courtship of the two, and Lark capturing the couple’s beautiful ending. I can’t even describe the emotions I felt just from the illustrations; the entire book would have been solid without a single word. These managed to trade-off in the middle, something that normally drives me batty, without messing with the flow or emotional intensity of the very serious plot. I had to go back and find the exact page the switch was made, because between the art and the text, I was so immersed it went unnoticed.
Another thing worth mentioning was the brief, but powerful, appearance of Huntress. Helena Wayne fought alongside her father as Robin, and was trained to be his successor. Selina accepts this with acknowledging only her understanding as having married the Bat.
I nearly didn’t review this annual, because I couldn’t find the words to urge you to read it yourselves without giving too much away. Poignant, emotional and gripping, it’s a story that speaks to many levels of humanity. It’s well worth the read, and I suggest it to all. Don’t let this one slip by — life is too short not to fill it with the things you could love, a lesson Selina herself would tell you.
(W) Tom King (A) Michael Lark (A/CA) Lee Weeks