SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Batman #50 by Tom King, Mikel Janín, June Chung, Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez, Trish Mulvihill, Becky Cloonan, Jason Fabok, Brad Anderson, Frank Miller, Alex Sinclair, Lee Bermejo, Neal Adams, Hi-Fi, Tony S. Daniel, Tomeu Morey, Amanda Conner, Paul Mounts, Rafael Albuquerque, Andy Kubert, Tom Sale, Jose Villarrubia, Paul Pope, Mitch Gerads, Clay Mann, Jordie Bellaire, Ty Templeton, Keiren Smith, Joëlle Jones, David Finch, Jim Lee, Scott Williams, Greg Capullo, FCO Plascencia, Lee Weeks and Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
Ever since Batman proposed to Catwoman a year ago, that’s what the comic has been about, but that’s not how Tom King began his run on Batman and as it turns out, that’s never what this run has been about. The final page of this week’s milestone Batman #50 reveals the true scope of Tom King’s plan for the Caped Crusader, and his relationship with Catwoman was only part of it.
There’s a lot going on in just one page, so it’s worth taking some time to dig into what happened, why it happened, how it relates to stories from earlier in King’s run and what it means for the next fifty issues of Batman.
To Break The Bat
By now, you probably know that Batman and Catwoman didn’t get married (and if this is the first you’re hearing about it, we did put a big spoiler warning at the top of the article). Bruce Wayne’s throughline of this run on Batman has been based around the question “Can I be happy and be Batman at same time?” His proposal to Catwoman was part of an attempt to have both, only for her to realize that she can’t risk being the reason Bruce Wayne stops being Batman. Thus, she chooses to sacrifice their happiness so that the world will always have a Dark Knight.
What she doesn’t know is that everything that has happened over the course of these fifty issues has been the result of the manipulation of someone who can now perhaps claim the mantle of Batman’s greatest enemy: Bane.
The final page shows Holly Robinson returning to Arkham and reporting to Bane that everything went as planned, that the wedding didn’t occur, to which Bane replied that he has finally broken the Bat. However, Bane isn’t working alone, and the cabal of heroes and villain surrounding him all have connections and links to every major story arc of Tom King’s run.
It appears that Bane set everything in motion, going back all the way to Batman Rebirth #1 -- it wouldn’t be surprising if he was responsible for the crashing plane which was the dramatic set-piece of that issue -- and now, Batman is right where he wants him.