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.
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.
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.
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