SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Batman #40, by Tom King, Joelle Jones, Jordie Bellaire and Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
It’s only been four short months since Catwoman responded in the affirmative to Batman’s unprecedented marriage proposal, but already, the pair’s relationship has been put through the wringer. Nevertheless, despite awkward double dates, snide remarks about the other’s fashion choices, and a violent encounter with a bloodthirsty ex-girlfriend, Bruce and Selina’s love has continued to not only survive in the wake of these challenges, but prosper.
But is the Bat-Cat romance strong enough to survive the ultimate test?
In Batman #39, Bruce and his Justice League teammate Wonder Woman found themselves trapped in another dimension, where the duo was locked into near-constant battle with wave after wave of beasts known as the Hordes of Gehenna. Although they accepted this mission in order to temporarily relieve the warrior known the Gentle Man from his lifelong duty, the offer was revealed to be made under false pretenses; time in that dimension works differently than on Earth, so although Bruce and Diana didn’t age physically, the mere hours they were away from home equated to 10 years.
That’s an entire decade where, outside of the Hordes of Gehenna, the only other face Bruce was able to see was Diana’s; the only other voice he could hear was Diana’s; and, of course, the only other person he could share his feelings with was Diana. Meanwhile, thanks to the Gentle Man’s convenient omission, the pair began to believe they were destined to live out the rest of their lives with no one but each other, and as the issue came to a close, we witnessed Bruce and Diana staring passionately into each other’s eyes as they prepared to lock lips.
It’s hard to fault them, either. 10 years trapped in another dimension, not knowing if you’ll ever return home to your loved ones has a way of bringing people together (or at least one would imagine). However, Bruce and Diana are no ordinary people; one is a demigod, and the other is… well, Batman.
“We can’t…,” Bruce says to Diana at the start of Batman #40, just moments before their lips are about to touch. Diana responds reciprocally, and the pair shares a laugh before steering the conversation back to their respective significant others, the memories of whom keep them comfort as they continue to battle the Hordes of Gehenna for another 27 arduous years.
Back in Gotham, though, it’s still only been a few hours, as Selina – now well aware to the Gentle Man’s deception – pressures him to bring an abrupt end to his reunion with his own wife and return Bruce and Diana to their world. Still, despite his lie, Selina can’t help but admire the love the Gentle Man has for his spouse, which she tells him as he prepares to open the portal and resume his eternal battle.
In doing so, Batman and Wonder Woman are immediately transported back to Gotham, where a tear-stricken Selina is waiting to greet them. Not only that, she also makes it a point to assert that, should the Genlte Man ever request another furlough, “Batman’s wife will join her husband in battle.”
As Diana leaves the two betrothed lovers to reconnect, Bruce begins to explain that he has a confession to make, but Selina proves it doesn’t take the World’s Greatest Detective to guess what could have happened while he was alone with Wonder Woman for 37 years. In any case, his honesty and her acceptance, albeit with an appropriately catty remark, results in a significant moment of growth for the couple.
Bruce and Selina are two highly damaged individuals who tend to see themselves as being defined by their failures rather than their successes. That they’re able to overcome this major hurdle because of their love for one another is further proof that together, these two broken people have one incredibly strong relationship.