Batman/Catwoman #12 Review: Poorly Executed Fan Service Comes to an End

Four years ago, fans of Tom King's Batman were disappointed—and even enraged—by what they felt was a bait and switch with Batman #50. The issue, highly hyped as the all-important wedding between Bruce Wayne/Batman and Selina Kyle/Catwoman came and then never actually happened. Selina left Bruce at the altar, as it were. In the years since, a lot has happened, both in terms of King's run on Batman, as well as with the characters themselves with all of it leading to this: Batman/Catwoman #12. The issue finally delivers that wedding after giving us a dozen issues of story that also wove in bits about their married life and family between a murder story and other elements, but while the issue finally offers up a conclusion and delivers on the "Batrimony" of it all, much like the rest of the Batman/Catwoman series it lacks substance, sense, and lands as little more than a somewhat pretty string of gimmicks that just feels like cheap fan service in the end.

Before diving into this, it needs to be said that I don't dislike Tom King and I don't entirely dislike his Batman run. While I absolutely do not think it was the best run ever, there are certain elements and moments in which King posed some interesting questions about Bruce Wayne and his work as Batman and there was a good bit of interesting exploration of the character, his trauma, and the impact it has had. I've never been much for Batman's relationship with Catwoman, but King's story made me see it differently and come to understand and even appreciate it. But going into Batman/Catwoman, this title was never a Batman story. It's a Catwoman story—not even an especially good one—and there were plenty of times when it felt, generally, like King both didn't understand Selina Kyle as a character in any meaningful way, and more than that didn't really know how to put her story together.

I've said from the start that the multiple timelines felt like stretching things just to create the space necessary to fill 12 issues and, now that the final issue is here, I stand by that. One thing that this issue does that is quite positive is that, while there are still different points in time being explored, it's done in a much tighter fashion and weaves into the "present" story in a more seamless fashion in that they all lead into one another. It's still a little unnecessary, but at least it is easier to follow. Another positive is the actual wedding itself. It's quiet, it's contained, and it includes a bit of humor as well—there's an Adam West-style Batman impersonator that felt like a nice touch—and other than the art of the issue seemingly going out of its way to have Selina contorting her body in a position where she's sticking her backside out at every turn for no conceivable reason, the artwork and colors throughout remain lovely. 

But subtracting the wedding—which is nice to finally receive—what's left is a series of things that feel wrong. In the future-set storyline, you get Selina manipulating Helena, something she's been doing the whole series but is particularly egregious here because she puts her daughter in a situation to compromise her own sense of right and wrong just to let her mother get away with murder. It's toxic and it wipes out any of the previous effort to show how Selina genuinely loved her daughter. In the end, she torches that relationship for her own gain. It's chilling and paints Selina as emotionally abusive, an act that calls into question the entirety of her relationship with Bruce Wayne as well.

That sort of manipulation also carries into the "past" timelines as well when we learn a bit more about Andrea Beaumont's murder. There's a big reveal regarding that tragedy which shows that not only did Selina seemingly lie to Bruce for decades about Andrea, but she did it while colluding with the woman the whole time, essentially inflicting additional emotional trauma on Bruce for years by way of his own guilt and regret. Yet, the whole issue concludes with what's supposed to be some triumphant display, the Bat and the Cat finally married, and love winning the day. It's, frankly, gross and while logically it was probably all meant to show how Selina never really "fit" Batman's world, it is just tacky here and leaves one wondering what the whole point really was.

In the end, Batman/Catwoman #12 is disappointing and unsatisfying on nearly every level. Yes, we finally get the wedding, and that moment is charming – the call back to the "Date Night" story with Lois and Clark was fun. But everything else just feels like a mess. This whole series was a situation of something that could have been a one-shot or even just a two-issue special but was stretched and bloated to fill space that in turn was used to double down on the most toxic traits of a character who is vastly more complex than she was presented here—all of it culminating in little more than poorly executed fan service.

Published by DC Comics

On June 28, 2022

Written by Tom King

Art by Clay Mann

Colors by Tomeu Morey

Letters by Clayton Cowles

Cover by Clay Mann