Let's talk about the Bat-Cat "wedding" (spoilers, I guess)

The short version of my points and the discussion that I’m looking to have on this thread are as follows: After an entire year of stories in which the two were engaged (an arc titled “prelude to the wedding” I might add), it feels a little pathetic that DC couldn’t give us a single panel of Batman and Catwoman actually being married. My understanding was that many other fans were disappointed by Batman #50, but it being advertised on DCU’s homepage would suggest that DC are very proud of this story. I want to gage the general fan reaction to the “wedding” issue and have a CONSTRUCTIVE discussion about the good, the bad, and what could have been better.

The Long version: To start; I’m not angry. I am a fan, and a passionate one at that, but I don’t let things that I love get me angry when I’m disappointed or frustrated by a creative decision. Having had apparently had a year to cool down after reading Batman #50 (feels like yesterday doesn’t it?), I’m mostly left confused. I don’t understand Writer Tom King and DC’s decision regarding the conclusion of this arc.
I understand, of course, the concept in comics that the status quo must be upheld at all times. In fact, I would say that I am more forgiving ,and even enthusiastic, about the status quo than most fans. However, the intense buildup and hype surrounding what would have been (in the grand scheme of things) not a particularly earth-shattering change made the impact of DC’s copout hit even more powerfully and awkwardly. To add to all of this, I really did not like the reasoning behind this decision.
Both in the comic and the real world (to my understanding), the reason for leaving Bruce Wayne at the alter was the same. Both Catwoman and King came to the conclusion that Bruce can’t be batman if he’s happy. From King, this comes across as markedly lazy and unsupported defense of the status quo, and from Selena, it just seems needlessly cruel. Even if the marriage was destined to fail, we could have got so many new and interesting stories about WHY it had to fail. Maybe a year of engagement, a year or marriage, and then we can watch the fallout of a divorce for about a year. This would have been such an easy decision to undo in a medium that is famous for destroying whole universes every now and then because they can always just bring it back that it baffles me that DC and King couldn’t muster the commitment to see it through even temporarily.

At this point I was going to mention the wedding of Colossus and Kitty pride that happened in the pages of X-men around the same time as Batman #50, but this post is already kind of long, and I’m itching to get some responses to it. If anyone cares, I may post my comparison between the two events in seperate post on this thread.

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At least the Shadowcat and Colossus wedding ended pretty well. I never really liked them as a couple, but I do like Rogue and Gambit. I think it made much more sense to have them get married.

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What a lot of people have proposed is that since it’s the halfway point of King’s arc, his intent was to have it go wrong and then prove Selina wrong by issue 100.

I believe it, and that’s exactly why I don’t like it. King doesn’t write for comic readers; he writes for mind readers. With a whiteboard and fifteen minutes, I can sort out what he’s trying to communicate in any given issue, but until I do, it’s an obtuse, intensely frustrating reading experience. He asks for more patience than I have any genuine interest in giving him considering that his story (That gasp Batman actually does have feelings and can be happy!) is one that a hundred other writers have told more succinctly, coherently, and entertainingly.

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I don’t care that they didn’t get married. I care that it was written poorly.

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Not the biggest fan of King’s run and it has nothing to do with issue 50, which I actually think ended stronger than most of his other story threads. I do think King is a good writer, and he’s had some great issues sprinkled throughout his Batman run, but overall his Batman just hasn’t been for me.

I’m personally very glad the wedding never happened and hope it never does. I agreed with the logic of why it didn’t happen. Batman would be less effective if he was content. And the most interesting part of the Bat/Cat relationship is the fact that it never works out. Having them get married just sounds like bad fan-fiction to me.

I’m generally a big fan of King’s Batman, but I found the wedding disappointing. I don’t buy the argument that Batman can’t be Batman unless he’s sad. The character used to be written in a happier form. He worked fine. Actual people who go off to war are usually married. It’s also actually possible to be married and still have sadness in your life. There are many ways this could be handled to create interesting stories, and the idea that heroes must be miserable is Didoist nonsense which should be extracted from DC’s philosophical core.

I do think it is worth considering that this is only the halfway point in King’s tale, and he very well might bring it back to marriage again, but I still think that’s lame. Batman and Catwoman have been will they/won’t they forever. Pulling the rug out from under us again isn’t interesting, and this, “He can’t be Batman if he’s happy,” feels like it’s been done a billion times already. I don’t know how often it’s been said in universe, but it’s a constant meta-level discussion. Reading the issue, I was just kind of waiting for it to fall apart. It felt like a scene in a horror movie where you know a character is about to do something that gets them killed by the axe murderer, and you’re just waiting for it. It was uninspired.

That being said, uninspired comics are the norm, and I didn’t hate it. I just found it underwhelming. The real annoyance is the way DC built it up as if it were legit and then let it go up in a puff of smoke.

I also side with those who argue that if you are going to have things fall apart because Batman can’t be Batman without tragedy, then show that in the comic. There was nothing to indicate Batman was any less effective due to his engagement. Show this happen and Selina’s decision will seem more justified.

By the way, comic don’t always reset to a status quo. They almost always do, but they don’t always. Superman is married and they kept him married for the better part of two decades. Other aspects of comics have changed with time. Even if it eventually resets, let’s vary the tune a bit and get some fresh stories out of a new temporary status quo.

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Of course, two decades doesn’t always stop them from regressing something back to the Silver Age. CoughOraclecough

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Yeah, why would DC want a unique character with a couple decades of character growth and a vital role in the DC community when we can have a generic female version of Batman with less personality? I think it’s interesting that nearly every adaptation of Barbara Gordon outside comic books sticks to the Oracle version of the character.

Regardless, at least we got some interesting stories for awhile even if they eventually went back to status quo.

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The ending was written far to poorly for the amount of hype that went into it. Especially with how weak batman just seemed to me, hate to sound like a troll but he just seemed like cuc. I could understand if they had him proving that he could no longer be batman while he is happy by having him lose to joker or any1 on his wedding night. It was just such a let down.

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While I would have liked to see them together, I’m pretty darn sure they’ll end up with each other by the time of Batman/Catwoman. As far as the actual story of #50 goes, I’m a big supporter of King’s run, have been since the beginning, and that issue is no different. King likes a slow burn to a big payoff, and when the book is bimonthly (Biweekly? No clue what the term is…), I’m perfectly okay with going slower and taking the time to psychoanalyze my heroes. The Wedding issue is a “big payoff” issue. The payoff may not be sweet for Bruselina shippers, but it certainly is done well, and for me it was a total gut-punch. And that’s clearly what King was going for, which means he was successful. Sorry for the ramble. I’m not even sure if it’s coherent, but it’s my opinion.

Would I like to see the two together? Yes. But I think in what King was trying to do with this run, having them marry like this wouldn’t work.

First off, marrying each other purely in terms of costumes never really rang right to me. If they’re going to be married, it should be as Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne as well. So having some blackout drunk preacher do it on the rooftops just never really made sense to me.

And then, story-wise, it wouldn’t have worked because Bruce wasn’t in the right frame of mind for it. When you get right down to what King’s run on Batman is, it’s an examination of if Bruce Wayne can be happy and fulfilled in a healthy way as Batman. This is truly tested when in The Button, the Flashpoint Batman/Thomas Wayne begs Bruce to stop being Batman, that he thinks that’s the only way Bruce will ever be happy.

So in desperation to find a way to fulfill that, he turns to Selina. He thinks that being married to Selina is what he needs to truly be happy. But anyone who’s been in a relationship can tell you that you can’t expect your partner to make you happy, that only breeds toxicity and resentment. Happiness can only come from YOU, and you and your partner mutually share in that.

So if I’m reading this run right, I think what will happen is that this attempt at marriage was just a rocky, but necessary step in making Bruce and Selina a stable, happy relationship going forward.

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@Batwing

I agree with your assessment of King’s run in general but disagree about the quality of this issue. I felt like I saw Selina’s decision to leave coming way in advance of the reveal and it was like watching a slow motion car wreck. No, that’s not right. Car wreck implies it’s a bad thing. It didn’t feel satisfying or anguishing. It just felt like, "Oh, this is the excuse they are using to nullify the last twenty or so issues. Well, poop.

@Jay_Kay

That’s an interesting take that Bruce’s motives for getting married might have been a bit out of line, but I’m not sure the story did much of a job explaining that. You did remind me of another critique I had of the story though. It really bugs me that they were going to get married without the Bat Family present. That seems out of character for Bruce to me. I get he goes solo a lot, but would he not include his surrogate family while getting married? I don’t buy that.

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@BatWatch
It’s not really nullification; King is still working on the Bat-Cat relationship, it’s just on the back burner in favor of the current Bane/Thomas Wayne story. I don’t know, I’ve really been enjoying the run, and maybe I’m bending over backwards to justify my enjoyment of it.

You didn’t get that, @BatWatch? Not only has that been a big part of the subtext of the story, if not literal text at times, that’s been a major theme in all of Tom King’s work so far in comics.

Where did the text say Batman’s motives form marriage were askew? Maybe I forgot it.

I will agree that the capes rather than the alter egos getting married very much seemed to be a misstep. My big problem with this issue was the marketing. Was it beautiful? Yes. Was it well written? Yes. But it wasn’t what was heavily advertised. Comic shops had wedding cakes brought in, Tom King was on a late night show saying it was really going to happen. I managed to avoid the leak, so I didn’t know the wedding didn’t happen until I read it, and I’ll admit it left me with a bad taste in my mouth.

I still love the issue, I’ve got it signed and hanging in my office, but yeah, the way marketing handled it hurt my little heart lol

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If the 3 of them including Robin lived together and in some way formed a unique and flawed family learning to grow as a unit, I would still be pulling this book.

When read by itself, Batman #50 is fine. It’s really DC that soured things. Perhaps the ideal compromise would have been for Catwoman to go through with the ceremony but then bail immediately afterward, Graduate-style. (You can decide who’s Dustin Hoffman in that scenario.) That way, the company could have its wedding cake and eat it, too.

Also, if Tom King does manage to marry them off by the end of his tenure, then I hope that the next writer doesn’t kill her off, ship her off to space (cough Bendis cough), or remove her marriage to Bruce via a deal with Trigon to save Alfred’s life.

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@AlexanderKnox Batman #50 features Batman trying to get a drunk judge to legally marry him and Catwoman. It does not read fine. I dislike it when people seem to think that only DC’s marketing wrecked the story. It certainly didn’t help, but even on its own I still don’t think the story is written well.

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I think people who are upset about this issue don’t realize that this is just the midpoint of King’s run, and by no means should it be considered “the end of a story”.

King’s run is special in that everything is connected so tightly that the whole run should be considered one big complete arc. From Gotham/Gotham girl to the wedding to the Knightmare issues, each story is really only part of the long journey Batman is taking, and City of Bane will be the culmination of them all. You won’t understand King’s run if you view each part it an independent adventure for Batman.

The “Batman can’t be Batman if he’s happy” thing is what Bane and Joker feed Selina and make her give up the wedding, but if you keep on reading the run you will see that this is not the message King is trying to give, at all.

Also I think people are confusing poor writing with not liking the plot. Batman #50 is beautifully written and serves as an important part of Batman’s journey in the run. But people hate it because they don’t see what they want to see.