Writer: Tom King / Artist: Joelle Jones / DC Comics
Love will push you to do things you never even considered. But a sense of duty will push you even further. In Batman #34, Batman and Selina Kyle’s true motivations for traveling to a forbidden territory in the middle of the desert are revealed. Initially, there was no clear reason why Bruce and Selina were on this unsanctioned mission. You couldn’t blame one for assuming that Bruce felt he had to confront his past—Talia al Ghul—to move on towards a brighter future. In a way, that’s still true. But it’s now clear that Bruce isn’t thinking for himself as much as he’s thinking for the union he hopes to soon be a part of.
The issue features plenty of action, as one would expect in any issue with a Talia appearance, and the body count is high as the duo takes on a small army of silent soldiers. Up until this point, Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne have played off of each other the same way a newly-minted couple would in any “will-they/won’t-they?” While they were deep into the honeymoon stage of their relationship, so were we, as readers. Now we’re at the good part where the real relationship kicks in.
There really aren’t any bad guys in this issue because everyone’s motivations are clear as day. Batman and Selina are looking for Holly Robinson to clear Catwoman’s name. Talia is lashing out at a lover, who she feels abandoned her and their son. Even the silent soldiers are just doing their jobs. The cherry on top of a strong issue comes in a conversation held between Damian Wayne, Dick Grayson, and Superman. Imagine Damian’s position. After he finally starts to settle into life in Gotham, his dad travels halfway across the world to fight his mom.
Anyone who says “This has nothing to do with you” clearly doesn’t understand that family dynamic. So, no one does. Superman understands why Damian would blatantly threaten him with magic [a weakness of his that’s not nearly exploited enough, IMO] and Dick Grayson comes along to make sure his former Robin isn’t left alone in his thoughts and emotions.
Side note: What does it say about me that I laugh at the sight of Selina nonchalantly pulling a sword out of her lover?