Writer: Tom King / Artists: Lee Weeks & Michael Lark / DC Comics
Annual issues are often where writers get to truly shine their brightest. It’s the rare opportunity to tell a story with no restraints and take characters places no one else had thought to take them before. Or even one to add backstory to a character’s catalogue and reveal details you never realized you needed to know.
Last year’s Batman Annual brought us a collection of stories from several different writers. Including King’s Eisner Award-winning “Good Boy,” which tells the story of Alfred painstakingly rehabilitating an aggressive dog manipulated by the Joker until it became the loyal canine partner we now know as Ace.
Batman Annual #2 shifts from last year’s strategy of calling in multiple storytellers by letting King take full ownership of 38 pages of real estate for one story with art from Lee Weeks and Michael Lark.
King’s more than deserved this opportunity and used it to add to the major decision he’s going to be credited with introducing into the Batman mythos—among many. While fans are still reeling from the fact that Bruce Wayne proposed to Selina Kyle, which she accepted, King explores that relationship even more.
In an alternate timeline, we see a relationship between the two blossom over time as Catwoman repeatedly appears in Bruce’s life as a nuisance in the same way you’d expect a love-struck kid on a playground to. She steals the batmobile and crashes it into Porky’s, she steals a pen he was just using from right under his nose just to show that she can and then breaks into the one safe he actually cares about.
This charming back-and-forth continues until Batman finally makes a move and confronts both Selina and his feelings for her, which she cleverly states he could’ve done a long time ago but chose to wait for.
Calling back to a conversation the two had in a past issue from King, Bat and Cat argue over where they met in a nod to continuity issues from the distant past. But then things take a very unexpected turn. Batman gets a happy ending.
No matter what King does, Batman and Catwoman’s relationship will likely come to an end one day. Even if they successfully get married, have a small village’s worth of acrobatic, brooding babies and raise them into adulthood. Batman isn’t meant to be happy for long; we’ve seen this countless times. Reboots happen. Stories need to be told.
So if you, like myself, are in love with the idea of Bruce and Selina [Brelina?], these eight pages will be held close to your heart. Even if it’s brief, we get to witness the two live into old age with each other and experience an unconditional love they were deprived of in their youths.
Looking for more Batman? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.