Holy Bassinet Batman!
Originally, Tom King was slated to
write Batman for 100 issues. That number was cut down to 85, but then
it was announced that King would be writing a Batman/Catwoman
mini-series that would build on Bruce and Selina's relationship. The
promotional images released for Batman/Catwoman featured an image of
the villain from Mask of the Phantasm. Even people who weren't fans
of the Bat-Cat relationship were pumped to see what Tom King would do
with the fan favorite villain. The mini-series was slated to be
released in January of this year, but was pushed back so that Clay
Mann would be available to draw the entire run. Since then, no new
information has been released...until today.
Earlier today, Tom King teased a new
detail on Twitter of the upcoming Batman/Catwoman mini-series. In a
tweet, King shared a picture of Batman and Catwoman standing on a
rooftop in costume. Sounds pretty unremarkable, until you look a
little closer. In the picture, Catwoman is obviously pregnant.
Although this new detail reveals a possible plot line of the
mini-series, there's no telling what direction that plot will take.
As an avid fan of Tom King and a long time reader of Batman, I've got
some thoughts on this subject. I'll delve into those in just a
moment, but first a little background information on King's Batman
run up until this point.
The central theme of King's Batman run
was “Can Bruce Wayne be happy and still be Batman?” Throughout
the series, King focused on examining the character of Bruce Wayne.
Along the way, we got a ton of really cool Batman moments, but King's
stories always led back to the man beneath the cape and cowl. In the
second story arc, King introduced Selina Kyle (Catwoman) as Bruce's
love interest. Subsequent story arcs explored the history between
these two characters and King used their rekindled relationship as a
means of exploring his central question. The two were going to get
married in issue 50, but this was foiled by the machinations of Bane.
By the final issue Batman and Catwoman are once again engaged and
Bruce has realized that he may indeed be able to have a healthy
relationship with the woman he loves and keep his vow to fight crime
After reading King's entire run, I
expected the Batman/Catwoman mini-series to pick up where the series
left off. I assumed it would explore Bruce trying, and possibly
failing, to find the balance between his marriage and Batman's
crusade against crime. The possibility of the plot of Mask of the
Phantasm factoring in to the mini-series seemed to suggest that
Batman's romantic past would contribute to the obstacles he and
Catwoman faced. Now that King has tweeted the picture of a pregnant
Selina, I'm hoping that the mini-series explores her and Bruce's
future within the DC Universe. Readers of his run may already have an
idea of what that future could look like.
Batman Annual #2, “Date Nights and
Last Rites,” shows Bruce and Selina's relationship, within the
framework of King's overall story, from their first encounter through
their final moments. Toward the end of Annual #2 the reader is
introduced to Bruce and Selina's daughter Helena, who has donned the
Batwoman costume and succeeded Batman as the protector of Gotham
City. After seeing the picture King tweeted, I hope that
Batman/Catwoman mini-series is done in the same style as Annual #2. I
would love to see the second half of that issue's story flushed out
into a longer narrative. It would be awesome to see Bruce and Selina
molding their daughter into the next caped crusader. This is an idea
that has never been fully explored. In the New 52 era there was a
version of Helena in the Earth 2 and Earth2: Society comics. In those
stories though, Helena Wayne became Huntress and we only saw glimpses
of her relationship with her parents. Tom King is the perfect writer
to take Helena Wayne in a new direction while giving her back story a
new spin and adding depth to her character.
The concept of Bruce and Selina's
daughter being introduced into the current continuity of the DC
Universe opens up all sorts of possibilities, especially with Mann on
artistic duties. Acrobatic training scenes, Bruce talking Helena
through missions via her earpiece, Helena facing villains with
Batman's moves and Catwoman's ingenuity. Considering King's character
focused style of storytelling, there is also potential for compelling
interactions between Helena and the rest of the Bat-Family. Team ups
with Orphan, competition with Damian, goofing off with Dick, being
babysat by Barbara. All of course written in King's thoughtful and
provoking style. My imagination is on overdrive just thinking about
all the possibilities.
To take this speculation a step
further, we should also consider DC Generations, which is set to be
the next era of storytelling from the publisher. It's rumored that
the “5th Generation” of this new era will focus on new heroes
taking up the mantle of the classic heroes. I would love to see this
generation of Batman stories feature Helena living up to her father's
legacy as Batwoman. Or following in Red Hood or her mother's
footsteps and becoming an anti-hero who is able to play both sides
while still fighting for justice. As I've been writing this piece, a
crazy idea has popped into my head. I think it would be interesting
to see Helena as Batwoman with Terry McGinnis from Batman Beyond as
her Robin. Not only would that be a completely new direction to take
the characters in, but it also lines up with DC's ongoing mission to
tell new stories while embracing their rich history. This would be a
great opportunity for DC to give existing characters or new
characters the chance to embrace the legacy of their predecessors in
unexpected and original ways.
I personally don't have a Twitter account, but days like today, I highly consider signing up for one. My favorite contemporary comic book writer tweeted a teaser for a mini-series I've been looking forward to for months. With a single picture, King has renewed my excitement over the eventual release of Batman/Catwoman. As much fun as it is to imagine the possibilities, I'm sure whatever King comes out with will still be surprising. No matter what direction the story presented by this mini-series goes in, it's sure to be well thought out and full of character driven plot points.