By Cat Wyatt
Batman #44 is a bit different from the previous few issues. As we near the date of the wedding, we see more and more of the preparations for it. This issue is mostly about Catwoman and her hunt for the dress, but it’s not like any of those shows on TV…this one is far more amusing.
This issue is actually telling us two stories at once, to help us better understand the Batman/Catwoman dynamics. The first story is based in the present and has Selena ‘shopping’ for a wedding dress. The second story is more like a collection of events from Bruce and Selena’s past; little moments that led them to where they are today.
Now, the way they tell these different stories is actually really nice; swapping back and forth every page or so. However, it doesn’t work when I’m simply talking about it. I’m going to talk about the past events first because that’s what I feel like doing.
Our first glimpse of the past shows us, Batman and Selena, in what was possibly the first time he’d seen her unmasked (and injured). This one is notable because we can tell that the attraction is already there (duh), and so is Selena’s sassiness. The next glimpse solidified Selena’s character; while a thief she wasn’t willing to see Batman (or anyone else), come to harm; even if that meant risking herself in the process. Then there are a few different conversations about what sort of future they have, both individually and together, as well as some chatting about their personalities (Selena’s mostly – the focus is clearly on her side of this relationship).
Alone, each of these events may seem cute, but fleeting moments. Together they paint the full picture. They show us the relationship that Bruce and Selena have spent years building together. They show us all the odds they were up against. They show us how their different natures have to find a way to work together.
Meanwhile in the present, the wedding is looming ahead of us, and Selena has yet to pick out a dress. But we can’t really expect the world’s sassiest cat burglar to just go dress shopping, now can we? Of course she has to do it her way, and her way apparently involves nighttime, her cat suit, a sewer system, and some explosives. Yeah, I think you can guess where we’re going with this one.
Cue a montage of Selena plucking through dresses, trying some on, makes faces at others. Oh, and don’t forget raiding the champagne fridge (because of course). Her expressions at the various dresses were priceless, and absolutely worth taking a look at (granted, some of the expressions were likely frustration – how is a woman by herself supposed to get into half of them??).
It actually makes complete sense that Selena would use this opportunity to steal a dress. We could argue that it’s in her nature. We could argue that this is her last hurrah – the thief equivalent of a bachelor party. My theory? This is her finding a way to match her life with Bruce’s. He has his Batman gig, she has Catwoman. Catwoman steals things; pretty things. If she can find a balance in her life this way, then they have a chance of making it. Granted, the best way to keep this delicate balance is to not let Bruce discover what’s been done.
In the end, Selena does in fact find the perfect dress. It’s absolutely stunning, and suits Selena perfectly. The price tag? A whopping twenty-eight thousand dollars. Suddenly I don’t find myself blaming her for stealing it, I mean seriously, who could afford a dress like that?!? (Okay, Bruce probably could). Regardless of the cost, it’s the perfect dress. I can’t wait to see Bruce’s (and Batman’s) reaction to it.
This was such a simple story, but I actually ended up loving it. I’m still conflicted about this wedding, but this sort of made me more content with the idea. The storytelling was so spot on and subtle at times, I was fully enthralled with each moment. I hope they do a Bruce side next, though I’d be okay with them doing something completely different for his.
The artwork for this issue was fantastic. The present and flashbacks were portrayed with different styles, that made the jumps clear (while not having them be jarring). Selena’s expressions were probably the highlight of this issue. Though I have to give props to the beauty and intricacy of the dress she ends up with.