GOC Comic Reviews: ‘Batman #50’
Story by Tom King
Art by Mikel Janín
Colours by June Chung
Letters by Clayton Cowles
It’s not a secret to anyone out there that King’s Batman run is a 100 issue plan, and while it certainly seemed odd to have this iconic moment happen in the middle of the story arc, it had been planned and hyped in all kinds of media, assuring us of a “happy ending” for this epic romance, we had zero reasons to believe we would be reading anything but a wedding.
Oh, how we were fooled.
It all begins when Bruce and Selina decide to get married that morning, without their friends and family, with only two witnesses and a judge. And, okay, first warning bells start to ring as… are you seriously telling me that after all the preparation, discussions about the best man, and bonding over the wedding those two decided to elope and give the finger to their loved ones?
Later, Bruce picks Alfred over Dick or Clark as his witness in his wedding, and that has to be the most touching scene in the entire issue, as those two have been together these almost 80 years of Batman history, and Alfred has always stood firmly by Bruce’s side.
On her part, Selina picks her good old friend Holly Robinson from Arkham Asylum in time for the wedding.
While this quick preparation is happening, the issue showed us two love letters from Bat to Cat and from Cat to Bat, with art retelling the most iconic moments of the couple over the last 75 years, telling the other what they mean to them, and how their lives changed the moment they met.
However, as the issue keeps moving forward, Selina starts thinking about Joker’s words from the last issue – whether Batman could exist or not if Bruce were truly happy – thinking if she’s a hero or not and doubting if this is the best course of action, as she thinks she can be a hero. In her letter, she states that marrying Bruce would be the thing that’ll bring happiness to the both of them, so much happiness Bruce would stop being Batman forever… which is exactly why she can’t marry him.
And after an hour waiting at “their” rooftop, Bruce knows Selina is not coming to the wedding.
But that’s not all, as in the last page it is revealed that everything, from Thomas Wayne encouragement of Bruce seeking happiness to Holly convincing Selina to leave Bruce behind, was all a ruse to break the Bat’s heart, meaning every moment of their relationship (from the proposal, courtship and this) was just the means to an end, not the real thing.
Look, I understand where King is going with this whole issue – I even have my own theories about it – and I think I know why he decided to pull this move. However, it’s been almost 80 years and the narrative of Batman being unhappy in order to be the vigilante he is is not only outdated but plainly wrong.
Yes, Batman was born from tragedy, the need of justice, but over time, he got himself a family in his Robins and Batgirls, Alfred and the Justice League. He’s a man who is a better hero when surrounded by the people he loves and guides his actions based on that love and the love he has for Gotham. There’s even an entire issue, and movie, where we see Batman being his darkest version when guided by vengeance and cruelty.
And, putting Selina in that situation, is like saying “she doesn’t know Bruce at all” which is the opposite of the truth as her entire relationship with the Bat is the fact that both of them are the only ones who understand one another better than almost anyone else. She’s one of the few people out there who sees the man behind the cowl, beneath the cape, not the legend or the myth but the lost and lonely orphan at the alley. And, her leaving him so he can “keep being a hero” is just not her.
King and DC decided to put a bold move on this particular issue, and while the payoff might not be worth it as people are pretty pissed at this decision, hopefully, someday we’ll get to see a happy ending for our caped crusader.
We give Batman #50 a 4 out of 10 times the word eye was mentioned.