When an issue starts with “We met on a boat” and “we met on the streets”, the poetic nature is evident. This issue isn’t about what happens in it so much as the love the two share. There is no question that they love each other. The only question is how much. Selina would say she loves Bruce so much that she’s willing to sacrifice her love for Gotham. Bruce would say he loves Selina so much that he can be happy. When you take that lens into the issue, the issue is truly about love. Though it’s generally controversial, the core of the book, love, remains intact with one hell of a stinger at the end.
The best part of the issue by far is the poetic letters the two send which summarize their love or each other but also create an ongoing symbol of eyes. Eyes can be sharp, muddied, grey, imperfect, dark, and sullen, but Batman and Catwoman’s eyes are perfect. The use of the symbolic nature of eyes or lack there of shows how the two acknowledge the other. That Catwoman knows Batman’s eyes even though they aren’t visible, show their history. The eyes not only acknowledge how the two are different but also how they are similar. It’s a unique approach with language that makes me tear up. I got teary eyed as I felt compelled to read both parts out loud. It’s that pretty. Paring that with wonderful contrasting art and the issue is really something special and unforgettable.
The other aspect of the issue, the actual plot is inconsistent with the build up to the wedding. Though the ideas planted by the Joker remain, all the build up to the wedding especially preludes feels like it didn't really matter. Having Batman debate whether Dick or Superman would be the best mate in the wedding was great, but when they decide to just "do it today," everything felt like it didn't matter. Maybe that's for the best though as it leads to maybe my favorite Alfred-Bruce moment of all time. I'm a newer reader but still it meant something to me and couldn't help but stir emotion. When it came to Selina and Holly though, the biggest mistake of King's first 50 issues is clear. He didn't spend enough time making the Selena-Holly friendship work. I was almost baffled by Selina's choice of Holly because I never felt anything between them which contrast to the instant chemistry of Selina and Lois. Especially when we get to a particular moment in the nightmares arc, Selina and Lois feel way more genuine compared to Selina and Holly. I can't help feel though like it is a purposeful choice though as Holly is clearly playing Catwoman.
The end teaser is what is most important about the issue. Bane is revealed to be planning everything from behind the scenes. Without this moment, this issue makes no sense. This is only the halfway mark of his run, and though I would have loved to see a more cheerful direction, the upcoming 25 issues justify the decision. At least in some people’s eyes. If the start of 50 is the highpoint of Batman’s state of happiness, it’s time to travel to a low point.
(Your friendly neighborhood reporter)