As Batman and Catwoman wend their way towards their presumed wedding this July, the folks behind the Batman ongoing series have been paving the way by showing us how the rest of the DC Universe reacts to the upcoming nuptials. First, it was Batman’s existing family weighing in, then Superman and Lois Lane. And this month it was Batman and Wonder Woman teaming up to fulfill a long-held promise.
And at the end of the story’s first installment, it looked an awful lot like that team up might spell doom for Batman’s marriage.
[Warning: This post contains spoilers for Batman #39 and #40.]
What had happened was this: Batman and Wonder Woman know of a hell dimension where an unending horde of demons eternally strives to reach a portal to Earth’s plane, and it is held in check only by the efforts of a sleepless warrior known as the Gentle Man. After meeting him, Bruce and Diana promised that they would eventually return, and grant him a day off — so he could visit the mortal plane and see his wife. They, the two greatest fighters in the Justice League, would spend a day in the hell dimension where all superpowers and aging are nullified and grant him a respite.
Suitably mythic, suitably good, right? Except the Gentle Man selfishly didn’t tell them one thing: Hours in our realm pass as decades in the hell dimension. And as Batman and Wonder Woman reached the ten year marker, it appeared as if their hope was beginning to flag. The issue left us on a cliffhanger of whether Bruce and Diana might give in to the assumption that they were all they had left in the world.
The uncertainty made a lot of DC fans unhappy — unhappy with the idea that their heroes might be tempted to something as human as infidelity, and unhappy with the idea that Wonder Woman was once again being reduced to a romantic interest for one of her male equals.
So it’s a good thing that Bruce and Diana pretty much immediately come to their senses in the next issue.
All in all, they spend 37 years in the hell dimension, fighting the unending hordes side-by-side, before Catwoman figures out what the Gentle Man has done, reads him the riot act, and makes him return earlier than planned. Batman and Wonder Woman talk about missing their loved ones and even pets (including, yes, Wonder Woman’s kangaroo, Jumpa). Catwoman talks to the Gentle Man about the nature of love and distance in love. And at the end of the whole thing Bruce and Diana resolve to do it all again next year if the Gentle Man asks them — but this time Catwoman and Steve Trevor get to come along too.
All’s well that ends well — or at least recovers from cliffhanger endings.