Catwoman, Batman, Zatanna, and the mind-wipe, Pt. 2Posted: 08/15/2013
When we left off yesterday, fresh off the revelation that Zatanna used magic to change her personality into a superhero, Catwoman reacted with the obvious guile of the severely emotionally broken. Catwoman, never well put together in the first place (awful childhood, wears cat costume, master thief, loves a man who constantly tries to put her in jail), watches as the carefully-glued puzzle broke into thousands of pieces. To sum up:
The fiery mud monsters represent her current state of mind. Also, she figures she’d chat up her soul mate, because that’s probably preferable to drinking a handle of alcohol and vomiting on her old costumes.
Solid question. Note that in the next few pages, Batman isn’t lying. Though he suspects/worries Catwoman had her mind tampered with, he does not hold proof. And to be fair, Batman suspects/worries everyone he meets has had his or her mind tampered with.
The irony is that Batman also had his mind altered by Zatanna. But Catwoman keeps forgetting an important detail: Batman sucks as a boyfriend. Or lover. Or anything involving intimacy. Oh, he’ll listen, but out of possible justice rather than sympathy. I like to believe Bruce Wayne wants to love — and badly too — but his own deep emotional issues smash through any hope of a long-lasting relationship. That or his dedication to punching bad guys in the face keeps him too busy to commit. But as you read Bruce’s attempt to comfort, he comes off as a friend, not a lover.
Truthfully, I don’t think Batman contains the ability to connect with any person on the level Catwoman needs at this moment. Probably because he spent his formative teenage years learning ninjitsu from killer assassins in Nepal somewhere. Though, I want to believe that this story — and the rest of the article — proves Batman desperately seeks to give Catwoman the love and attention she deserves. He just needs to find a life jacket to wade in the river of her disconnected heart. Though he’ll still confront former allies in his bathrobe.
The Zatanna/Catwoman debacle doesn’t end here. As we pick up a few years later (I put the issues used in the previous article), psychic goons captured poor Selina to pry Batman’s secret identity from her brain. Sure, the Gotham Sirens and friends — Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Talia al Ghul, and Zatanna rescue her in time, but Talia brings up an important point for the future.
Honestly, that may be for the best. Catwoman and Batman struggle with each other’s affections every other night, and any baddie finding out Bruce’s secrets could cause enormous destruction and death throughout the Justice League and the world. But y’know, it’s immoral. Wildly immoral. Of course with all decisions lying dangerously on one’s conscience, Zatanna frantically justifies her upcoming mind invasion.
So you can tell that Zatanna and Catwoman hate each other. Brutally so. But in the complicated game for Batman’s distracted feelings, you know who also put some pieces on the board? Starts with a T and ends with -alia al Ghul.
So turns out Talia has no problem with the whole immorality thing. Like manipulating a magician to eliminate the competition for Bruce Wayne’s love. Sadly, Talia misses the whole point of Batman’s idealism — he can’t ever fully love a woman who commits evil acts. His inflexible moral code won’t let him. If you think about it, Zatanna changing Catwoman’s personality contributed greatly to Batman opening his heart to Selina in the first place. Sort of, I guess? Oh, and Zatanna’s pissed.
Buy the book for the Zatanna versus Talia fight. More importantly, after a decade of trauma inflicted on Catwoman, Zatanna offers one final gift. I mean, only with Selina’s consent this time.
Y’know, Selina has one person who can understand her situation. Another woman who yearns for a man she’ll never have, who desperately seeks the affection of the man she deserves but can’t own. A man who hides his true self, too busy with his doomed eternal quest to ever settle down with the woman who’d give up everything for him.
Yes, Harley Quinn.
The Batman world contains so many more layers than we ever give it credit. When the DC event Flashpoint occurred and the universe rebooted, Gotham City Sirens #26 left Catwoman and Batman’s relationship in the one place it’ll always be — purgatory.
On a final note, and since the reboot Selina has de-aged to her early twenties and she no longer knows Batman’s secret identity, I’m allowed the freedom to end my article however I wish. And I’m choosing the final pages of the Heart of Hush arc in Detective Comics #850, written by Paul Dini and drawn by Dustin Nguyen. Because while the status quo of comics will never let the couple canonically be permanently together, it’s important to remember that despite Batman and Catwoman being horribly damaged people — they deserve each other. I mean that in the sappiest, most wonderful way.