Thursday, 20 November 2008
The Bat, the Cat, and the Amazon
I have some epiphanies recently about the lack of BatWondy romance in DC comics and also animated version (naturally). Seems that, although the last two years have been GREAT for Wonder Woman fans with Gail Simone on board, but BatWondy fans are left low and dry. And now with the convoluted Batman RIP arcs, we have Heart of the Hush with Batman-Catwoman romance as the central theme.
Had I learned about this HoH three years ago, I would be very agitated and annoyed with that. Now... I'm a bit down because - again - DC has ditched away the potentials of BatWondy stories, understandably from editorial and historical POV. But I also realise that in another story, there's Trinity and the obvious special bonds between Bruce Wayne/Batman and Diana/Wonder Woman. It might not be romance per Bruce/Selina now, but the bonds are there, the trust is there.
I guess what I wanna say here is a fair analysis of what's going on in DCU. That... I can see why many ppl are interested in Bat/Cat romance. It's just thrilling, full of lust and passions, and also potentials for noir stories a la Bat books (but again, BatWondy can also create noir stories a la Gods of Gotham...). Selina Kyle is feisty, independent, and very sexy, and her on again off again romance with Bruce is...addictive. And perhaps Hush is right. Compared to Bruce's other women (Talia, Jezebel, etc etc, even Zatanna), Selina is actually top score. She does hold a special place in Bruce's heart. And my recent affinity to this Kitty makes it easier for me to accept it. Heh, I even might like the Heart of Hush story-arc later on.
But there's a gap there that Selina might not be able to fill in properly. Trust and belief. A higher beacon in life for Bruce, and that is provided only by Diana. And Diana is not just another woman, or a superhero freak or whatever Paul Dini/Hush said about Batman's female superheroine colleagues. This particular role of Diana's is clearly presented in Trinity comics and also Gods of Gotham (again, my Bible. Praise Jimenez). Diana is Bruce's beacon, and whatever happens, it stays that way. That's why Bruce was angry when Diana killed Max Lord; that's why he told her to get out of his cave, while he easily accepted Selina killing Black Mask (who deserved it anyway). Diana is and always be Bruce's beacon, and he can't afford to have that beacon fade away. He needs her, like it or not.
I believe that a popular culture can have its own life. How else can we explain the persistence and survival of several comic characters while other older characters faded away? Inexplicably, only in recent decade (starting from 30 years ago actually, counting the pre-crisis Brave and the Bold series), BatWondy romance emerges as the strongest (dare I say) contender towards the 60s years of BatCat romance. Perhaps because this collective comic awareness called Bruce Wayne/Batman finally needs to channel and compensate his darkness through the not-so-fictional entity called Diana of Themyscira, the Wonder Woman. He needs her light to get through, to bring back and retain his humanity. Was it not Diana who accompanied Bruce Wayne in Nanda Parbat when he was in seclusion post-Infinite Crisis? And though I was annoyed with Alan Heinberg's utter lateness in delivering WW comics during his run, he got at least one thing correct: Bruce's and Diana's strong bonds. What did Batman say in the WW Annual #23? "Use the lasso on me if you don't believe me. They love you, Diana. They always have. Because that's what you inspire in anyone who's ever met you. That's what makes you powerful than anyone." The Great Detective got that right.
Batman/Bruce Wayne loves Selina Kyle the Catwoman. I can accept that now. I find it romantic and passionate, even. But I also realise now that Batman and Bruce Wayne also loves another woman, and - dare I say - that love surpasses his eros love for Selina. That pure unadulterated love is reserved for Diana of Themyscira, the Wonder Woman, whether she's now with the lame Nemesis or being a happy single warrior of peace.
And I can't say that I'm unhappy about it. It places Diana in a special place in Bruce's heart, reserved only for her. If Catwoman dies, Batman will be broken hearted, no doubt. Might take revenge, even. But if Wonder Woman dies, the Dark Knight will lose his anchor. And that's a fate worse than death.
Do my ramblings make sense?
Pic 1 (left): Batman and Catwoman, from Comicvine
Pic 2 (right): Batman and Wonder Woman, from DeviantArt (Erickenji)
Pic 3: Detective Comic 850, Heart of the Hush, part 4/4
Pic 4: Wonder Woman Annual # 23
See also: Noah's BatWondy archives