Tom King has not been shy about his fondness for Batman and Catwoman’s relationship. Since coming on to the series Catwoman has played a big role in King’s run on Batman. Now it looks like all the build up for Batman and Catwoman’s relationship is coming to a head as we see the two on the cover looking lovingly into one another. With everything that has happened, especially after meeting with the Flashpoint version of his father, is Bruce Wayne finally moving forward with his life beyond Batman? Let’s find out with Batman #24.
Writer: Tom King
Artists: David Finch and Clay Mann
Inkers: Danny Miki and Seth Mann
Colorists: Jordie Bellaire
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: In her apartment Selina Kyle puts on her Catwoman costume to get ready to go out for the night.
Earlier in the day, Gotham Girl asks Batman why in a world of magic and science fiction that has come to life he never tried to fly. Batman says he can fly if he wanted to.
Gotham Girl then asks Batman what she should do now with her powers since her family is gone. She wonders if with her powers she should be like Superman. Batman says he never understood Superman’s “Up, Up and Away” saying as he prefers to be on the ground.
That night, Catwoman takes off and starts swinging through the city.
Back to earlier in the day, Gotham Girl thinks she should probably return to being a normal person. Batman questions Gotham Girl on if she can return to being normal. Gotham Girl asks Batman if he could return to being just a person. Batman quickly says “No.”
Gotham Girl then says she expected Batman to tell her exactly what she should do with her life. After a brief moment of silence Batman admits that the superhero life is crazy and that she should live as long as she can.
Gotham Girl once again asks Batman what she should do. Batman reveals when his parents died Alfred did not tell him what to do. He continues to say while Alfred did disapprove of Bruce becoming Batman he never listened.
Back to later that night, Batman spots Catwoman and joins her in swinging through the city as it starts raining over Gotham City.
Back to earlier that day, Gotham Girl asks Batman if he likes his life. Bruce says it doesn’t matter because he is not Batman because he likes it but rather because he is Batman.
Gotham Girl wonders if Bruce believes that they would’ve wanted him to be Batman. Batman begins answering the question but quickly turns it around to ask Gotham Girl if she wants to be a hero. She wonders if that means that is what people who wear costumes do. Batman says their is another option but she does not want to be them. Gotham Girl asks Batman if he is one of those people.
Batman tells Gotham Girl honestly that he lives this life because he can’t stop but that does not mean he is happy. Gotham Girl says she knows he isn’t happy. Batman reveals that while he isn’t happy that he has tried but failed to achieve happiness.
Gotham Girl then thanks Batman for everything she did for her.
Answering her original question, Batman says that he doesn’t fly because he doesn’t need to and life is too short to do things you don’t need to do. Gotham Girl understands what Batman means and finds the resolve to be a superhero. Batman says Gotham Girl will first need training and he knows someone in Europe that can provide her with the proper training.
Gotham Girl asks Batman if he knows why he has continued to fail when trying to be happy. Batman says he fails because he is scared because after all he has seen in Gotham City, if he wasn’t scared then he would go insane. Gotham Girl says that everyone gets scared and that we all have a chance to brave when facing those fears.
Gotham Girl asks Batman what he wants to do. Batman gives the same answer as before so Gotham Girl asks if being Batman is all Bruce wants to be.
That night Batman and Catwoman end their swing through the city on a rooftop. Batman reveals after they met the first time when Catwoman tried to steal the diamond he bought and held it for years, much to Catwoman’s surprise. Batman says he knew he would need it someday just like he needs her.
Bruce takes of his Batman cowl and Selina’s Catwoman mask. Bruce admits he is scared and that he loves her. Bruce gets down on one knee and asks Selina to marry him as the Batsignal light shines behind them in the sky. End of issue.
The Good: Batman #24 delivered an ending that was completely unexpected. With the Tom King about to enter the next big arc involving Joker and Riddler, it looked like Batman #24 would be nothing more than a filler issue, especially after “The Button” crossover. Luckily that is not what Batman #24 and we got some meaningful storytelling that put a close to Gotham Girl’s story while opening up the potential for many new stories down the line for the entire line of Batman Family comics.
The feeling of having something that happens that is unexpected is rare to get. While it feels like this is the moment that King has been building towards in retrospect it does not take away from the pleasant surprise of Bruce Wayne proposing from Selina Kyle. The fact that we can go back to the beginning of King’s run to see how it shaped Batman #24’s ending just elevates the moment.
The issue that most sticks out is Batman #12, part of the “I Am Suicide” arc, where we got to read a letter Bruce wrote to Selina while he made his way to Bane. In that letter Bruce spoke about how he and Selina understood each other on a level that others around them couldn’t. That letter speaks to the honest feelings Bruce has for Selina, that he tends to hide as he focuses on being Batman. That letter puts into context how Bruce’s proposal isn’t out of the blue and is something that he has wanted to do for a long time but held himself back.
King made the proposal mean even more by having Bruce take of his Batman cowl and Selina’s Catwoman mask. This is a nice step in a new direction for Bruce and showed that he took the words of his father in Flashpoint seriously. In doing this King also creates a lot of story possibilities as Selina is known as Catwoman to the public. Now the question will be if Bruce and Selina go through with the engagement and do in fact get married if that comprise the former’s identity of Batman. It also creates room for King to explore how the rest of the Batman Family react to this engagement as each one can react very differently when they find out.
As big as Bruce’s proposal was, Batman #24 marked the closure for Gotham Girl’s arc of looking for herself. Batman #24 was by far featured the best character development for Gotham Girl, who has been a background character since her introduction. Giving the character this attention made her arc feel like it came full circle. Batman speaking honestly to Gotham Girl, or at least as honest as he could be, spoke volumes to how she has become part of Batman’s extended family.
Batman allowing Gotham Girl to come up with her own answers during the course of their discussion. It was a great way to show how Batman’s way of mentoring his proteges is to allow them to come to their own conclusion on what kind of hero they want to be. Batman opening the door for Gotham Girl to get the training she needs gave her a graceful exit from the series, while still leaving the door open to return in the near future.
While I am not a fan of artist by committee David Finch and Clay Mann were managed correctly as they were each given their own segments in this issue to draw. By having Finch draw the Batman and Catwoman scenes and Mann draw Gotham Girl’s discussion with Batman, it gave the issue a consistent look throughout without one artist style interfering with the other. Inkers Danny Miki and Seth Mann and colorist Jordie Bellaire did a great job in making sure Finch and Mann’s styles did not clash, with Batman #24 maintaining a consistent look.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Batman #24 did an excellent job providing Gotham Girl with an exit from the series and delivering the big surprise of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle’s possible engagement. The ending was made even more enjoyable thanks to how Tom King has built up Bruce and Selina’s relationship during the course of his run. That engagement opens the door for a lot of intriguing storylines that showed how impactful Batman #24’s character development was.