Wednesday, 18 April 2018

The Original BatCat Marriage Part 03: The Wedding

We have now talked about the early adventures of the Golden Age Batman and Catwoman and the decisions they later made regarding their respective futures. It is now time to get to the part of them tying the knot. But how do people outside of their immediate orbits feel about Bruce Wayne marrying the now famous, if not notorious Catwoman?

It is a valid question on the minds of civilians why billionaire socialite Bruce Wayne would choose to marry a woman with a reputation of stealing from people like himself. I mean, he has he to be out of his mind to think a marriage to someone like Selina Kyle could ever work out, right? This has to be some sort of joke, right? I mean, there can be no other logical explanation for such a baffling choice bride than Bruce trolling the entire privileged community, right? Right???? Well...surprisingly no.

Apart from the fact Bruce's long time friend Commissioner James Gordon and his family are among the attendees to his wedding, not a whole lot of people are thinking once or twice over the fact. I guess you could say that in a city like Gotham where anything and everything goes, something like Bruce marrying a former criminal is hardly out of the ordinary. I mean, how many honest people actually live in Gotham when even the wealthy elite are notorious criminals?

Fortunately for us readers, we have the perspectives of Lois Lane and Clark Kent (alias Superman) to provide the answers to those questions in "The Kill Kent Contract" story, first published in Superman Family #211 in 1981!

And of course--as the story title suggests--because this is still Gotham City, there will be additional activities for the Super couple to do apart from them just visiting and attending a friend's wedding!


OLD FRIENDS

Our story begins with some air mail finding it's way through the window of Lois and Clark's apartment in Metropolis. The mail, however, isn't any ordinary mail. Attached to a batarang is an invite to the wedding of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle, delivered personally from Bruce himself in the Batplane. Lois and Clark are excited to get the invitation of course, however, they can't help but to think about Bruce's journey with Selina.

Lois is the first to ponder the question of how Gotham society is responding to the idea of Bruce Wayne marrying the Catwoman, but Clark feels Gotham would be more shocked to learn Bruce is the Batman himself. If they knew his secret, it wouldn't be hard to put two and two together. The one thing that captures the couple's attention, however, is Selina Kyle's road to redemption.

While Lois and Clark do not know (at this stage) the real reason Selina became the Catwoman, to them, it matters less why she subscribed to a life of crime. The part they're more interested in is how she chose to leave that life behind her. They especially bring up the fact that it took her saving Bruce from certain death (in Batman #62) for her to change her life around.

At this stage, Lois and Clark probably believe the amnesia story is true because shortly after Selina helped Bruce put Mister X behind bars, she committed to living an honest life since. Even when her own brother, Karl, tried to tempt Selina back into a life of cat-themed crimes, she still resisted, and instead, dissuaded her brother from pursuing a criminal life further. Though Lois and Clark do not bring up Selina's brief return to crime shortly after the incident with her brother, Lois nonetheless feels Selina is done with crime for good based on an interview she gave with her around that timeframe.

When the Super couple checks into their hotel in Gotham, Clark immediately goes to answer an emergency in Metropolis. While Superman is out saving the day, Lois decides to get back in touch with Selina feeling it's time to form a proper friendship with her. As she's about to call, Lois accidentally discovers a murder plot against a certain "Mr. Kent" attending Bruce and Selina's wedding, whom she naturally assumes is her husband. Thinking someone has discovered Clark's secret identity, Lois communicates this to her husband when he returns to Gotham. The two then spend the rest of their stay in Gotham vigilant of any suspicious activity.


THE WEDDING BELLS RING

At the wedding itself, nothing appears to be out of the ordinary. Everyone who is a friend or an associate of Bruce Wayne is there in attendance. Even Selina's brother, Karl, got early parole to not only see his sister get married, but also to walk her down the aisle. The ceremony itself is pretty breathtaking. The couple exchanges their vows and both look very happy at the altar. Even the kiss itself looks passionate.

At the wedding reception, Bruce and Selina are very much unaware of any "wedding crashers" and are enjoying themselves amongst their guests. Rather than inform the newly married couple on the threat on Clark's life, Lois and Clark decide to keep an eye on things themselves. After all, this is Bruce and Selina's big day. While the newly weds are very much aware that Gotham crime never sleeps for one day, even Lois and Clark believe they deserve to have this day to themselves uninterrupted. If anything happens, they'll be the ones to step in. Surely enough, that's exactly what happens.

It isn't long before Lois and Clark discover who the real intended victim of the "Kent murder contract" is. It was never Clark as he is based in Metropolis and Superman spends the bulk of his day protecting that city. Clark and Superman are thereby not of any concern to Gotham's underworld. Instead, the intended victim is an actual Gotham resident, Harvey Kent (who on Earth-1 is known as Dent), Gotham's district attorney.

Though Harvey Kent has a past as the criminal known as "Two-Face," he has since reformed and returned to his former profession of practicing law. How exactly was he admitted back into the bar given his history with dissociative identity disorder is not actually explained. But this being Gotham where the laws are pretty lax anyway, it probably didn't take much. Prior to his disfigurement, he was actually good at his job. It turned out that the way to relieve him of the symptoms of his disorder was to simply reconstruct the disfigured side of his face. Once he was able to put Two-Face behind him, he was able to return to his duties as district attorney. Naturally he was bound to make new enemies of Gotham's criminals.

Lois and Clark are able to stop the assassination from progressing and are able to arrest the conspirators without so much as alerting Bruce and Selina. Once the threat is gone, the Super couple are able to spend the rest of the day enjoying the company of their friends. With Selina now apart of their larger superhero family, Clark felt it made sense to let her in on his secret identity as Superman. Selina is once again unfazed by the revelation.

After all, Clark is married to the Daily Star's star reporter, Lois Lane, and Lois has a history of being romantically linked to Superman. It only made sense to Selina that Lois would marry the man behind the "super," much in the same way that she married the man behind the "bat." That man just happened to be Lois' co-worker, which was rather serendipitous for her. Selina was able to connect with Lois on that level, which made her feel like she actually belonged in this family. The story of course ends with Bruce and Selina looking forward to an optimistic future together. Selina is especially looking forward to being closer friends with Lois and Clark.


TO THE FUTURE

While the story of Bruce and Selina's wedding is told entirely from the perspectives of Lois and Clark, it is nonetheless an important perspective to witness the wedding from. We already know how Bruce and Selina feel about each other and made an important decision in their lives based on their own needs, but we also needed to see how their decision would affect the relationships with the most important people in their lives, especially in Bruce's case. Lois and Clark were by far the best candidates.

Not only are Lois and Clark DC's most iconic couple followed by Bruce and Selina, but the couple also exists to epitomise the best human qualities. Lois Lane has always been an ambitious career woman and has always been a hero of her own standing, using journalism to expose truths to the public and put dangerous criminals behind bars. At the same time, Lois has also always been allowed to be a flawed human being.

Lois was allowed to compete against her male colleagues--including Clark Kent--for the best news stories without compromising her other qualities as an individual such as her love and compassion. All qualities Clark has always loved about Lois that ultimately factored into his decision to marry her. In addition to the qualities she already possessed as an individual, he also loved the way she interacted with him. He loved that she challenged him, but still respected him. He loved that she loved Superman for the person he was and not for his powers and the things he could do for her. She was always interested in the man who is Superman, whom she eventually learned is Clark Kent.

Given what Lois and Clark's journey has been like, there has always been a strong theme of love and acceptance present with this couple. It therefore made sense that we needed to see the public acceptance of Bruce and Selina's marriage from their lens. They followed a similar journey. While Lois has never committed crime as a way of empowering herself, she also understood why Selina did what she did. Like Selina, Lois also shared the experience of gender inequality in every facet of her life and having her existence devalued because of it. She absolutely understood her need to standout and carve her place in a world of men. She completely understood Selina's desire not to feel helpless and to show that she can survive against all odds.

Lois couldn't judge Selina on the surface layer of her crimes as Catwoman because the reasons that lurked underneath cut down deeper than a mere desire to shake things up. It was all about reclaiming power for herself and not letting those in positions of power be in control of her life. It was therefore easy for Lois to accept Selina without a second thought. As for Clark? He's in the same boat as Lois in that regard. Like Selina, he also knows what it's like to be different.

As an alien refugee from a destroyed planet living on a new planet where refugees are feared and hated, Clark is able to connect with Selina on the ground of not being born with privilege by default, and being feared and hated. As Superman, Clark had to prove to the people of Earth that he means them no harm in order to earn their trust. As a former criminal, Selina is also in a place where she has to prove to the world that she means them no harm in order to earn back their trust. It was therefore not hard for Clark to accept her.

With Lois and Clark now a part of Selina's life, they are able to help her move forward and provide her with the same level of love, happiness, and emotional support that she will also get from Bruce. In addition to gaining new friends, Lois and Clark are also Selina's key to achieving worldwide public acceptance.

So far, Bruce and Selina have a lot of positive mobility in her lives. The question is how will the adult Dick Grayson respond to this new chapter in their lives? How will their daughter, Helena Wayne, respond to the rich legacy that accompanies her parents? Will she accept their respective pasts or feel damaged by it? Will she respond to that legacy in a way that is healthy or self-destructive? That will be the topic to cover in the fourth and final part of the original BatCat marriage!

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