"They had never discussed it, any of it. Not
as Bat and Cat.
Not as Bruce and Selina. But now…"
Though the new era of Cat-Tales stopped following new developments in "The Gotham Post" it did not erase those episodes it had already acknowledged. It was long established that some version of the events of Knightfall occurred in Cat-Tales pre-history and World's Finest referenced a more realistic interpretation of the injury Bruce suffered at Bane's hands as well as the non-magical, non-preposterous road to recovery. It also presented a more realistic interpretation of the effect it had on Selina. This story's opening with new injuries trudging up painful memories of that time are among the most heart-wringing of the series. Seldom has Selina's love for Bruce been so eloquently revealed.
The rest of the story is a murder mystery, with Bruce confined to an easy chair in the manor while Selina acts as his eyes and ears. It's a very satisfying story, even although the best moment belongs to Cassie and Clark Kent. Selina's return to the manor for the denouement with Bruce is still wonderful, both as a resolution to the mystery and for fans of the ship. They will have to wait for Bruce and Selina to discuss that period when he vanished after the Bane injury. It didn't happen in String Theory when an Azrael chimera appeared in the manor, it didn't happen in Casefile 001 when they went over the documents relating to the Order of St. Dumas from the Batcave safe, and even though Bruce is bracing for it, it doesn't happen here. We and he will have to wait until The Gotham Rogues in Book 6, but that delay is more than compensated for by the closing of accounts on a different chapter from Batman and Catwoman's past. A certain episode from a Year Two or Year Three story by Doug Moench in the Volume I comic.* It is told in detail the first chapter of the Book 6 story Trophies, but Selina describes the pertinent details here.
“Falconi Jewelers,” she said with a ferocious intensity. “I grabbed a police van transporting three prisoners from the courthouse back to Arkham for the sole purpose of keeping you busy while I got Queen Anunaki’s golden dollhouse. It was only supposed to be Harvey and Oswald in that van, but instead, I got Harvey, Oswald, and Joker. Did I leave you to deal with the homicidal clown while I traipsed off to St Moritz? NO, I caught him by myself and I left him tied up for you at the Bat-Signal. Did I get so much as a thank you? NO, I got a batarang thrown at my head, but that’s just you being you. I then HELPED YOU nail Oswald at Falconi Jewelers, and when I offered a partnership at the end of it, you said ‘That’s not good enough.’ One and a half Rogues in ninety minutes—my first ninety minutes even attempting *koff*-fighting—and I got a Rogue an hour.”
Bruce's reason for that refusal, stated in the epilogue, puts the episode in a startling new light and makes us wonder how we could have ever seen it any other way.
The new partnership signals a new phase beginning in the Batman and Catwoman relationship: one that calls the question at last of Catwoman the ex-thief becoming a crimefighter.
Like all Cat-Tales, Armchair Detective can be read online on the Cat-Tales website or mobile mirror, and can be downloaded as an ebook or pdf, which is sized for printing at Cafe Press. It is collected in Cat-Tales Book 5.
*Volume I is the 1990s comic with the Jim Balent purple Catwoman. DC Comics has taken to referring that as Volume II, presumably in an effort to create maximum confusion in any discussion of the series, providing an opportunity to derail criticism of Ed Brubaker's execrable second series begun in 2001.
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