While Times Gone By does begin on New Years Eve and the title alludes to the song and poem Auld Lang Syne, it should not be considered a holiday story the way We Gather Together and Knight Before Christmas are holiday tales. It is entirely the story of the Bruce/Selina relationship's most significant dynamic: Trust. The uneasy flow between love and trust is so loaded with dramatic possibilities, it went on to become the crux of Jeph Loeb's seminal series Hush, which brought the Batman/Catwoman relationship up to date for the 21st Century.
The inciting event: Talia al Ghul framing Selina Kyle for a cat crime, was a popular trope in fan fiction of the time. Cat-Tales rejected the usual course it took among fan writers, with Bruce universally being fooled by the frame-up and assuming Selina is guilty*.
In Cat-Tales, Batman is not fooled by the obvious plot. Rather, he is thrown sideways by the revelation that he trusts Selina. Love was quite a big deal when it came along, but this, this Trust thing was something else entirely:
He’d thought love was the big word. It was a big, yes; hell, when it finally came along it was monumental. But this was something more. This was his jugular exposed, his neck on the chopping block—total naked vulnerability. He trusted her. Jesus Christ, how did this happen?
Also highly significant to the Cat-Tales, it establishes Hell Month, the weeks leading up to the anniversary of the Crime Alley murders, and the turmoil Bruce is thrown into each year as the day approaches.
*It is probably significant that in a much later tale, Selina observes that all Talia al Ghul's plots begin with the assumption that Bruce is an idiot. It may well be the author's view of Talia writers, both in fan fiction and official offerings like Bride of the Demon and The Dark Knight Rises, that they do seem to reduce Bruce's mental faculties, will, drive and character to an unrecognizable non-Batman fit only to serve the writer's fantasy.
Like all Cat-Tales, Times Gone By 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 1.
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