The last great arc before Denny O'neil and Frank Miller began their respective assaults on the Batman universe was that of Doug Moench. First blocked from using Catwoman, he created an original character called Nocturna to be an ambivalent criminal/love interest. When he was able to use Selina, he promptly destroyed Nocturna in such a way that kicked off the Bat/Cat romance and partership that readers had been longing for.
Cat-Tales pays its homage to Doug and his arc by bringing Nocturna, whose name was Natasha Night, into the catverse as Francois's sister Natasha deNuit. It also clears up her companion, who the comics called her brother, then her half-brother who acted more like a lover. In Cat-Tales, he is simply her husband, and their matching surnames and relationship is clear. He is "The Thief of the Night" as he began in the comics, but he would be happier to leave his costume in a suitcase and see Gotham as a tourist. It's not meant to be, for Nocturna calls the shots.
Natasha and Anton are the light side of the episode, but there is plenty of angst as Bruce and Dick's fight have the whole family at odds and ends. It affects Selina in particular, because of the implication for her relationship with Bruce:
Selina, the problems with Dick, they have nothing to do with you, nothing to do with us.”
“It feels like they do,” she whispered. “I didn’t know why until something Barbara said the other night. She said the infighting was the norm for you and Dick and that the few months of getting along was the anomaly, a fluke, exception to the rule.”
“Ah,” Bruce nodded, “I see. So now you’re thinking we might, what, fall apart the same way? That things will suddenly ‘go back to normal’ the way they were before?”
“We were fighting a long time; we’ve only been together for—”
“We loved each other a long time too,” he interrupted. “It’s not like this came out of nowhere.”
It's a small episode in the overall arc of their relationship, but quite touching in its understated way.
Bruce and Dick manage to reconcile through a new partnership: a case Batman and Nightwing will tackle as true equals. It involves him witnessing Selina being more of a bad girl than she's been in quite a while, leaving them both hot and bothered by the time he returns to the manor, ending the tale on a rather sexy Bat/Cat interlude.
Like all Cat-Tales, What's New Pussycat 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 2.
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