The new Batman/Catwoman series launching this December has a long history - both in comics history and in the announcement and original plans for its released.
Writer Tom King (with frequent collaborating artist Clay Mann) plans to take the Bruce and Selina romance which blossomed in the writer's Batman run out on its own, while the monthly Batman title (with incoming writer James Tynion IV) would focus on Bruce's more DC Universe-centric stories.
Bruce and Selina's romance has been on-again and off-again for decades, going back to when Catwoman first debuted in comic books. In the past decade or so with 'Heart of Hush' and now King's ongoing Batman story, the two appear to be 'all in' in making their story happen.
What is Batman/Catwoman?
While Tom King's two-year run on DC's flagship title ended with Batman #85, the CIA operative-turned-writer will still have his time with the Dark Knight with the duo-billed title - a first for the couple.
"This is the end I always wanted to write for Batman and Catwoman: The culmination of not only what we did leading up to the wedding and afterwards, but of 80 years and counting of this relationship between hero and a criminal," King has said.
With Bruce and Selina's romance, engagement, and eventual wedding that wasn't meant to be a focal point of King's Batman run, he can continue that story here for this series.
"For people who have read my [Batman run], the basic premise here is we have three timelines that take off from Batman Annual #2 (the first and last kiss issue)," King explains. "We see Batman and Catwoman at the beginning of their relationship after that first kiss, we see them now, and we see the end, after that last kiss. That allows for us to see her evolution - how Catwoman went from being a rogue to a partner, and what that transition cost her."
King also stated that while he was leaving Batman, it was for the better good of his career.
"[Batman/Catwoman] will be the biggest, most ambitious project of my career, comics I get to make with the best collaborators in comics. And that's a gift and a joy too.
"This will be a comic about what the best Batman comics [have] always been about, how our greatest hero turns fear into bravery, pain into hope, trauma into love. It's the story I always wanted to tell, and I'm telling it with the man I consider to be the greatest artist in comics, my brother Clay Mann."
Who is involved in Batman/Catwoman?
Obviously with a name like 'Batman/Catwoman,' Batman and Catwoman are a shoo-in. Also, Bruce's former flame Andrea Beaumont, the Phantasm will be involved as well. And that's pretty much all we know.
It's unclear how the rest of the Bat-family will be involved or engaged with the couple. Especially since it looks like Bruce and Selina are about to make their own family of their own. Back in February, King posted this image of just the two of them (three of them?) in costume, on top of a gargoyle. He later confirmed that they are, indeed, expecting.
It's still too early to say who might show up to help the soon-to-be parents while they go on their caped crusades.
Adding Phantasm though is the true selling point of the series, however. Created for the original Batman: The Mask of the Phantasm movie, Andrea Beaumont was a former flame of Bruce Wayne who came back to Gotham after her own self-imposed exile to get vengeance on the crime lords that killed her father. Bruce and Andrea's lives ran parallel to one another, but both eventually taking different routes.
Phantasm has never been seen outside of the movie, for the most part, save an extremely brief cameo in the Justice League Unlimited episode 'Epilogue.' She's also absolutely never been seen in any main Batman comic aside from the movie adaptation. King says that will change, and after Batman/Catwoman there will be "a lot of Phantasm stories coming" in DC.
So yeah, it was a pretty big deal when she got revealed as a series addition.
When is Batman/Catwoman coming out?
Originally announced for a January 2020 debut, Batman/Catwoman was postponed indefinitely with King saying it was in order to give Mann time to draw all 12 issues without delays or fill-in artists.
A revised release date of December 1, 2020 was confirmed earlier this month by DC. The first six issues will run monthly, with a break in June 2021 to make room for a special Batman/Catwoman one-shot, with the series resuming in July 2021 for the remaining six issues.
How does Batman/Catwoman fit into the rest of the DC Universe?
King countered that, however, with a vague tweet simply saying "Defining continuity". Looking at what Tynion has begun to do with Batman's main title, it is a head-scratcher on how Bruce also becoming a father-to-be could fit into this.
Comics being comics, however, it wouldn't be unprecedented - Alan Moore and Brian Bolland's Batman: The Killing Joke was considered non-canon at the time, but over time elements of it - most notably Joker injuring Batgirl, leading to her needing the use of a wheelchair - become incorporated as central parts of DC continuity.
So where will Batman/Catwoman sit? Time will tell.
Will Batman/Catwoman grow to become one of the best Batman stories ever? No pressure... but while we wait and see, check out our list of the best Batman stories of all time.