The long-awaited follow-up to Tom King’s 85-issue run on Batman finally has a release date. Batman/Catwoman, which will continue the story of the Dark Knight’s romance with Catwoman, debuts on Dec. 1. The 12-issue maxi-series is drawn by King’s frequent collaborator Clay Mann, with colors by Tomeu Morey and letters by Clayton Cowles.
DC made the announcement on Twitter, while teasing the covers for the first issue as well as the arrival of the Phantasm to DC comics continuity:
DC describes Batman/Catwoman as “a crime story told across three separate timelines” that explores the heroes’ relationship through the lens of past, present, and a future set after Bruce Wayne’s death.
The past timeline will explore “when The Bat and The Cat first fell in love. Did they meet on the street? Or was it on a boat? Rooftops, ramparts and gargoyles, and over 80 years of fans that have read their comics, are their only witnesses.”
In the “distant future,” Bruce has died and Selina “decides to settle an old score without having to worry about the Batman objecting. Catwoman is serving a very cold dish: Revenge.”
The present will usher in the Phantasm’s debut in the comics. The iconic villain who was first introduced in the best Batman movie ever made, the animated film Mask of the Phantasm, returns to Gotham, “calling into question how each character chooses to operate in their costumed, and personal, lives, and any move by Phantasm could change the fate of Bruce and Selina’s future.”
And what Batman story is complete without the Clown Prince of Crime? As he did the last time the Phantasm showed up to torture Bruce, the Joker will introduce a bit of chaos to the story.
DC teases that “what [the Joker] did in the past is going to have direct consequences on today and tomorrow. Batman’s greatest foe will intervene any time Batman and Catwoman try to take steps towards peace—he already robbed fans of a Bat/Cat wedding celebration! Any change in the Caped Crusader’s life will be matched with the chaos of the Clown Prince of Crime…and the Joker’s not leaving any witnesses. Not even a gargoyle. Will Selina make good on her final kill?”
Speaking to King at NYCC 2019, the writer told Den of Geek that “if you think [King’s] Vision [series] changed Vision forever, Batman/Catwoman will change Batman and Catwoman forever.”
King promised that Batman/Catwoman would be far more ambitious than his bi-weekly Batman run, saying that the monthly maxi-series format would allow him to go as “in-depth” with these characters as he did with Scott Free and Big Barda in his critically-acclaimed Mister Miracle limited series.
The writer originally intended to tell this story as part of a planned 100-issue Batman run but ending his time on the book early with issue 85 actually made this next story much stronger, according to King.
“My [original Batman/Catwoman] outline was based on a double shipping thing and a constantly shifting artist. I was like, ‘Let’s make this bigger and deeper…even more impactful,’” King said. “This is my chance to do my Dark Knight Returns, to do something that defines and redefines this character for a generation.”
Batman/Catwoman will ship monthly except for a planned skip month in June 2021. That month will instead see the release of a Batman/Catwoman Special. Check out some high-res versions of the main cover of the first issue by Mann and Morey as well as a variant cover by a cover by Jim Lee, Scott Williams, and Alex Sinclair: