Welcome to a special birthday edition of Gotham Gazette. No, it’s not my birthday (although I wouldn’t say no if you offered me cake). Rather, this spring DC is celebrating the 80th birthday of Dick Grayson, Catwoman and the Joker.
I hope I’m as active at age 80 as this trio is, because they’ve been keeping busy. Selina continues to star in her monthly Catwoman title, and after the events of “City of Bane,” it looks like BatCat is officially back together. In fact, a certain tweet from writer Tom King hinted that Selina might be pregnant in an upcoming story. I didn’t think that an 80-year-old could get pregnant, but Catwoman has always played by her own rules. (Just don’t tell her I called her 80, since it’s hard to enjoy cake after somebody scratches your eyes out.)
Of course, that’s not to say that Bruce and Selina don’t still have issues they need to work out in their relationship. If you’ve been reading James Tynion IV’s Batman run, then you’d know that some dark secrets from Selina’s past have been causing some complications. In Batman #90, Catwoman confesses that years ago she and Gotham’s other super-criminals were recruited by a mastermind known as the Designer. He tried to help the villains step up their game, and for Selina that meant planning the ultimate heist.
Now the Designer is back, and he’s using a plan he and Catwoman had discussed years earlier—robbing Bruce Wayne of everything he has. Batman isn’t pleased that Catwoman kept this from him, but they have to stop the Designer before the conversation could continue. It’s worth pondering, though, why didn’t Catwoman tell Batman about the Designer from the beginning? After everything those two have been through, wouldn’t he understand? Catwoman’s history as a thief can never be erased, and unless she discusses it head on with Batman, it will always be an obstacle to their happiness. I hope they can stop the Designer, because without the Wayne fortune, the budget for these birthday parties is going to get real low.
While it looks like Selina may be getting a baby for her birthday (at least in Tom King’s story), the Joker seems to be getting a new sidekick. Not much is known about the mysterious new villain called Punchline, but readers got their first look at her in Batman #89 and Year of the Villain: Hell Arisen #3. She’ll be playing a larger role in the “Joker War” storyline, which begins in Batman #95, but the question everyone’s wondering is...what’s going to happen when Harley Quinn finds out about her?!? (Looks like we won’t have to wait too soon for our answer.)
While everyone was making a big deal about Punchline, there was a detail from Batman #89 that a few people might have overlooked. The Joker was standing next to a bulletin board that identified the secret identities of the Bat-Family’s biggest players. We’re not sure what’s going on, but “Joker War” just got a lot more interesting. While past stories have been ambiguous regarding the Joker’s knowledge of Batman’s secret identity, recent stories like the New 52’s “Death of the Family” have heavily hinted that he already knows. After seeing this bulletin board, it’s hard to deny it. The question is, what will he do with this knowledge?
As for Dick Grayson, all he wants for his birthday is to make sense of his life. Last year, he was shot in the head by KGBeast and the resulting injury gave the former Boy Wonder amnesia, which the Court of Owls then made sure he wouldn’t be able to recover from. If you read last month’s column, then you know that Dick finally got his memories back (hooray), but he still needs to make sense of his confusing past. In Nightwing #69, Dick heads to Switzerland to find himself and confront the Owls.
He still hasn’t put his classic Nightwing costume back on, but my theory is it’s because he hasn’t found himself yet. When he does, he’s in for a surprise when he returns to Blüdhaven. The replacement Nightwings that Dick has been assisting have made the news and the Joker isn’t happy. Apparently, the Clown Prince of Crime is a hardcore Nightwing fan, and he doesn’t accept any substitutes wearing the mantle. Man, the Joker is sure having a busy month!
Be sure to check out all the Bat-books to see how these storylines wrap up, and keep your eyes on this space, because we’ll be back with the latest Gotham news next month!
Joshua Lapin-Bertone writes about TV, movies and comics for DCComics.com and DCUniverse.com, is a regular contributor to the Couch Club and writes our monthly Batman column, "Gotham Gazette." Follow him on Twitter at @TBUJosh.