Batman’s secret alter ego just made a flashy comeback, as he and Catwoman have a memorable night on the town.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for DC’s “Perfect Match” story: Love is a Battlefield # 1 by Christos Gage, Xermanico, Romulo Fajardo Jr, and ALW’s Troy Peteri, out now.
Batman has many tools and tactics that he has used in his war against the world’s criminals, but only one of them involves a cheesy mustache and a signature accessory. Matches Malone’s identity has served the hero useful for years, and he just had his best chance to shine in recent memory.
On a mission to track down multiple villains at once in DC: love is a battlefield, Batman discovered his infamous Matches Malone identity, and uses it to accompany Catwoman to a supervillain wedding reception as his date.
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Batman and Catwoman have remained romantically linked, even if their wedding didn’t go as they initially expected. However, to the world, the couple has not been so close, allowing the couple to hide their romance when necessary. One such occasion, Maxie Zeus’ wedding, turned out to be the perfect opportunity to expose the hero to many of his greatest enemies at once, with Zeus throwing a lavish party atop a yacht to mark the occasion. But for this mission, Batman does not appear in the traditional cape and hood. Instead, he arrives at the event dressed as Matches Malone, who quickly claims to be Catwoman’s date for the night. Doing so allows him to get close enough to the villains to slip GPS trackers onto their costumes and gear, allowing Batman to hunt them down later.
Matches Malone first appeared in bat Man # 242 by Dennis O’Neil, Irv Novick, and Dick Giordano, and served as an effective disguise that the Caped Crusader could use to infiltrate the criminal underworld. Identity has become infamous in Gotham, especially for how Matches always seems to narrowly escape capture and arrest. Taking Selina’s advice to “go big,” Batman seems to thoroughly enjoy his night with Selina, drawing on the charming and mischievous qualities that have defined their time as Parties. The couple share a dance in the middle of the night, and Catwoman is loved by many of the guests by letting go.
Only when the Riddler realizes that someone has been placing GPS trackers around the ship does the night take a turn. Catwoman claims that she and Matches came to steal the yacht blindly, creating a massive fight where “Matches” can fall overboard and return to battle disguised as Batman. Although some of the villains escape capture, others are not so lucky and Batman may lead many of them to the authorities. Matches Malone has always been one of the most entertaining ways for Batman to fight the criminal underworld, adding a stealthy and charming touch to his investigations. The idea that Matches could be how he comes out openly with Catwoman, more aligned with crime, is appealing as it would allow Selina to further cement herself as an independent gamer than if she were married to Batman.
The date is also clearly enlightening for Batman, who talks to Selina after the event and admits that it was a great opportunity to be with Selina in a liberating way. He even jokingly suggests that he might put on Matches’ outfit again in the future for nights on the town with Selina, potentially making Matches Malone the identity of Batman’s ultimate date night. It’s a perfect way for Batman to avoid unnecessary scrutiny, keep some pressure off of Catwoman, and even serve as an outlet that Batman has long needed. This could be the perfect way for Bruce and Selina to have a romance that is not defined by Batman, and allow the two heroes to have as close to normal as they can ever be.
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