As Batman / Catwoman reveals a possible future for Gotham City, a dynamic Earth-2 duo has been reinvented for the better.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Batman / Catwoman # 3, by Tom King, Clay Mann, Tomeu Morey and Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
With Batman / CatwomanThe story is set in three different timelines in Gotham City, the DC Black Label maxi-series has shown a possible future in which the daughter of Batman and Catwoman, Helena Wayne, inherited the mantle of the Dark Knight from her father to keep to Gotham safe after his death. And while Helena and her mother have grown apart, especially with Selina Kyle who recently used lethal force against a familiar foe, this new generation’s Caped Crusade is not alone in its crime-fighting crusade. And in addition to reintroducing Helena to modern readers, Batman / Catwoman has enhanced an Earth-2 superhero partnership by reimagining Helena’s dynamic with the original Boy Wonder Dick Grayson.
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In this alternate future, Grayson has become the last commissioner of the Gotham City Police Department, with his own Bat-Signal to summon Helena when she needs his help on the job. While Grayson was always significantly younger than his father, the former Nightwing takes on a more fatherly role for Helena as the two crime fighters contemplate the implications of the Joker’s murder. Wearing a trench coat like the one his predecessor Jim Gordon wore decades earlier, Dick is aware that Helena has followed in her father’s footsteps to become the new Batwoman, tacitly approving her to embrace her superhero destiny as the two work together.
On Earth-2, prior to the reality-altering events of Crisis on Infinite EarthsDick and Helena had a considerably different and far less age-appropriate relationship. In this world, Dick never had a severe fight with his mentor Bruce Wayne, and thus never removed Robin’s mantle to develop his own superhero identity. After college, Dick became a lawyer and eventually an American ambassador to South Africa before returning to Gotham as a member of the Justice Society of America after Batman’s retirement, while Helena Wayne developed her own superhero identity. like the Huntress.
During the time they worked together, Dick developed romantic feelings for Huntress but, because he was more than two decades older than her and had helped Bruce and Selina raise her, Dick never acted wisely on these feelings. Instead, the former Boy Wonder spent more time outside of Gotham to process his feelings, unaware that Helena was secretly in love with him, though similarly never acted on due to the age difference and family nature of their relationship. While Earth-2 has not been explored in the DC Rebirth era, the DC Multiverse reborn in the crossover event. Dark Nights: Death Metal, which fully restores all past stories, suggests that some iteration of this world from the Golden Age has also been restored.
There is a passing reference to Helena in this alternate future timeline that she is in a serious same-sex relationship and there is no indication that she and Dick have secret romantic feelings for each other. As a dynamic that has been reestablished as familiar at best and professional at least, this is a welcome change in the relationship the two crime fighters shared on Earth-2.
While superheroes have been known to lead complicated and convoluted romantic lives, one of the most questionable elements of the Golden Age DC Universe has been discarded as it helped Helena emerge from her father’s shadow to become her own. superhero while updating the character for modern sensibilities. Just because Dick and Helena fight crime together, thankfully that doesn’t mean they have to get romantically involved, and it’s something that Batman / Catwoman it underlines in a subtly beautiful way.
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