Batman has always largely been defined by the people around him – both the ones that love him and the ones that hate him, and one of the most important people in either group is and always has been Catwoman. Selina has always been one of Bruce’s better rivals and his most constant romantic interest, playing the latter role off and on in the comics for the past forty-some-odd years, and in Batman Annual #2, Tom King, Lee Weeks and Michael Lark get to put their own spin on the classic Kiss-Slap-Kiss romance.
Exploring the story of The Bat and The Cat’s earliest encounters, in a time before the Batmobile was even named and the cat-and mouse game that makes up a big part of their dynamic, Annual #2 is phenomenal. It’s very rare that Batman is allowed to be vulnerable in any aspect for more than a moment – and this story not only allows him to be, but it is awash in that vulnerability. From the emotional vulnerability displayed at the first half of the story, in which he opens up to Selina for the first time about his childhood tragedy to the physical and mental vulnerability shown when King depicts the couple in their later years, it’s such a breath of fresh air to see Bruce Wayne with the varnish that is Batman stripped away, especially in the midst of DC’s Metal event.