Weddings have come and gone in the comics universe, at times forgotten by even those involved as the multiverse spins, changing history, rewriting stories. Rarely has a wedding been more polarizing and affected more characters as deeply as the upcoming marriage of Batman and Catwoman.
Exploring how major supporting characters, both hero and villain, deal with the reality of these two star-crossed lovers intertwining their lives publicly is a reflection of what many friends and relations go through at these moments. Weddings can often bring people together and have them re-examine where they are in their own lives and relationships. Sociopathic trickster villains and becowled vigilantes are no exception.
From the cover, I was really concerned that this was going to be Riddler mocking Batgirl for not having a steady relationship, trying to twist her into believing that she would, in fact, die alone. The same nightmares that plague cops and their families must affect vigilante heroes. Why wouldn’t Barbara be afraid of dying without a partner to share her life with? But why would the Riddler, of all people, go after her for that?
Writer Tim Seeley has put together a nice, tight adventure for Batgirl, centered around the upcoming nuptials. Riddler begins with a kidnapping and a walkman, leading Batgirl on a chase throughout the Burnside neighborhood of Gotham to save people associated with weddings, all the while sounding like a creepy Tinder match who fits the “nice guy” persona to a tee. There’s even a flashback pic of Nygma in a fedora. While the riddles and traps are standard Riddler fare, the real examination comes from the rest of his comments and musings on the tapes. Even when he is finally confronted, he cannot bring himself to speak directly to Batgirl, continuing to confront her through his taped remarks.
Artist Minkyu Jung has brought her A game into this issue, bringing together the gothic elements of old Gotham with a new, Brooklyn-esque look to the neighborhood in her backgrounds and getting great detail from the expressions of Batgirl and Riddler both. Seeley has snuck some really clever things into the mix, making the reader question what he will do next in his pursuit on potential companionship. Between his truly unnerving thought process towards life and love to the shirt unbuttoned to his waist (LPT: Don’t.), Riddler ups the creep factor pretty high, making other masked vigilantes seem like a completely viable option for love.
Speaking of creepy love, the final page should lead nicely into the conclusion of the Preludes and to the wedding itself. #nospoilers