As Catwoman fixed her gown and wrote her vows, she grimly realized that she had to break her groom. Or else, Batman would’ve died at their altar.
The Dark Knight has overcome every villain or monstrosity that’s dared to step out into the night. With nothing but his wits and his will, he brought hope to a hopeless Gotham, shepherded humanity through world-ending threats, and fought back the tides of several multiversal collapses. The mythic hero is revered as a man apart in the pantheon of superheroes because he, more than any other hero that ever was, can find hope in even the blackest of horrors. But marriage would’ve killed him.
Batman would not’ve died by the hand of the Joker, Ra’s Al-Ghul, or any other of Arkham’s regulars. No, Batman would’ve died in the arms of Selina Kyle because Bruce Wayne was happy.
Catwoman had no choice but to do what she did in Batman #50. She knows the horrors of crime alley. She knows of the screams, the gunshots and the boy left alone, drenched in the blood of his parents. She knows the unbreakable man the boy became and has borne witness to many of his fabled feats, but she knows he would always need the horrors. Batman needs the pain to wear the cowl and if Selina Kyle were to give Bruce Wayne peace, he’d never wage his crusade as the Dark Knight. And so, Catwoman knew she had to leave him with yet another scar to fuel his destiny. Her decision was heart-wrenching and achingly cruel, but tragically obvious – to the both of them.
Bruce realizes that Batman was the only one to walk out of crime alley the night his parents died. Catwoman’s pre-marital epiphany was a truth he learned about himself long ago. And so, despite all that he’s done, despite all the villains, gods and monsters he’s vanquished, this one, tragically human task will forever be out his reach. This is the central tragedy that every Batman story is founded upon.
But how did he realize this? What does he do with this knowledge? And how does the Bat carry on from here? Well, he discovered this abyss within himself the same way any man does, by reflecting on his dating history…