The Gotham War is about family.
The conflict between Batman and Catwoman has severed the connection between Bruce and Selina, perhaps forever. In particular, it's also driven a wedge between the Dark Knight (who is battling his own demons) and the rest of the Bat Family, many of whom - particularly Red Hood - are leaning towards Catwoman's point of view. And in a page from this week's Catwoman #57, Bruce rages in despair in front of his parents' grave at having lost his ancestral home, which is now in the hands of an old enemy.
But it's also about another, different family, as the new issue reveals in a final page twist. Spoilers ahead...
For the most part we've seen The Gotham War through Bruce Wayne's eyes so far. Catwoman #57 (written by Tini Howard and drawn by Nico Leon) changes that, giving us more time with Selina and more insight into how she's feeling about all this.
We learn that she's been keeping tabs on Batman and training her new army (or "thieves guild" as she refers to them here) to prepare for his attacks, but it seems that she's not given up on Bruce just yet. She knows him well enough to understand that something is wrong with him.
The person she confides all this to is Marquise, her lieutenant, who has been slowly growing in prominence over the last few months. Most of Marquise's scenes in the previous Gotham War issues have been spent encouraging Selina to be more uncompromising, particularly when it comes to Batman - and now we know why.
As we discovered at the end of Batman #137 Wayne Manor is now owned by supervillain Vandal Savage. On the final page of Catwoman #57 we learn that Marquise is, in fact, Scandal Savage - Vandal's daughter, who has been "embedded" with Selina Kyle for months now.
In our world, Scandal was created by Gail Simone and Dale Eaglesham. A member of the Secret Six, she first appeared in 2005's Villains United miniseries and was last seen in the New 52 era, proposing to her partners Knockout and Liana, before they were all defeated by a group of DC heroes.
"I'm not happy about helping you," Marquise/Scandal says to Vandal in the new issue. "You've attacked me, betrayed me, almost killed me, my woman... and my new team."
That suggests that, while she is clearly operating undercover for Vandal, Scandal is also in some ways sincere about working with Catwoman and her allies. The reference to "my woman" feels pointed too. Is that Liana or Knockout? Or someone else entirely?
Whatever the case, her loyalties are now abundantly clear. This war is about family and, for the moment at least, Scandal Savage is standing with her dad.
Catwoman #57 is out now from DC Comics.
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