The following contains major spoilers for Catwoman #56, on sale now from DC Comics.
Of all the complicated relationships in the DC Universe, few have more layers to them than the romance between Batman and Catwoman. While their love has long suffered from the differences between them, nothing has ever been able to truly tear them apart. Unfortunately, Catwoman's plan to save Gotham City through organized crime might very well be the things that does — especially since it all hinges on the Dark Knight letting her get away with it.
With Black Mask working against her ever-expanding operation in Gotham City, the titular anti-villain of Catwoman #56 (by Tini Howard, Marcus To, Marco Santucci, M.L. Sanapo, Veronica Gandini, and Lucas Gattoni) races to fight back against her newly minted rival. Catwoman isn't quick enough to keep Black Mask and his goons from firebombing one of the many locations under her protection. But she's more than capable of beating him down after the fact. Making a point to Gotham's other criminals that the city was hers was never going to be a problem for Selina Kyle. The problem is convincing Batman to let her keep it long enough to make a difference, and Catwoman already knows how poorly that conversation is bound to go.
How Catwoman Plans to Cure Gotham City With Organized Crime
Over the past few months, Selina has made it her mission to clean up Gotham City in the only way she knows how. As someone who's been on the wrong side of the law for nearly her entire life, Catwoman is acutely aware of how the criminal underworld works. At that rate, it only made sense for her to dismantle the operations that were working against her interests, leaving behind only those who could be persuaded to go along with her vision of a bloodless Gotham. Though Selina's efforts have been successful so far, she's acutely aware of how connected Gotham's justice system is, especially when it comes to its Caped Crusaders.
No matter how many dirty cops or costumed criminals Selina and her crew tear take down, the only way they'll make genuinely lasting change is by keeping a firm grasp over those very same enemies. At this point, even Black Mask knows he can't beat Catwoman, nor can anyone else who lives in their usual territory. However, there's one hero Selina can't sink her claws into so easily, and the thought of him buying into what Catwoman has been selling is almost incomprehensible.
Why Batman Will Never Let Catwoman Save Gotham Her Way
As sound as Catwoman's plans for a bloodless Gotham are, Batman will never go along with them. Under the best of circumstances, he would end up abetting every crime Catwoman or any other organized player in the Gotham's underground committed by way of noninterference. At worst, he would have to reconcile the idea that every criminal he stopped was somehow an extension of the woman he loves. Even if crime in Gotham was effectively reined in to only the nonviolent, or at least nonlethal variety, Batman can't let crime go on if he knows who's behind it.
Despite being a genius, Bruce Wayne has never been great at confronting anything that clashes with his own preconceived worldview without violence. Bruce has rarely considered reshaping Gotham from within its existing systems like Selina has — let alone putting any effort into examining what it would take to do so. This isn't to say efforts like the Wayne Foundation haven't made great strides in healing Gotham from the ground up, but even they only scratch the surface of the city's most endemic problems. What Catwoman has in mind could be exactly what Gotham has needed all along. Tragically, she'll never get to see it all come together so long as Batman is standing in her way.