CATWOMAN CLAWS HER WAY INTO DC COMICS HISTORY WITH 80 YEARS IN THIS CELEBRATORY 100-PAGE SPECTACULAR ANNIVERSARY ISSUE
“Skin The Cat”
This Catwoman Spectacular begins with a story written by Paul Dini and naturally has a very “Batman the Animated Series” feel to it. Selina Kyle has long been known as a Feline loving ferocious Cat burglar turned anti-hero and that has never been as apparent as it was in this story. Let’s dive in…..
Selina Kyle, after years of searching, has found the hideout of her most heinous villain, a man that has been abducting her Feline friends from around the world. Lions and Pumas and Tigers have disappeared and she will not stand for such an injustice. She is able to track down where they could’ve been taken and finds them in the most precarious of situations. Her beautiful big cats have not only been captured but have been killed and stuffed and she’s the next to be preserved by “The Taxidermist”!! Crazy villain name, I know, but somehow it fits with the theme of Catwoman and the larger Dini-verse. This is definitely a great story to start off our journey to celebrate Catwoman. The story ends with Catwoman outsmarting her villain and her feisty friends taking revenge for their species, pretty fitting if you ask me.
“Now You See Me”
There is no better feeling than watching someone get their just desserts and that is exactly what happens in this inspiring story written by Ann Nocenti. One of the best parts of this story was getting to see the iconic Tim Burton’s: Batman Returns costume makes an appearance along with a secret surprise cameo of Penguin. Other notable moments were…. well let’s get into the story and you’ll find out.
Here we see what appears to be Catwoman craftily hiding a stolen item for pick up at a later date. She is seen by a security camera….. I know what you’re thinking, “Catwoman would be too smart to not notice a camera on her” and you’re right 😉 One of the security guards notices that she was hiding something and tries to help himself to a quick score and it couldn’t end up worse for him as Selina Kyle doesn’t dance with Crooked Cops. This story shows off just how smart and dangerous Catwoman is as she set up this cat and mouse game. We later learn that things haven’t been what they seemed as Catwoman’s real prize that night wasn’t in the bag she hid she was after bigger things she was trying to rob the security guard of his pride which ultimately led to his demise. There is a beautiful lesson here boys and girls….. don’t let your pride get the best of you and don’t mess with this kitty, you’ll get the claws.
This next story is one that I’ve personally been waiting for since the end of Tom King’s Batman Run. Tom King and Mikel Janin team up again in this beautiful story which seems to either be a continuation of the Batman run or a prequel to Kings Batman Catwoman Maxi-series. “Helena” is the story of Catwoman coping with her pregnancy and spoiler alert it ends with someone having pulled the greatest heist in history on Catwoman herself….. let’s begin.
Catwoman is pregnant and is struggling not only with what this means for Selina Kyle but also with what this means for Catwoman. This story does a fantastic job of capturing the humanity in the character of Catwoman by posing a great question… Can this cat that once roamed free learn to love being an indoor cat? The short answer is yes ❤️
The artwork and storyline behind this short story are, simply put, adorable, and fantastic. You get to see such panels as Catwoman and Batman facing the likes of Joker, Riddler, and Two-face among others while Catwoman is very pregnant and her belly is showing in her latex costume. You learn about the “Batbucket” which is just a bucket with a Bat-symbol on it that batman had installed in the batmobile for the months that morning sickness kicks in. Everything in this story is designed with the sole purpose of seeing Catwoman’s life evolve from a solo act that comes around only when she wants, in true feline fashion, to Mother that sees the value in sticking around for her kitten.
I believe I promised you a theft at the beginning of the review…….. the theft was Helena Wayne making her Catwoman mother proud by stealing Selina’s Heart ❤️ ❤️ ❤️
“The Catwoman of Earth”
Our very own Selina Kyle has made her way through the ages of DC Comics’ long history. “Catwoman of Earth” pays homage to a time of wonder and imagination of the unknown. But more importantly a change in perspective of what female characters are capable of. Illustrated in her 1960s costume and timeline we get to see a style of art we have not seen in a while. That sets the pace of her current story. With Batman off fighting crime elsewhere, we find Catwoman making her way out with a big score from the city science fair; when suddenly visitors from another planet hear a message being transmitted by the overseeing scientist of the fair.
By now we all know most visitors from outer space are not always the friendliest of the bunch. And the city soon learns this is the case. The alien visitors are there to eventually conquer the planet and make the inhabitants their slaves. Catwoman is not up for those options at all; especially after learning the females of their planet are meant to be seen not heard. Selina Kyle does not take this lightly and steps into action. Taking each of the male alien foes down one by one.
Now Catwoman defending the weak is not uncommon for her. Not evil by any means, she’s a thief more than anything else, but she doesn’t like it when bullies try and wreak havoc on her turf. She is a person that can easily change her mind whenever she sees fit. And the biggest takeaway from the story has always been the symbol she has become for all women. Catwoman can hang with the best of them any day of the week and is not there to be seen not heard. So beating up some aliens to add to that point is totally in her wheelhouse lol. Our cat has become an icon to all fans alike. – Ed
“A Cat of Nine Tales”
What’s better than Catwoman snagging the biggest diamond in the world and getting away with it with ease?… Well, I’d say a Catwoman that gets caught red-handed and can squeeze her way out of any situation with grace, ease, and a tiny bit of fear. I really enjoyed “A Cat of Nine Tales” it showed our favorite thief caught in a bind. And she couldn’t have been more in control of the situation. The guard on duty attempting to stop the crime is now face to face with Catwoman, and by this time he knows all the stories of the feline that can go toe to toe with Batman and fear her wrath. But he stands his ground and for that, she tells some stories of her own.
Each story she tells gives him a scenario of how this altercation could go down. Ranging from her easily subduing the guard and getting away with the goods to him potentially shooting her and paying the price for his miscalculation. The tales she weaves are none far from the truth either. Throughout the years we have glimpsed the many ways Catwoman can easily commit a crime and succeed. Whether it is by her great timing and luck, to her savagery to anyone who dares cross her. She is capable of anything the world throws at her.
This shows the many reasons why the Catwoman has withstood the test of time. She can do whatever is necessary to continue her reign. Proving her Intelligence, cunning, strength can best anyone. Selina Kyle keeps us on our toes when shes involved, we don’t know which Catwoman we’re getting and that type of character will always bring us joy to read. – Ed
For all the stories I’ve had the pleasure of reading of Catwoman her history has usually been one of pain and struggle. Growing up on the streets for most of her life the Selina we know has been hardened by the mean streets of Gotham, doing what she must to survive. But every now and then we get a glimpse of some happier moments she keeps locked tight in her vault. “Little Bird” shows us this spec of time when young Selina had a chance at a good life.
Set in the era of the amazing story arc BATMAN: YEAR ONE. We get that gorgeous dark look of Frank Millers Gotham (One of my favorites). Selina has stolen a Jewish heirloom called a Mezuzah a priceless artifact in history. We learn that Selina was promised this heirloom by her foster mother many years ago, but of course, had a falling out with her due to her nature. Her caretaker is now on her death bed all alone. Selina becomes torn after a visit from Batman inquiring why she would steal it, though she doesn’t admit to the crime.
Catwoman now realizes what she needs to do. She brings the Mezuzah to her foster mother to be buried with her. Selina bears no ill-will to the strong woman that attempted to give her a good life, its because of moments like these that our Catwoman has the capacity to care and didn’t become an insane costume criminal of Gotham as well. Another amazing example of the many facets Catwoman has gained throughout her 80 years.
“Born To Kiln”
Born to Kiln brings us back to the 1990s Catwoman in an attempt to steal an eight-carat emerald. Unfortunately for the feline fatale, someone is two steps ahead of her and she is met by none other than Clayface who is also there to steal this eight-carat emerald. A small tussle ensues between the two individuals in which Catwoman, like all cats do, lands on her feet. Victoriously.
Unfortunately for me, this short story isn’t that thrilling or very much exiting, to say the least. The artwork itself is a bit wonky on some panels which makes Catwoman look severely disproportionate depending on the angle the drawn in. With this 90s costume being one of my favorite Catwoman costumes, its a tad unfortunate it wasn’t given its proper due. The story also falls a bit short and it felt like a shorty story that was just thrown in for the sake of hitting that 100-page goal.
On the flip side, Conventional Wisdom is my favorite story out of the three stories I am personally reviewing. Not only is the title of this story a full-on wordplay. The fact that we have Selina Kyle, Batman and many other Gotham villains as convention celebrities doing signing were great. The story does a great job of bringing in the Catwoman facts throughout all her iterations throughout the years. So while it serves as a short story, it’s also a character deep dive.
Having Selina trying to figure out how the mystery that’s going on and how nothing is making sense was great too. Watching her piece all those things together to eventually break out of Doctor Destiny’s reality-warping control was great too. I see Doctor Destiny has been getting some love as of late in DC and I can only applaud that.
This story was great and as I said before, it’s definitely my favorite story out of the three I’m reviewing in this piece. To make this story even better, this story connects to a previous story on this anniversary issue as well. Add the fourth wall break, self-awareness in the story too and it gets as comic booky as it can possibly get and I couldn’t have asked for more.
PS: Let’s make BatCon a thing….after Covid_19 is done and dealt with of course!
“Addicted To trouble”
Selina Kyle is addicted to trouble. And this statement or should I say the title of this story truly exemplifies the most basic character trait of Selina Kyle/Catwoman. She is literally addicted to trouble and no matter how much she tries to change her ways, just like in this story, she always finds her way home. Addicted to Trouble was another solid entry in this anniversary issue. Tying in a couple of plot points to previous stories (like The Wedding).
The best thing about the story was seeing Selina Kyle be Selina Kyle. She’s feisty, classy but also fierce and takes no s*** from anyone. Plus she can hold her own as she’s proven throughout the years. It’s very evident that these dudes at the bar have no knowledge of who Selina Kyle is. Sadly they learned the hard way.
By the end of the story, Selina Kyle finds herself back home in Gotham City. This time she decides she truly wants to lay low or so its implied, but cats are curious and once again, Catwoman can’t escape trouble. The great thing is that this sets up a future story-arc that will be expanded upon in Catwoman #25.
This week alongside this anniversary issue, Catwoman #22 was also released so this short story is a perfect segue to what’s to come.
“The Art of Picking A Lock”
The final story of this Catwoman celebration written by Ed Brubaker highlighted a part of Selina Kyle’s history that we haven’t yet heard of. Selena Kyle was locked up in juvenile detention at the young age of 12. It was there that she met her first crush and also learned what it was like to be caged. Selina and her crush, Paul, were caught kissing… her punishment was solitary confinement while his punishment was doled out by the other boys. Paul was beaten very badly, Selina tried to pick the lock, she tried to escape solitary and see him but he was sent home before Selina would be let out of solitary.
Selina would never see Paul again but she would see the inside of Solitary a few more times until she finally learned to pick that lock, from that moment forward she could never be “caged“ again.
Through her subconscious telling of the story Selina was also in the process of fighting off the Joker’s henchmen, she was looking for someone. In the end, the person that Catwoman was looking for was Detective Slam Bradley and she found him locked in the trunk of a cab in Gotham Harbor she dove into the water and rescued Bradley …… Good thing she knew how to pick a lock 😉