Catwoman

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CHARACTER

Catwoman

As deadly as she is beautiful, infamous cat-burglar Selina Kyle uses her nine lives to walk the razor's edge between light and darkness in Gotham City.

Introduction

First Appearance: Batman #1 (1940)

Aliases: Selina Calabrese (birth name), Selina Kyle (current legal name), the Cat, Irena Dubrovna

 

 

Catwoman is one of the most enduring characters of DC Comics and one of the most famous costumed characters ever to come out of Gotham City. Raised mainly in an orphanage, Selina Kyle learned to steal and hide at a young age, becoming an exceptional thief, athlete and cat burglar. Eventually, she took things a step further by adopting the costumed identity of Catwoman. A skilled expert in combat, acrobatics, deception, and use of a whip, Selina is a formidable criminal and anti-hero. Unlike many other Gotham City criminals, Catwoman steals primarily from mobsters and corrupt business leaders, giving much of her treasures to charities and orphanages, and sometimes actively protects people from more dangerous Gotham inhabitants. Never one to fit neatly into one category, Catwoman plays by her own rules and can adapt to nearly any situation. 

 

Origin

catwoman-origin-BM_01_39-v1.jpg As revealed in the year-long series Batman Eternal (2014-15), Selina Kyle was born Selina Calabrese, daughter of Rex “The Lion” Calabrese, who led the Gotham City crime families for years. Selina was Rex’s “Little Alpha Lioness.” But fearing retribution from his enemies, Rex sent Selina and her brother Aiden to different foster care facilities and then took on the new identity of Leo Leone before being arrested and sent to Blackgate prison.

 

Selina had already learned she had a talent for athletics and martial arts, and kept these up as she grew older. She also learned to survive by becoming an exceptional thief and con artist. At some point, she spent time in a Wayne Foundation orphanage where she met a younger girl named Holly Robinson and came to love her as a sister.

 

In 2016, Catwoman #51-52 revealed that, while in her late teens, Selina had a boyfriend David Franco, a thief who may have been her first romantic love. The two talked about getting enough money to move out of Gotham City and one day stole a credit card from Richard Sionis. They didn’t realize until later that he was a dangerous Gotham City gangster, whose masked henchmen were known as the False Face Society. In retaliation, Richard Sionis threatened to kill the two thieves unless they stole a prized artifact known as the Faceless Mask from Gotham’s Museum of Crime.

 

The two succeeded in the theft, but then David tried to double cross Sionis and was shot for his actions. Sionis gave Selina the opportunity to leave without punishment or debt, remarking that she had done her part and there was no saving David from a fatal wound. When David insisted she leave to protect herself, Selina kissed him goodbye and left. The trauma hardened her in regards to love afterward and she gave up on her plan of moving out of Gotham City.

 

Selina continued to live as a thief in Gotham City, living with young Holly Robinson, whom she met at the orphanage and regarded as a sister. In the story “Zero Year” (Batman vol. 3 #21-33), taking place a few years after Selina encountered Richard Sionis, Gotham City was struck by the masked Red Hood Gang. This strange gang of criminals and killers was then itself targeted by a new masked vigilante called Batman. Other odd menaces and costumed villains appeared and Selina followed suit by adopting the costumed identity of Catwoman. She came to enjoy being chased by Batman on occasion.

 

How their first meeting went is a matter of some debate, as revealed in Batman vol. 3 #14-15 in 2017. Batman claims that the first time they met was when Selina tried to steal a jewel necklace while disguised as a much older woman (which is their actual first historical meeting in the 1940 comic Batman #1). Selina however is certain that some time before that, while she was working for a time as a dominatrix, she met Batman when he was in disguise in Gotham’s lower East Side (which is how they first met according to the 1986 story “Batman: Year One” in Batman vol. 1 #404-407). But whatever the case, the two recognized each other as kindred spirits and it has bonded them ever since.

 

Powers and Abilities

catwoman-powers-BM_Cv12_open_order_var-1-v1.jpg Selina Kyle is a talented athlete with a natural gift for gymnastics and acrobatics. She is able to evade even experienced heroes like Batman and Nightwing during chases across Gotham City rooftops. Along with this, she is a trained martial artist and boxer, which makes her a formidable opponent when combined with her agility and instincts. Though she has some skill with firearms, Selina prefers a whip or fighting sticks if she has to use a weapon, as she is an expert with both and usually doesn’t want to employ lethal tactics.

 

Along with her natural abilities, Catwoman often employs nightvision goggles and claws built into her gloves. Her outfit is bullet resistant and hides a variety of lock picks to help her out when she needs them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Essential Storylines and History

 

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The First Catwoman (1940-1977)

The original version of Selina Kyle and her earliest published adventures were later revealed to occur on the parallel Earth known as Earth-2. This version of Selina, who first appeared in Batman #1 in 1940, eventually renounced her criminal ways and married Bruce Wayne, with the wedding shown in Superman Family #211 in 1981. The two had a daughter named Helena Wayne.

 

This version of Catwoman died in DC Super-Stars #17 in 1977, after which Helena became a costumed crime-fighter called the Huntress.

 

 

Early Adventures (1986-2012)

In the modern version of the DC Universe, some of Selina’s early history as Catwoman is still unexplored territory. Some things that remain relevant are her exploits in aiding Batman against other villains from time to time. It was when she helped him against the villain Hush that the Dark Knight finally trusted her enough to reveal his secret identity to her in the 2002-2003 story “Hush” (Batman vol. 1 #608-619).

 

Catwoman also developed a friendship (though they still clashed from time to time) with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, as depicted in the series Gotham City Sirens which ran from 2009 to 2011. Selina believed that there was more good than bad in both Ivy and Quinn, and hoped that by staying close to them she could encourage this and keep them from being arrested. Eventually, they went their separate ways.

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New 52 (2012-2016)

catwoman-essential3-new52-CTW_Cv1_ds-1-v1.jpg Catwoman’s earliest depicted adventures in the New 52 universe are no longer compatible with the current DC Universe. Likewise, New 52 stories that depict her as a member of a version of the Justice League of America don’t seem to work with current canon. But certain New 52 adventures seem to have remained intact, such as her clashes with Carmen “The Roman” Falcone, a crime lord who took Rex Calabrese’s seat of power in Gotham. After Falcone kidnapped and nearly killed her, Catwoman attempted to kill him in revenge but was stopped by Batman in Batman Eternal #9-10 in 2014.

 

During the year-long series Batman Eternal (2014-15), Rex Calabrese summoned Selina for a reunion. Despite Selina’s anger towards him, Rex argued that the new gang wars in Gotham could only be quelled if she took over the family business and used her power to bring together the Gotham’s crime families. After witnessing a young girl be killed in gang crossfire, Selena decided to accept the role and reunited with the Calabrese family. No longer acting as Catwoman, Selina used her new role as head of her crime family to keep some order among Gotham City’s gangs, while also secretly sabotaging certain criminal operations. In her mind, this was all working towards a greater a good.

 

In Catwoman vol. 4 #35-40, Selina learned that Eiko Hasigawa, daughter of a rival mobster, had taken it on herself to become the new Catwoman. Selina was initially against this, but came to admire Eiko and even develop romantic feelings for her. On occasion though, Selina still donned her old suit, such as when she investigated reports that Batman had died while fighting the Joker. After a few months of doing what she could and suffering losses, Selina stepped away from leadership of the crime family and returned to her old role as Catwoman. Around the same time, Eiko’s father was killed for being connected to the new Catwoman, and she killed several of Gotham’s crime family leaders in revenge. Eiko then left Gotham and her time as the new Catwoman behind her

 

Years later, after Richard Sionis’ death, Catwoman discovered that David had secretly agreed to take over Sionis’ business operations in Europe, under the identity of White Mask. To aid in this, he decided to cut off ties with Gotham and Selina by faking his own death in front of her. With Richard gone, his son Roman Sionis AKA Black Mask decided that he didn’t need White Mask alive as a possible rival. Despite David’s pleas, Catwoman left him to Black Mask, declaring that her boyfriend David had died years ago already.

 

 

REBIRTH (2016-Present)

catwoman-essential4-rebirth-BM_Cv50_011-1-v1.jpg We next saw Selina Kyle in the story “I am Suicide” shown in Batman vol. 3 #9-13 in 2016. Months after leaving behind her role as a crime boss, she was now incarcerated and scheduled to be executed for the murder of 237 people. Batman himself had brought her to the police, but believed she was innocent. After her conviction, he arranged for Catwoman to join a Suicide Squad mission in exchange for her death penalty being altered to a life sentence without parole.

 

In Batman vol. 3 #14-15 in 2017, it was revealed that Selina had taken the blame for these murders in order to protect the real killer Holly Robinson. A terrorist group called the Dogs of War had bombed their old orphanage, killing 163 children living there at the time, along with seven teachers and the janitor. Holly became consumed with vengeance and hunted down every single member of the Dogs of War organization. Realizing this, Selina had refused to let her suffer any further by going to prison or getting the death penalty.

 

Following her work with the Suicide Squad, Selina’s sentence was altered to life without parole. But after spending one night of freedom with Batman where the two finally admitted and gave into their romantic feelings for each other, she escaped rather than return to prison.

 

Recently, Batman was inspired to pursue some form of happiness for himself and proposed marriage to Selina. Hesitant at first, she has accepted the proposal in Batman vol. 3 #32 in 2017.

 

catwoman-essential4-rebirth-CATW_Cv1-v1.jpg In one version of the DC Universe, Catwoman had a sister named Maggie rather than a brother, and her real name really was Kyle. This version of Selina eventually had a child named Helena, the result of a one-night romantic encounter with her friend Sam Bradley Jr. Deciding to focus for a while on being a mother, Selina temporarily let Holly Robinson adopt her costumed role. Later on, she decided her life was too dangerous and she returned to the Catwoman identity while asking Bruce Wayne to send her child to a family that would love her and keep her safe. These events, however, did not happen in the current version of the DC Universe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Team Affiliations

• Task Force X “Suicide Squad”

• Gotham Sirens

Appearances in Other Media

Movies

GUEST APPEARANCES/CAMEOS

 

Live Action:

  • • Batman (1966)
  • • Batman Returns
  • • Catwoman (This version of Catwoman has an entirely different origin, backstory and identity)
  • • The Dark Knight Rises

 

Animation:

  • • Batman: The Dark Knight Returns
  • • Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders
  • • Batman: Year One
  • • DC Showcase: Catwoman
  • • The Lego Batman Movie

 

 

Television

GUEST APPEARANCES/CAMEOS

 

Live Action:

  • • Batman
  • • Birds of Prey
  • • Gotham

 

Animation:

  • • The Batman
  • • The Batman/Superman Hour
  • • Batman: The Animated Series
  • • Batman: The Brave and the Bold
  • • DC Nation
  • • DC Super Hero Girls
  • • The New Adventures of Batman
  • • The New Batman Adventures

 

 

Video Games

  • • Batman Returns (NES, SNES 1992)
  • • Batman: Arkham City (PS3, PS4, Wii U, Windows, XBox 360, Xbox One 2011)
  • • Batman: Arkham Origins Blackgate (Nintendo 3DS, PS3, PS Vita, Wii U, Windows, XBox 360 2013)
  • • Batman: Arkham Knight (PS4, Windows, XBox One 2015)
  • • Batman: Arkham Underworld (Android, iOs 2016)
  • • Batman: The Brave and the Bold – The Video Game (Wii, Nintendo DS 2010)
  • • Batman: The Tell-Tale Game (Android, iOs, Mac, PS4, Windows, XBox One 2016)
  • • Batman: The Enemy Within (Android, iOs, Mac, PS4, Windows, XBox One 2017)
  • • Catwoman (Gameboy Color 1999)
  • • Catwoman (Gameboy Advance, Gameboy Cube, Mac, PS2, Windows, XBox 2004)
  • • DC Universe Online (PS3, PS4, Windows, XBox One 2011)
  • • Infinite Crisis (Windows 2015)
  • • Injustice: Gods Among Us (Andoid, iOS, Nintendo 3DS, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Wii U, Windows, XBox 360 2013)
  • • Injustice 2 (Android, iOS, PS4, Windows, XBox One 2017)
  • • Lego Batman (Nintendo DS, Mac, PS2, PS3, PS Portable, Windows, XBox 360 2008)
  • • Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes (Android, iOS, Mac, Nintendo 3DS, PS3, PS Vita, Wii U, Windows, XBox 360 2012)
  • • Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (Android, iOS, Mac, Nintendo 3DS, PS3, PS4, PS Vita, Wii U, Windows, XBox 360, XBox One 2014)
  • • Lego Dimensions (PS3, PS4, Wii U, XBox 360, XBox One 2015)
  • • Mortal Kombat VS DC Universe (PS3, XBox 360 2008)
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Radio Drama

  • • Batman: The Lazarus Syndrome