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Darwyn Cooke’s rendition of Selina Kyle, from Selina’s Big Score.

By Timothy J. Forbes

This is the version of Catwoman that I was introduced to.

And this is the comic that has shown, more than anything else, how much a character can change. More than any other Bat-villain, Catwoman has undergone a radical transformation. The changes were en route as early as 1992, in Batman Returns, when the Michelle Pfeiffer Catwoman goes after Max Schreck (played by Christopher Walken), for his wrongdoing.

But it was the inner conflict Catwoman/Selina Kyle endured in the second series that led to the “end” in 2001. Her transformation came, ironically, around the time of the attacks on 11 September 2001 in New York, western Pennsylvania and Washington, DC. And the change in Catwoman’s character seemed to be most appropriate. Never, in Batman’s universe, had a character changed so radically as did Selina Kyle.

And the third series showed her development as a defender of the less-fortunate in Gotham City’s East End. The book Selina’s Big Score, which was used as a transition between the second and third comic book series, described the hard lessons Selina learned. The first issues of the new comic, which continued a story line begun in Detective Comics, showed Catwoman battling a nemesis, in much the same manner as Batman would.

The comic also acquired a life all its own by using characters special to the Cat World:

  • Holly Robinson: A friend of Selina’s from way back.
  • Slam Bradley: A detective introduced in Detective Comics way back in the 1930s, long before Batman made his debut there in 1939.

And of course, Batman.

   
Catwoman in Action Comics 804 (on left)
   

Her character has developed to where, in the recent story arc, “War Games,” she herself is wearing a communicator, so that she can communicate with Oracle (the disabled Barbara Gordon). In other words, she has been officially accepted into the Bat “family.” Quite a contrast to her outlaw days. The end of the story arc has her and Batman remaining in Gotham City, while other characters are ending up in other locales.

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