As previously stated in my first contribution to this series, I was overwhelmed with guilt today and found the only means of penance was to drive immediately to my local comic store and snarf up a ton of comics featuring my old favourites to see how they were faring, as it had been many months since I last checked in with them. I picked up as wide a selection as my budget would allow, trying to make sure I left no one of vital importance with their latest pleas for recognition hanging in the wind. Out of the whole stack, the one I couldn't wait to open the most was Catwoman.
I have always loved Catwoman. I love her for not playing the game, not choosing sides, for refusing to be defined. I love her nifty suit, her shifty intelligence, and her..well...catlike agility. I love her independence most of all. Imagine my surprise, therefore, to hear the news: Catwoman has a kid! I mean...how? Why? WTF?
Now, this may not be news to those of you who are better at keeping up with our mutual friend than I am, but it sort of blew my mind, and at the same time it certainly puts a new twist on the character. I mean, just how the hell can you be a treacherous, self-interested, femme fatale (she still looks great, by the way...must have worked out every damned day of her pregnancy) with a kid in tow? That seems to be just the question that this comic tries to answer.
In #68, Catwoman finds herself pitted against old enemies Sickle and Hammer, and unfortunately for her they know she has a kid, and where that kid is located. I don't know if it will work for everyone, but for me, a 31-year old ex-gothgirl with a trifle more independent spirit than considered strictly kosher and a kid of my own...well, damn. What can I say? It totally got me.
When she realized they are going after her kid, Catwoman drops everything and runs to get there first. She fails, of course, and what follows may well be one of the niftiest little fight scenes I have ever encountered, as she struggles with how to beat the Bad Guys while they are holding her kid...culminating with a lovely scene of Catwoman hanging by her whip fifteen stories off the ground in the pouring rain, holding her baby in her arms and crooning "Mommy's got you". It may be trite, but it is strangely touching at the same time.
Honestly, the writing in this issue, by Will Pfeifer, is not that impressive. I mean, the idea is enough to suck me in, but it really could have been done better, and the dialogue is by and large pretty cheesy. The artwork, likewise, pencilled by David Lopez, is not extraordinary in the slightest. The ideas, though, are worth exploring, both Catwoman's transformation into a character with some serious priority issues to work through and her sudden vulnerability and sense of indebtedness to a slew of folks she clearly thought she would never owe a damn thing to. Yep, parenthood changes and humbles you, and being able to get through it while maintaining superhuman dimensions does not free you from that transition. It is both an obvious weakness and a hidden resource for strength.
Now, the question that kept recurring to me while reading through this comic is how Catwoman's new maternal status effects her ability to win in the timeless debate of "Catwoman vs. X". Catwoman's obvious strengths have always been her agility and nefariousness, and while pregnancy hasn't effected the former, it definitely throws a kink in the latter. You just can't seduce and backstab every potential threat when you have a kid in arms. Furthermore, life takes on a deeper meaning, and you're just not going to throw it away because some do-gooder got in the way of your latest get-rich-quick scheme. Today's Catwoman is not the same as she used to be. Like Spiderman, she is growing up...but where he seems to be recognizing and dealing with the darker aspects of self, Catwoman, conversely, has been forced into the position of dealing with the fact that there is something worth loving and protecting in the world. Ultimately, I have to conclude that if the kid was stashed away somewhere completely safe, Catwoman is still a contender. She may be a little more careful, but she also has more to fight for, and seeing as there doesn't appear to be a Dad for that kid hanging around at home, I don't think she has changed so much that she wouldn't use every wile she could to get her way. She still kicks ass with a whip, and has plenty more unappealing gadgets to take over when that isn't quite enough. Sadly, though, if the kid is in question I think we have to count Catwoman out of the running. The kid is a distraction, as clearly evidenced in this comic, and while she managed to pull it out this time it was a close thing. Each next time might be her undoing.
My Superhero Is Better Than Your Superhero Series
Check the "superbattle2007" tag for everything in this series
Spiderman: It would be a hard battle, but ultimately I think Catwoman is going to come out on top in this. Spiderman may be dealing with the dark, but Catwoman can see in it. Even if the kid's there...like Spidey is going to threaten a kid? With fairly matched agility, it's going to be Catwoman's willingness to bend the rules which is going to hand this one to her.