Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Comic Book Consideration Special: Catwoman: Nine Lives of a Feline Fatale

    Hello and welcome to a special issue of Comic Book Consideration. This Time we look at the trade Catwoman: Nine lives of a Feline Fatale.

        In 2004 to celebrate the different outfits and adventures of Catowoman/Selina Kyle DC Comics released this trade featuring nine different stories stories from 1940 to 2002. Catwoman is one of the most famous characters to come from the Batman comics. Hero to some and villain to others. She has also played an important role in the Batman universe appearing in both the classic Batman T.V show from the 1960's and it movie. Perhaps her biggest time in the spotlight came in the Early 1990's with Batman Returns where she is played by Michelle Pfeiffer and her iconic Black Skin Suit. Outside of this she has appeared in the animated universe and as a playable character in Batman Arkham City.
        Now that some background on Catwoman has been examined lets turn to the different stories in the trade. The first story deals with the First apparance of Catwoman from Batman #1 from 1940. The plot of the story deals with Bruce Wayne/Batman and Dick Grayson/Robin dealing with Jewelry theft on a Boat. Turns out it is Catwoman know as Cat who they capture. They don't take her to the police and she escapes from them but Batman does not pursue as he feels their is something between them. The next tale comes from Detective Comics 203 from 1954 14 years later. It tells the tale of a reformed Selina Kyle no longer being Catwoman. However, a news paper story of batman triumphing over Catwoman annoys her. She is not able to stay reformed and becomes Catwoman again. She begins a rash of crimes and Robberies. She stays ahead of Batman and manages to escape from him again. The third tale comes from Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #70 and 71. This issue 12 year after the last one in part came due to Catwomen being able to exist again in comics. She had not been used since 1954 sue to her sex appeal and behavior and DC self censored due to conservative American and stop publishing her. Luckily,, for Catwoman the 1966 Batman T.V show and movie came around and made her popular again. The issue begins not with Catwoman causing problems but with the Penguin breaking out of prison. Superman goes of to help Batman. Lois Lane star reporter hits up the Metropolis Bird Sanctuary for clues about this crime. While their a bird knocks her out by dropping a pellet of gas. From than on it becomes a Catwoman story as Catwoman hypnotizes and forces Lois to pretend to be her. Elsewhere the Penguin  is defeated by Batman and Superman. Lois ends up fighting Superman and causes him to think the real Catwoman is Lois too. Using magic at her base the Catacombs she turns Superman into a supercat. Lois and Catwoman fight but it is Batman and Robin who save the day. Lois and Supercat have some adventures. In the end Lana Lang with help from and a wish on a Cat's Paw turns Supercat back into Superman and the story ends.
        The Next tale comes from Batman #197 from December of 1967. Catwoman again with a new suit based on the T.V show appears to be reformed again. She has fallen in love with Batman and by trying to fight crime to get him to love her back. However, with Batgirl in the picture she thinks she has a rival and so tires to forces the issue by kidnapping Batman and Robin. After a fight against Batman she demasks all three only to see special painted masks  preventing her from ffiguringout their who they really are. After this they escape from her trap and arrest her sending her back to Jail with her learning Batgirl is not a rival. A few years later in March of 1969 she appears with another tale from Batman #210. This tale the last of the Pre Crisis on Infinite Earth in the trade looks at Catwoman trying to steal a pearl. The Dynamic Duo stop a robbery by Catwoman gang members. However, it is no what it seems as Catwoman sold the car they were using. She instead targets some female criminals getting out of Prison. Also round this same time a Prince from Kathmandu is visiting with a rare jewel. Catowoman gets the ladies over to her side and plans to use them to trick Batman and Robin. The Prince and the Jewel is being kept safe at Wayne Mayor so Catwoman breaks into it with her decoys. She gets inside and almost steals the Jewel only to be outwitted b Batman and Robin with a fake jewel.
         We leap yet again a number of year to Feb of 1986 and A Catwoman tale set just after the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths event. Batman is fighting some men when Catwoman who is reformed again comes out and helps. The rest of the night is them out on something of a date night but getting interrupted by people doing various bad things to the people of Gotham. Intercut is parts where Harvey Bullock is speaking to Commissioner Gordon trying to convince him Catwoman can help them. This lasts all night until Dawn. Batman comes to visit Gordon and drops off 10 people they stopped during the night. Catwoman comes in with some Pizza and Gordon is happy to accept a new ally. We than move to the two tales from 1998. The First comes from issue 54 of Catwoman's own comic. The issue object relations deals with Catwoman in a outfit of purple and based on Batman Returns has her stealing and returning a diamond.  Over the cause of the issue she takes it several times and the story becomes a day in the life of Catwoman issue. The museum installs better equipment and each time she returns it. The issue ends with her telling the museum she will not steal anymore but that they need to honor a agreement that has been signed or not lessen security or she would do interesting things.  
           The penultimate story of this collection takes us to Batman Gotham Adventures #4 from September of 1998. This Catwoman has the outfit and look from the Batman Animated Series from the 1990's/ Batman is stopping crime when with a whip effect one gang member is taken out. It is from Catwoman. Next Catwoman rescues some cats from illegal testing that was happening to them at a cosmetics company. She than goes after the owner of the company and kidnaps her. Batman with his detective skills tracks her down and reasons with her. However, when the owner kicks a cat it sends Catwoman over the edge and she slashes the face of the person. Batman stops her and she sees that she has crossed the line and flees. In the epilogue she has not see Batman for a year in fear of looking into his eyes and breaking her heart once more. The final story comes from Catwoman Secret Flies # 1 from November of 2002. A Gang leader talks about Catwoman taking out his gang with others. Just than Catwoman in a outfit that looks like her most current one appears. After this it tells information and stories of Catwoman and the different outfits. Intercut is two woman who are cutting the hair of one talking about these stories. It all ends with Catwoman talking money from the mob and meeting up with the girl who had her hair cut. Thus showing Catwoman as something of a anti-hero as she asks her to give the taken money back to its real owners storekeepers in the area.
          Now that the different stories are out of the way let us turn to a special look at the Artwork in the issue. Due to the nature of the artwork in the series and it being nine different stories I'm not going to going over most of it expect for a few things. First, the cover of this trade shows the different looks/outfits of Catwoman over the years. Nine different ones for nine different tales. Seening the change of look of artwork for them is great. Second, for those that like to see sifferent comic styles this is a treat. Their are styles from the 1940s, 1950's, 1960's, 1980's and the 1990's and lastly the early 2000's that show how much D.C Comics has changed over the years in their styles. Next, Between the different stories their are Pinups of different outfits that Catwoman has worn over the years making it a fun way to honor her. With such a different amount of artowrk that for now is all on this section.
          With the plot and artwork out of the way lets turn to the Plus and Minuses of the tade.
- Some great Catwoman stories reflecting how long she has been a part of Batman lore
- The different Pinups are pretty neat and show how Art can make a character shine.
-This one is personal but the A Night on the Town is my favorite story from this trade.


You can tell/feel the sexism roll of the pages of many of the 40, 50's and 60's takes but less of a fault of the trade than of the past.

      In conclusion, Catwoman: Nine Lives of a Feline Fatale tells and sets down a very good collection of Catwoman stories from the Golden Age of Comics and beyond. Rach story shows a different outfit and view of the character. She this trade is long out of print I will not give it a score as its hard to get but I would give it a recommendation.                    

No comments:

Post a Comment