Selina Kyle is Catwoman, a costumed adventurer who's been both a super-hero and super-villain. Beginning her career as a thief and enemy to Batman, she later turned to crime-fighting and became part of the Batman Family. Despite her villainous nature, she works hard to protect the East End of Gotham City.
Selina Kyle's early life was defined by tragedy. When she was just a girl, her brutalized mother Maria committed suicide and her violent father Brian drank himself to death soon after. Selina was separated from her younger sister Maggie when remanded to the Sprang Hall Juvenile Detention Center, an abusive state home for orphaned or delinquent girls. Eventually, she escaped the Center and tried pickpocketing the crowd at a carnival outside Gotham City but failed. She was caught by the man who ran the place and he offered her to join the carnival. Selina agreed and soon she learned the art of contortionism, gymnastics, magic and trickery. Using her new learned skills, Selina also improved her pickpocketing skills. When the owner of the carnival died in a tragic accident, Selina decided to take her chances on the streets of Gotham.
Selina started out as a prostitute working in the East End. She watched over an underage girl named Holly Robinson while working for their abusive pimp Stan. Detective George Flannery sent her to Ted Grant, who taught her how to fight after Stan beat her up. When she saw Batman in action for the first time, he inspired her to become Catwoman. Selina returned the beating Stan gave her and took Holly with her. To distinguish herself, she would claw the faces of her victims starting with Carmine Falcone. Stan kidnapped her sister Maggie Kyle which led to his death when fighting Catwoman. Batman confronted her about this, but she simply kissed him before wounding his chest, allowing her to flee. Holly was left with the nun Maggie to be raised in a convent. Following a distortion of the time stream, Selina's history as a prostitute was erased. She survived on the streets as a petty thief.
Catwoman's status as hero or villain was always fluid. She had her own moral code and had occasionally teamed up with Batman and other heroes against greater threats, even saving the lives of the entire Justice League on one occasion. She represented a gray area in Batman's otherwise black and white life where the line between good and evil blurred, and his attraction to her stemmed from the perception that, in her own way, she's a female version of himself: another dark creature that prowls the night.
Shortly after the Holiday murders, Selina visited the grave of Carmine Falcone where she expressed her belief that she was Falcone's illegitimate daughter, but was unable to find any proof. Around this time, Selina met Falcone's son Mario who would later become head of the Falcone crime family.
The Tin Roof Club
Selina purchased a nightclub for extra income, calling it the Tin Roof Club. When she stole a priceless brooch and hid it with Holly, she began taking heat from other criminals. Upon visiting Holly in New Jersey to collect it, Holly's house exploded. Holly died in Selina's arms. Selina figured out that Holly's husband Arthur killed her so he could keep the brooch. Flannery helped Catwoman frame Holly's husband for murder, and he was sent to prison. Holly's death would later be undone by the aleration to the time stream, erasing this story.
Catman accidentally released a tiger, and Catwoman was blamed for the deaths that resulted. In retaliation, she threw Catman off a roof and assaulted the reporter who accused her. Catwoman was then targeted by the white slave trade. Sarah Essen and Vicki Vale helped her take the slavers down when all three of them were captured.
The disturbed Mister Handsome targeted Catwoman, as he had dedicated his life to destroying beauty. When she was caught, he caged her with a monster as a sick allegory to Beauty and the Beast. However, he was unable to crush her spirit, and she gracefully defeated him.
Selina's neighborhood in Brideshead was taken over by a crimelord named Bracuda. Catwoman investigated his operation, as he had forced all of the legitimate shop-owners out. The corrupt cops on Bracuda's payroll got involved, and it turned into a riot. Catwoman fought Bracuda and forced him to flee, allowing her to take his valuable assets.
After Bane broke Batman's back, he started taking over the Gotham underworld. His henchmen tried to recruit Catwoman and have her work for Bane, but she refused the offer. Bane tried to learn Catwoman's identity, but she had hidden her birth name "Selina Kyle" behind dozens of aliases. Leopold sold her out. Catwoman's apartment was blown up by an assassin targeting Bane. The assassin fled to Santa Prisca, and she followed by hitching a ride on Bruce Wayne's private plane. Leopold told Catwoman that Bane had been defeated by a new Batman. Arizona was taken home by her parents, suffering from amnesia. Catwoman took out the assassin, inadvertently saving Santa Prisca's dictator. The dictator offered her protection, and she made a huge payload saving him from an attempted coup. When she returned to Gotham, she had Leopold killed for betraying her.
After this, Catwoman became involved with a group of activists called The "Friends of the Earth Nature Magic Alliance". Working with them to prevent a terrorist attack, Catwoman stole a deadly toxic agent, which attracted the new Batman's attention. Catwoman realized that this was a different Batman and she tried to get away with the stolen chemicals, but the new Batman followed her all the way to a building in the middle of Gotham, where the police surrounded them, and Catwoman was left to confront them alone. Catwoman managed to escape and tipped off the location of the chemical agent to the police, after which she used Batman to distract the terrorists and claim a victory for her own agenda.
Later, Catwoman tried to steal cybernetic enablers from the corrupt businessman Penn Selkirk. She needed the technology in order to save a friend who was hospitalized and so Catwoman tried to steal from him, but she was captured and taken to his penthouse, where she broke free and tried to learn the truth behind Selkirk’s business, until she was stopped by a manic Batman. Adding to her confusion, a second Batman appeared and challenged the first Batman for the rights to claim the mantle of the bat. The fight of the Batmen was used as a distraction by Selkirk, who tried to escape on his private helicopter, but Catwoman managed to get on the chopper and prevented his escape. The helicopter crashed on top of a bridge and Catwoman was knocked unconscious. She was rescued by Batman and she realized that the real Batman had returned. Together, they rescued Selkirk and his men, but the hood tossed away the neural enabler, forcing Catwoman’s hand. Selina allowed the police to take Selkirk and later, she went looking for the neural enabler at the bottom of the river. She located it and after one final confrontation with Selkirk, she delivered the enabler to the hospital, where it was most needed.
When the Apocalypse Virus broke out in Gotham, Catwoman was hired by the Penguin to track down a survivor named Kendall Stuart. She was forced to team up with Azrael and Robin against a bounty hunter named Tracker. They finally grabbed Stuart, but he was assassinated by the Order of St. Dumas. The group teamed up to find another survivor named Fong, but he killed himself when he met them. Catwoman tracked down the last survivor alone, a student named Leanore We in Miami, and draggged her back to Gotham. It was discovered that survivor blood was useless, but Leanore wanted to help anyway. Catwoman was inspired by this, and stayed to help until a cure is found.
Catwoman was stealing from a mall when the 7.6 earthquake hit. Despite her selfish inclinations, she worked hard to bring everyone to safety. While patrolling the city to stop looters, she met Poison Ivy. Ivy tries to control the vulnerable city with plants, and Catwoman barely managed to stop her.
Trail of the Catwoman
When a job went wrong in Morocco, Selina ran out of money and has to return to Gotham. To build up her funds, she planned a huge heist on a train owned by Frank Falcone. Her accomplices included Falcone's prostitute Chantel, retired gunman Jim Stark, a grifter named Jeff, and her fence Swifty Burgess. Mayor Dickerson hired Slam Bradley to track her down, but Selina convinced him to leave her alone. The heist went bad when Falcone was tipped off, and everybody died except Selina. Slam tried to stop her from escaping with the money, and she shot him in the shoulder before lighting him a cigarette.
Crisis of Conscience
Catwoman further proved herself an ally when she fought alongside Batman and the League against the old Secret Society, of which she had once briefly been a member. Wounded, she was taken to the Batcave to recover. When Despero and a faction of brainwashed League members infiltrated the cave and succeeded in brainwashing Batman, Catwoman was able to send a distress call out to the unaffected League members. After a fierce struggle, Despero was subdued. However, this was something of a hollow victory, since all recognized that Despero was able to pit the JLA members against one another by drawing upon pre-existing animosities and distrust. In response to Batman's inquiry about her wounds, Selina departed the Batcave after curtly informing Batman that he had already "done enough."
Catwoman appeared to be completely reformed for a time and her love for Batman true (although brash and unpredictable). However, it became unclear if her reformation was of her own volition or the result of a mindwipe by Zatanna, a procedure known to deeply affect and, in at least one case, physically incapacitate its victims. Selina had no inkling that any villains had been mindwiped until Batman informed her otherwise, worried that her reformation may be due to mental manipulation.
The One You Love
An influx of supervillains seized control of the East End, leaving Selina with no choice but to join the new incarnation of the Secret Society. While her initial intentions were unclear, Selina shared her plans to infiltrate and destroy the cadre of East End villains with Batman.
Selina made a deal with a former criminal who had powers similar to Clayface that had promised to help her in exchange for his freedom. The man impersonated her, and allowed several villains to shoot and dismember him, giving the impression to the underworld that Catwoman was really dead (like Clayface, the man was able to survive what would otherwise be fatal wounds). Capitalizing upon the advantage which her "resurrection" provided her (the villains believing she had somehow managed to cheat death), Catwoman dismantled the new East End cadre of criminals, one villain at time. After she was done, Zatanna appeared at her side, informing her that she had some "bad news".
Selina ended up shooting Black Mask while dealing with the East End criminals.
One Year Later
Selina Kyle was no longer Catwoman. She left the East End, and gave birth to a daughter named Helena. Holly Robinson took over as the new Catwoman while Selina, living under the alias Irena Dubrovna, turned her attention to caring for her daughter.
Though she took her role as a new mother quite seriously, Selina donned the costume for a run through the East End some days after Helena's birth. Having understandably gained a few pounds, Selina found that her costume is now a tighter fit. In addition, she was easily distracted by a common criminal. Although the situation was defused through Holly's opportune arrival, the fact that there were two Catwomen active in the city was caught on video. Selina returned home from her adventure to find that the mysterious movie aficionado Film Freak had deduced her alias. Joined by Angle Man, they grabbed Helena.
After rescuing her daughter, Selina convinced Zatanna to mind-wipe Film Freak and Angle Man in order to preserve her secret identity. Following the procedure, Angle Man turned himself in to the authorities; Film Freak, however, embarked upon a murderous rampage. Ted Grant informed Selina that Holly had been arrested for the murder of Black Mask; Selina infiltrated the police station and freed Holly. Finally defeating Film Freak, Selina returned home to find that Slam Bradley had deduced that Helena was Sam Bradley's child, and therefore his granddaughter.
Batman asked Catwoman to infiltrate the violent tribe of Bana Amazons during their attack. Posing as a criminal, Selina gained the Bana's trust and thwarted a terror attack aimed at causing mass casualties in Gotham City. Shortly afterwards, Selina invited herself to become the newest member of Batman's Outsiders. Catwoman and Batman also had a romantic relationship which they both tried to hide.
Heart of Hush and Battle for the Cowl
Catwoman joined Batman on a mission to capture Dr. Aesop, but their mission was interrupted by the unexpected interference of Hush. After this, Selina went to talk to Zatanna about Bruce, who advised her to follow her feelings and act before it was too late.Later that night, Selina was attacked in her apartment by Hush. After a brief fight in which she had the upper hand, Hush managed to stab her in the stomach and took her to the Sacred Heart Convalescent Home, where he performed a surgery and removed her heart from her body. Selina was later taken to the Gotham General Hospital, where Batman learned of her condition. While Batman went looking for Hush to recover her heart, Dr. Mid-Nite and Mr. Terrific went to the hospital to make sure that Selina's life was out of danger until Batman's return. In the meantime, Batman learned that Hush placed Selina's heart on a machine created by Mr. Freeze and that he was capable of killing her at any moment.
After Batman recovered her heart, Dr. Mid-Nite and Mr. Terrific were in charge of the surgery which was a success, and Zatanna appeared in Selina's dream to ask forgiveness for not warning her about Hush's incoming attack. During her recovery post-surgery, Selina was visited by Bruce, who told her that she was the only woman to have ever held his heart and that he will always love her. Selina and Bruce shared a brief reconciliation, after which Selina started planning her vengeance against Hush. With help from Oracle, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Slam Bradley and Holly Robinson, she managed to acquire the entire fortune of the Elliot family, leaving Hush broke and defeated.
Some time later, Selina learned that Hush was impersonating Bruce Wayne and she tracked him down to Vietnam, where she used some hired help to capture him. After torturing Hush for a few days, she delivered him to Nightwing and Robin to be taken back to Gotham. On her way out of Vietnam, Catwoman disbanded a group of poachers, freed several exotic animals and used a helicopter to escape.
A short time later, Selina returned to Gotham and resumed her activities as Catwoman after Batman's death. While keeping criminals off the streets, she spotted Batman jumping across the rooftops of Gotham, something that would be impossible due to the recent events. She followed Batman to a make-shift Batcave underneath an abandoned subway system, where she discovered that it was Tim Drake, wearing one of Bruce's batsuits. Catwoman saved him from a dangerous fall, but after discovering that the place was used as base of operations by a Batman impostor, she was knocked unconscious by this man.
Catwoman recovered after the attack and continued her work on the streets, trying to bring criminals to justice. However, she was very tired and as a result she couldn't stand against them. After failing to capture Firefly, Catwoman was left in shock when she spotted Black Mask, the man she killed. Later, she was confronted by the Batman Impostor and after a quick fight, she was knocked unconscious. When she recovered, she found herself surrounded by Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and the The Riddler.
Selina, fearing the many dangers of a post-Batman Gotham, proposed that she, Ivy, and Harley Quinn team up, living together at a single base. Ivy agreed under one condition: using home-grown drugs to weaken Selina's resistance, Ivy demanded to know the identity of the true Batman. Time spent with Talia three years ago in Tibet had prepared Selina so would not relinquish the true ID of Batman under any circumstances. After the interrogation, Selina saw Harley with Bruce Wayne on TV. Catwoman told Poison Ivy she knew it was Hush in disguise.
When the black rings came to Earth, Selina was attacked by Black Mask after being resurrected as a member of the Black Lantern Corps. After he told her that he planned on getting an emotional response before killing her, Selina stole a car and headed to the mental institution where Maggie was held, believing Black Mask is coming for her. Black Mask attacked the institution, and awoke Maggie from her coma. Selina arrived in time to help her sister flee into the sewers. While on the run, Maggie angrily told Selina that she ruined both of their lives the day she decided to become Catwoman. Devastated by her sister's statement, Selina failed to realize they were headed for a trap. Just as Black Mask was about to gouge Maggie's eyes out and shove them down Selina's throat, Harley and Ivy arrived and defeated the Black Lantern by trapping him in the stomach of a man-eating plant. Selina was helped to her feet by her friends, who told her that Maggie had fled the scene.
The next day, the staff members of the mental institution were discussing Maggie's escape, also mentioning that a nun that works at the hospital had been found beaten and stripped of her uniform. Maggie was in the depths of the Gotham City sewers, clad in the bloodied nun robes, muttering about her plan to kill Catwoman in order to free Selina's soul. Now calling herself Sister Zero, Maggie attempted to kill Selina, but ultimately fled after being defeated by the Sirens. He unhinged mind realized that she could not murder her own sister, and therefore had to instead personally exorcise the "cat demon" from within Selina's body.
After stealing the contents of a safe belonging to the Falcone crime family, Selina returned home to find Kitrina, a teenaged escape artist and Carmine Falcone's long lost daughter, breaking into her room. She attacked and subdued Kitrina, who told Selina that she had unknowingly stolen a map that detailed the location of the new Black Mask's underground bunker. Realizing that she could use the map to capture Black Mask and claim the 50 million dollar bounty on his head, Selina left Kitrina bound in a locked room so that she could keep the map for herself. She later called Batman to her house in order to turn the would-be thief over to the police, but discovers that Kitrina had managed to free herself and steal back the map. This impresses Selina, who mentioned that she had tied up the child using an "inescapable" knot that Bruce had shown her years earlier. Following a massive battle with Black Mask and his henchmen (which ended with neither woman being able to claim the bounty), Selina agreed to take on Kitrina as her new sidekick, Catgirl.
Selina was soon contacted by the mysterious Insider, who asked her to follow Vicki Vale and discover how much she knew about Batman and his allies' secret identities. With some help from Harley and Ivy, Selina finally got the evidence to prove that Vale was right about to discover the truth not only about Batman, but of the Gotham underground as well. After giving the required information to Insider, he subtlety revealed his true identity and Selina realized that Bruce Wayne had returned.
Some time later, the Sirens helped Zatanna put out a massive fire at a local park near their home, only to be ambushed by a creature made of mud. After being dragged underneath the soil by the creature, Catwoman awoke bound and gagged on the floor of a dark room, and was quickly forced into an illusion by her unseen captors. Back in reality, Talia revealed to the Sirens that just a few hours prior, an unknown benefactor had offered up a massive reward to whoever could kidnap and deliver Catwoman to him, with the hopes that he could penetrate her mind and learn Batman's secret identity. Before the knowledge could be ripped from her mind, Selina's captors (Shrike and a new villain named Sempai), were eventually defeated by the other Sirens. Once Selina was freed, Talia ordered Zatanna to wipe Bruce's identity from her memory, reasoning that her kidnapping had proved that the knowledge was too dangerous for her to handle. The two women initially restrained Selina and attempted to remove the knowledge from her, but Zatanna refused at the last moment and ended up fighting Talia and saving Selina.
Once Bruce Wayne reclaimed the mantle of the bat, he established Batman Incorporated, a global team of Batmen. Selina accompanied him on a mission to break into Doctor Sivana's armory, and later travelled with him to Tokyo in order to recruit a Japanese representative for Batman Inc. Catwoman teamed up with Batman to stop Harley Quinn from breaking the Joker out of Arkham Asylum. After defeating Harley and the Joker, Catwoman told Poison Ivy that they were no longer friends, this after Ivy drugged her in an attempt to uncover Batman's identity. Shortly after, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn escaped and set off to pursue revenge on Catwoman for leaving them behind. The two of them found Catwoman and fought her. While they were fighting, Catwoman said that she saw good in them and only wanted to help. Batman was about to arrest them, but Catwoman helped the two of them escape.
This history is continued in The New 52 at Selina Kyle (Prime Earth).
- Acrobatics: Selina is a gifted and accomplished athlete, with heightened acrobatic prowess. Her feats have been so amazing, one could argue that her athletic ability is somewhat superhuman. 
- Martial Arts: She was trained by the Armless Master in martial arts and by Wildcat in boxing and street-fighting. She is a dangerous, clever and resourceful fighter, known for precise, agile attacks and speedy getaways. Her formidable hand-to-hand combat skills are augmented by her cat-like speed, reflexes, balance, and flexibility. Catwoman has mastered the following martial arts styles:
- Stealth: Selina is as stealthy as any large cat. She has easily been able to sneak up on large groups of people and even other vigilantes on patrol. She shows marked prowess in this ability while she's on the prowl for her next job.
- Thievery: Selina is a master thief, known throughout Gotham City for her burglary of cat-themed objects and/or gems and jewels of the highest quality. Hardly one to knock over a bank, Catwoman would rather break into the chairman's office and take his personal documents.
- Disguise: To pull off her many capers, Catwoman resorts to disguises and aliases. She once posed as an old lady in order to steal a valuable piece of jewelry while on a cruise ship. Later, she posed as a night club goer in order to get acquainted with it's owners and return later to rob them.
- Feline Empathy: Catwoman has a strong affinity for cats. Feline species tend to flock to her, accepting her almost immediately, recognizing somehow that she is not an enemy but a friend. This allows her to calm injured cats, train them, befriend them, and form strong bonds with them. These animals will even sometimes come to her defense when she is attacked. This has proved most beneficial, especially when it has involved big cats.
Catwoman possesses the peak human strength level of a woman her age, size and weight, in addition who engages in intensive regular exercise and combat training. Catwoman is capable of pressing up to twice her own weight (270 lbs). She is capable of swinging uninjured with a grapple or whip.
- Catwoman Costume: The skintight costume features retractable razor-sharp claws in her gloves and spring-action climbing pitons in her boots. Catwoman's costume is designed to give her maximum flexibility and movement while providing her some anonymity, and stealth. Her mask covers her features, keeping her from instant recognition in her civilian identity. The material is a thick insulating cloth, protecting her from cold and wet, while being fire retardant.
- Motorcycle: Catwoman occasionally uses a motorcycle for long-distance transportation, but generally prefers rooftop prowling for short distances.
- Claws: Catwoman's gloves and boots contain special retractable claws which are formed of a strong steel which extend from and retract into her gloved fingertips and boots when she triggers pressure switches. They can shred a bullet-proof vest, punch through an aluminum frame car door, or dig into porous surfaces to climb.
- Whip: Catwoman is highly proficient in the use of the bullwhip. She employs a 12 foot long, black leather braided bullwhip which is normally carried on her person either in her boot or in a small backpack.
- There is a large amount of circumstantial evidence that Selina Kyle is the biological daughter of Carmine and Louisa Falcone -- enough evidence that Kyle herself believes it. However, it has never been conclusively proven.
- Catwoman has had many nicknames in the past, some of them include: The Cat, Plundering Kitten, Princess of Plunder and Madame Moderne.
- Selina's alias, Irena Dubrovna, was inspired by the name of the main character in the 1942 film Cat People.
- 2 Appearances of Catwoman (Selina Kyle)
- 2 Images featuring Catwoman (Selina Kyle)
- Quotations by or about Catwoman (Selina Kyle)
- Character Gallery: Catwoman (Selina Kyle)
- Catwoman at dccomics.com
- Catwoman at Wikipedia.org
- Golden Age Catwoman biography page at the Unofficial Guide to the DC Universe
- Silver Age Catwoman biography page at the Unofficial Guide to the DC Universe
- Modern Catwoman biography page at the Unofficial Guide to the DC Universe
- Catwoman at the DC Animated Universe Wikia
- ↑ Catwoman (Volume 2) #75
- ↑ Batman #404
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Catwoman #1
- ↑ Batman #406
- ↑ Catwoman #2
- ↑ Batman #407
- ↑ Catwoman #3
- ↑ Catwoman #4
- ↑ Catwoman (Volume 2) #0
- ↑ Action Comics #611
- ↑ Action Comics #612
- ↑ Action Comics #613
- ↑ Action Comics #614
- ↑ Catwoman Secret Files and Origins #1
- ↑ Detective Comics #612
- ↑ Batman #460-461
- ↑ Catwoman: Defiant
- ↑ Showcase '93 #1
- ↑ Showcase '93 #2
- ↑ Showcase '93 #3
- ↑ Showcase '93 #4
- ↑ Batman #498
- ↑ Catwoman (Volume 2) #1
- ↑ Catwoman (Volume 2) #2
- ↑ Batman #499
- ↑ Batman #500
- ↑ Catwoman (Volume 2) #3
- ↑ Catwoman (Volume 2) #4
- ↑ Catwoman (Volume 2) #6
- ↑ Batman #503
- ↑ Batman #504
- ↑ Catwoman (Volume 2) #7
- ↑ Catwoman (Volume 2) #12
- ↑ Batman #510
- ↑ Batman: Shadow of the Bat #30
- ↑ Catwoman (Volume 2) #13
- ↑ Detective Comics #695
- ↑ Robin (Volume 4) #27
- ↑ Catwoman (Volume 2) #31
- ↑ Azrael #15
- ↑ Catwoman (Volume 2) #32
- ↑ Azrael #16
- ↑ Catwoman (Volume 2) #56
- ↑ Catwoman (Volume 2) #57
- ↑ 45.0 45.1 Catwoman: Selina's Big Score
- ↑ Detective Comics #759, 760, 761, 762
- ↑ Detective Comics #846
- ↑ Detective Comics #847
- ↑ Detective Comics #848
- ↑ Detective Comics #849
- ↑ Detective Comics #850
- ↑ Detective Comics #852
- ↑ Batman #685
- ↑ Batman: Battle for the Cowl #1
- ↑ Batman: Battle for the Cowl #2
- ↑ Battle for the Cowl: The Underground #1
- ↑ Bruce Wayne: The Road Home: Catwoman #1
- ↑ Gotham City Sirens #19
- ↑ Catwoman Annual (Volume 2) #2
- ↑ Catwoman #2
- ↑ Catwoman: When in Rome #6
|Batman Villain(s) |
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