- My world is all just shades of grey, Batman. That's why you'll never really understand me.
Selina Kyle is Catwoman, a costumed adventurer who's been both 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. Separated from her younger sister Magdalene and remanded to the Sprang Hall Juvenile Detention Center, an abusive state home for orphaned or delinquent girls, she opted instead to take her chances on the streets of Gotham City.
There have been several versions of Catwoman's origin story. In Year One she's shown as a prostitute working in East End. Selina takes care of an underage girl named Holly Robinson while working for their abusive pimp Stan. Detective George Flannery sends her to Ted Grant, who teaches her how to fight after Stan beats her up. When she sees Batman in action for the first time, he inspires her to become Catwoman. Selina beats up Stan and takes Holly with her. To distinguish herself, she claws the faces of her victims starting with Carmine Falcone. Stan kidnaps her sister Maggie Kyle and dies fighting Catwoman. Batman confronts her about this, and she kisses him then wounds his chest and escapes. Holly is left with the nun Maggie to be raised in a convent. Following Zero Hour, Selina's history as a prostitute is erased. Instead, she is shown to have survived on the streets as a petty thief.
Although originally introduced as an equal opponent for Batman, Catwoman's status as hero or villain is ambiguous; she has her own moral code and has occasionally teamed up with Batman and other heroes against greater threats, even saving the lives of the entire Justice League on one occasion. She represents a gray area in Batman's otherwise black and white life where the line between good and evil blurs, and his attraction to her stems from this perception that, in her way, she's kind of a female version of himself: another dark creature that prowls the night.
Shortly after the events of The Long Halloween, Selina visited the grave of Carmine Falcone where she expressed that she believes that she is Falcone's illegitimate daughter, but was unable to find any proof. Around this time, Selina meets Falcone's son Mario who would later become head of the Falcone crime family.
The Tin Roof Club
Kyle purchases a nightclub for extra income, calling it the Tin Roof Club. When she steals a priceless brooch and hides it with Holly, she begins taking heat from other criminals. When she visits Holly in New Jersey to collect it, Holly's house explodes. Holly dies in Selina's arms. Selina figures out that Holly's husband Arthur killed her so he could keep the brooch. Flannery helps Catwoman frame Holly's husband for murder, and he's sent to prison. Holly's death would later be undone in Zero Hour, erasing this story.
Catman accidentally releases a tiger, and Catwoman is blamed for the deaths. In retaliation, she throws Catman off a roof and assaults the reporter who accused her. Catwoman is targeted by the white slave trade during Sisters in Arms. Sarah Essen and Vicki Vale help her take the slavers down when all three of them are captured.
The disturbed Mister Handsome targets Catwoman, as he has dedicated his life to destroying beauty. When she's caught, he cages her with a monster as a sick allegory to Beauty and the Beast. However, he is unable to crush her spirit, and she gracefully defeats him.
Selina's neighborhood in Brideshead is taken over by a crimelord named Bracuda. Catwoman investigates his operation, as he's forced all of the legitimate shop-owners out. The corrupt cops on Bracuda's payroll get involved, and it turns into a riot. Catwoman fights Bracuda and forces him to flee while she takes his assets.
Bane breaks Batman's back during Knightfall, and begins taking over the Gotham underworld. Bird, Trogg, and Zombie, collect Catwoman and her fence Leopold for a meeting. Bane explains that she works for him now, and she'll fence all goods through his organization. Catwoman insists that she doesn't take orders, and she'll work with him, but not for him. Selina travels to Santa Prisca by stealing a ride on Bruce Wayne's private plane.
When the Apocalypse Virus breaks out in Gotham, Catwoman is hired by the Penguin to track down a survivor named Kendall Stuart. She's forced to team up with Azrael and Robin against a bounty hunter named Tracker. They finally grab Stuart, but he's assassinated by the Order of St. Dumas. The group teams up to find another survivor named Fong, but he kills himself when he meets them. Catwoman tracks down the last survivor alone, a student named Leanore We in Miami, and drags her back to Gotham. It's revealed that survivor blood is useless, but Leanore wants to help anyway. Catwoman is inspired by this, and stays to help until a cure is found.
During Cataclysm, Catwoman was stealing from a mall when the 7.6 earthquake hit. Despite her selfish inclinations, she works hard to bring everyone to safety. While patrolling the city to stop looters, she meets Poison Ivy. Ivy tries to control the vulnerable city with plants, and Catwoman barely stops her.
Crisis of Conscience
During the events of 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 appears to be completely reformed, and her love for Batman true (although brash and unpredictable). However, it is now unclear if her reformation was 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 of the events of Identity Crisis, and he now worries that her reformation may be due to mental manipulation.
The One You Love
At the start of the "The One You Love" storyline, 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 similiar to Clayface's, who 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", hinting at an important revelation about her past.
Selina ended up shooting Black Mask while dealing with the East End criminals.
One Year Later
Following the events of Infinite Crisis, the DC Universe jumps forward in time. "One Year Later" Selina Kyle is no longer Catwoman, has left the East End, and has given birth to a daughter named Helena (the father of whom is initially left unrevealed). Holly Robinson takes over as the new Catwoman while Selina, living under the alias Irena Dubrovna, turns her attention to caring for her daughter. (Selina's alias was inspired by the name of the main character in the 1942 film Cat People.)
Though she takes her role as a new mother quite seriously, Selina dons the costume for a run through the East End some days after Helena's birth. Having understandably gained a few pounds, Selina finds that her costume is now a tighter fit. In addition, she is easily distracted by a common criminal. Although the situation is defused through Holly's opportune arrival, the fact that there are two Catwomen active in the city is caught on video. Selina returns home from her adventure to find that the mysterious movie aficionado Film Freak has deduced her alias, joined with Angle Man, and grabbed Helena.
After rescuing her daughter, Selina convinces Zatanna to mind-wipe Film Freak and Angle Man in order to preserve her secret identity. Following the procedure, Angle Man turns himself in to the authorities; Film Freak, however, embarks upon a murderous rampage. Ted Grant informs Selina that Holly has been arrested for the murder of Black Mask; Selina infiltrates the police station and frees Holly. Finally defeating Film Freak, Selina returns home to find that Slam Bradley has deduced that Helena is Sam Bradley's child, and therefore his granddaughter.
Batman asks Catwoman to infiltrate the violent tribe of Bana Amazons during the Amazons Attack crossover. Posing as a criminal, Selina gains the Bana's trust and thwarts a terror attack aimed at causing mass casualties in Gotham City. Shortly after the event, Selena invites herself to become the newest member of Batman's Outsiders. Catwoman and Batman also have a romantic relationship which they both try to hide and at times have their special moments.
Selina, fearing the many dangers of a post-Batman Gotham, proposes that she, Ivy, and Harley Quinn team up, living together at a single base. Ivy agrees under one condition: using home-grown drugs to weaken Kyle's resistance, Ivy demands the identity of the true Batman. In it she flashes back 3 years when Talia requested her presence in Tibet. There she made it so Selina would not relinquish the true ID of Batman under any circumstances. After the interrogation is over and Selina sees Harley with Bruce Wayne on TV Catwoman says to Poison Ivy she knows it is Hush in disguise.
During the events of Blackest Night, Selina is attacked by Black Mask after he has been reborn as a member of the Black Lantern Corps. After he tells her that he plans on getting an emotional response before killing her, Selina steals a car and heads to the mental institution where Maggie is held, believing Black Mask is coming for her. Black Mask attacks the institution, and somehow awakens Maggie from her coma. Selina arrives in time to help her sister flee into the sewers. While on the run, Maggie angrily tells Selina that she ruined both of their lives the day she decided to become Catwoman. Devastated by her sister's statement, Selina fails to realize they have both been heading for a trap. Just as Black Mask is about to gouge Maggie's eyes out and shove them down Selina's throat, Harley and Ivy arrive and defeat the Black Lantern by trapping him in the stomach of a man-eating plant. Selina is helped to her feet by her friends, who tell her that Maggie has fled the scene.
The next day, the staff members of the mental institution are shown discussing Maggie's escape, also mentioning that a nun that works at the hospital had been found beaten and stripped of her uniform. Maggie is then shown 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 attempts to kill Selina, but ultimately flees after being defeated by the Sirens. She is last seen going over her options, now realizing that she cannot murder her own sister, and therefore must personally exorcise the "cat demon" from within Selina's body.
In the build-up to the return of Bruce Wayne, the Sirens help Zatanna put out a massive fire at a local park near their home, only for them to be ambushed by a creature made of mud. After being dragged underneath the soil by the creature, Catwoman awakens tied up and gagged on the floor of a dark room, and is quickly forced into an illusion by her unseen captors. Back in reality, Talia reveals 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 can be ripped from her mind, Selina's captors (revealed to be Shrike and a new villain named Sempai), are eventually defeated by the other Sirens. Once Selina is freed, Talia orders Zatanna to wipe Bruce's identity from her memory, reasoning that her kidnapping has proved that the knowledge is too dangerous for her to handle. The two women initially restrain Selina and attempt to remove the knowledge from her, but Zatanna refuses at the last moment and ends up fighting Talia in order to protect Selina. Talia tries to kill Selina before vanishing, but she survives and ultimately reunites with Bruce, who had recently returned to the present.
After stealing the contents of a safe belonging to the Falcone crime family, Selina returns home to find Kitrina, a teenaged escape artist and Carmine Falcone's long lost daughter, breaking into her room. She attacks and subdues Kitrina, who tells Selina that she had unknowingly stolen a map that details 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 leaves Kitrina bound in a locked room so that she can keep the map for herself. She later calls 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 mentions 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 ends with neither woman being able to claim the bounty), Selina agrees to take on Kitrina as her new sidekick, Catgirl. Once Bruce Wayne returns from his time in the past, he establishes Batman Incorporated, a global team of Batmen. Selina accompanies him on a mission to break into Doctor Sivana's armory, and later travels with him to Tokyo in order to recruit a Japanese representative for Batman Inc. Catwoman teams up with Batman to stop Harley Quinn from breaking the Joker out of Arkham Asylum. After defeating Harley and the Joker, Catwoman tells Poison Ivy that they are no longer friends, this after Ivy drugged her in an attempt to uncover Batman's identity. Shortly after this, Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn are 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 says that she saw good in them and only wanted to help them. Batman was about to arrest them, but Catwoman helped the two of them escape.
The New 52
The DC Universe heavily changed its continuity into the DCnU following the events of Flashpoint in 2011. This was part of an effort to make storylines more accessible to newer readers, beginning with the New 52. This new timeline combines elements from the DCU, Vertigo Universe and Wildstorm Universe while drastically changing the origins and histories of characters.
After the events seen in Flashpoint, Selina is seen operating out of Gotham City living with her cats and a few changes of costumes while she house hops. She drew the attention of a violent gang which stalked her and firebombed her "new" house. Leaving her and her pets stranded on the streets of Gotham, Selina pulls her strings and acquires a penthouse apartment as her new digs while she's continuing a life of crime and trickery throughout Gotham. And after a particularly jarring experience with a Russian mob, she returns home to find Batman waiting for her in the shadows. Their relationship is still estranged but their short conversation ends in each other's arms. After Sex, Batman warns her that she might be in danger. Not heeding his warning, Lola dies hours later and she is ambushed by Bone.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
- 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. 
- Hand-to-Hand Combat (Advanced): 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 also 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 good 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.
- As of Catwoman (Volume 4) #2, Selina claims to be 23 years old.
- Catwoman has had many nicknames in the past, some of them include: The Cat, Plundering Kitten, Princess of Plunder and Madame Moderne.
- Appearances of Catwoman (Selina Kyle)
- Images featuring Catwoman (Selina Kyle)
- Quotations by or about Catwoman (Selina Kyle)
- Character Gallery: Catwoman (Selina Kyle)
- Catwoman article at Wikipedia
- 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
Discover and Discuss
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- ↑ Batman #404
- ↑ 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
- ↑ Batman #499
- ↑ 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
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