To the general public, Catwoman is most famously known as Gotham City’s cat thief who happens to spark Batman’s morally dubious fancy. Fans of the character respect her as an independent female who gets what she wants using her own terms. If you’re a cat person, and you love those dastardly felines for their personalities, then she’s your gal. In all truth, she only truly asks for help when she needs to procure information (or brawn) from individuals who roam outside of her comfort zones.
In the new DC Universe, the reader is taken to what looks to be the early years of Catwoman’s career—within her first five years, at least. Her renumbered title introduces the heroine hastily putting on her costume while mob thugs are breaking into her apartment. But the reader must first distract away from her strapless red bra, which is the main focus in the very first page. You don’t actually see Selina Kyle’s face until page three.
Honestly, I found the first scene a little comical. Being a girl who could care less about a pair of melons, my eyes first went to the strangeness of trying to fit 10 cats in a tiny box. I’m an owner of four cats (insert cat lady joke here). Last I checked, they don’t like being stuffed into tiny boxes, let alone together. Then I thought about the impracticality of wearing a strapless bra underneath her cat suit. Sure the tightness provides some sort of backup support for the bra, but both can only do so much when leaping rooftop to rooftop to escape a gang of angry goons with machine guns and bombs.
I came in thinking that this version of Catwoman wasn’t going to be as experienced or mature as the version from before the re-launch. She isn’t rich, she isn’t careful enough to know who is attacking her apartment or why, and she’s amateurish in a sense that she will endanger her current job to scratch a guy’s face off for a past misdeed against her, effectively losing track of time and alerting a club full of mobsters with guns. In other words, it’s easy to see this character caught unawares in her underoos, but do we have to get four panels of just boob shot?
I’d like to challenge the artist, Guillem March, to wear a busty strapless bra underneath, well, anything. I dare you not to try to adjust yourself in those puppies while jogging down the street.
The last four pages, however, is the crux of the entire issue’s controversy.
Through the course of one issue, Catwoman’s apartment is fire bombed, she pisses off possibly two crime organizations, she confronts a man who possibly abused her when she was younger, and she now finds homeless. All make for a long and tiresome day, yes? Squatting in an empty penthouse overlooking Gotham City, Catwoman sits solemnly with her feline companions. Batman steps out from the shadows to confront the thief about her current activities. Catwoman pounces the Bat and gently coerces him into relations of the sexual kind. This sort of scenario happens a lot between Batman and Catwoman, but the end result is usually implied. The very last scene goes all the way, but with most of their costumes still on.
I’ve made plenty a joke already about implication that Batman is an early finisher, so I won’t exhaust it here. While amusing to me, the last four pages caused an outcry over the need to take the scene this far. Some argue that DC is pandering to the current fan base instead of drawing in new readers. This argument can even be taken back to HBO adding graphic sex to Game of Thrones to draw in more of a female audience…because women like watching sex more than men? Who knows?
I don’t find it insulting that Catwoman just up and has semi-anonymous sex with Batman (she doesn’t know his identity) because of the emotional setbacks she had to face to get up to that point (don’t lie, we’ve all been there). I do find it a little exhausting, however, that anyone writing a female hero thinks he needs to add sex as part of her appeal. Flashing a lady’s unmentionables to gain attention is one thing—men are easy marks for a trap like that—but must we watch her have sex for no apparent reason?
I will still follow Catwoman because she presents a new yet familiar style that we haven’t seen in a while, as well as potential room for growth as long as her writers don’t keep her personality static. I will, however, drop Red Hood and the Outlaws. I had to stop reading after discovering they made Starfire, a plucky heroine from the Teen Titans group, into an indiscriminate sex-pot. Yeah, gag me with a spoon.
Form your own opinion. Go check out this and other titles from DC Comics’ New 52, go to Captain’s Comics and Toys at 1209-D Sam Rittenberg Blvd in Charleston.