Catwoman vs. Black Mask, Pt. 1

In my last Black Mask article a week ago, I mentioned his eventual downfall at the hands of Catwoman.  Well, we’ll get to that.  The rest of the week involves Black Mask’s attempts to take over Gotham’s East End and Catwoman’s attempts to stop him.  Also, they’re both insane, vengeful people.  So it’s going to be fun.

Catwoman (real name Selina Kyle), I believe, is Batman’s soulmate, y’know, if he wasn’t already married to crimefighting.  So with her head held high in the early 2000s, she heads back to the slums of Gotham she grew up in and declares herself its new protector.  Like any good comic character, she quickly gains a fun, emotive group of sidekicks and side characters, and fights everyone from mobsters to ancient Egyptian death cults.  Most importantly, her life hasn’t been this good in a very long time.

Until Black Mask shows up.  Unfortunately for Selina, she recently and successfully masterminded a plot to steal 28 million dollars worth of diamonds from Black Mask’s men.  Big mistake.  Where our story currently picks up, in Catwoman #12-16, volume 2, written by Ed Brubaker and drawn by Cameron Stewart, Catwoman’s days are currently filled with lively, fun heists and running into delightful old friends.

With her diamond money, Selina decides to open a community center in the East End.  Being a hero and all that.  And I have to introduce Catwoman’s supporting cast, as they’re fairly vital to the story.

First up, the old man next to Selina is Slam Bradley, a grizzed old-fashioned detective who enjoys cigarettes and bar fights, like all private eyes do.  And despite his cliched attitude and background, understand that he’s been around since 1937.  As in a year before Superman.  As in he was the star of Detective Comics #1, the comic Batman would make his premiere in 26 issues later.  After a spattering of appearances since his comic run ended in 1949, he’s most recently hanging out with Catwoman in her solo series, as you’ve just seen.

The girl with orange hair is Holly Robinson, former runaway, prostitute, and junkie, now living and helping Catwoman with information gathering and girltalk.  Also, in 2004, Catwoman won a GLAAD award for Holly’s positive portrayal as an openly gay character.  Plus, she’s upbeat and feisty.

Enough of that though.  Catwoman is investigating some child crime in the area when she finds their hideout, which just so happens to be the exact hideout she was raised in as a child.

So as children, Selina, Sylvia, and a bunch of other children, were raised to steal, rob, and pickpocket from unsuspecting bystanders.  Very Oliver Twist-like.  Of course, their caretaker was a terrible, horrible woman and they eventually escaped.  Now, Sylvia runs the child thief group, but y’know, with not beating kids or crushing them emotionally.  So like half better.

Still, nice to run into her childhood best friend, right?  Oh, the happy surprises don’t end there.  But we should probably check in with Slam and Selina’s adult best friend Holly first.

Oh yeah, so Catwoman has a younger sister named Maggie.  Fated down the same demeaning and soul-crushing path that Selina went down, she eventually joined the nunnery to escape.  Well, not anymore.  Now she’s married and living that white picket fence life she dreamed about.

Community center opening!  Always the hottest ticket on the Gotham social scene.  Also, doesn’t hurt that Bruce Wayne showed up and made a speech.  He and Selina have a history.  A dirty history.

You see Catwoman’s smile?  No, seriously, go look at it again, because that’s the last happy moment you’ll see on this website for the next three days.  From the next image on, everything is just one horrific problem after the other.  I’m excited too.

Of course, first up to get revenge on Catwoman, you have to ruin months of her time and money.

The community center gone, the bad guys can now concentrate on Selina’s friends and loved ones.

With Maggie’s husband sufficiently kidnapped, might as well go for the matching pair:

Trust me, while they don’t show it, she’s as good as snatched.  Two buddies left.

There goes Slam.  Three down, one to go.  Though you’d probably want to know what’s going on, right?  Of course you do, you’re a curious individual.  Heads up, it mainly involves torture.

Well, you don’t become mob boss of Gotham without some sort of sick streak.  I mean, you know who he has to compete with.  Slam’s in the hospital, and the Kyles are hung up in Black Mask’s medieval torture dungeon, but Holly’s still around.  One for four ain’t bad.

And that’s the complete set.  Betrayals hurt even when not beaten by a large group of kids with skateboards.  By the way, you think you’ve seen Batman when he’s angry?  He’s a sleeping puppy compared to Catwoman’s rage.  Our story continues with the action packed second part tomorrow, where Catwoman beats the crap out of everyone who dared intrude in her life.

One Comment on “Catwoman vs. Black Mask, Pt. 1”

  1. wwayne says:

    Did you notice that the most talented writers tend to work with pencillers with a very essential style? Brubaker works with Stewart and Lark, Fraction works with Aja, Lemire works with Foreman and Pugh, Waid works with Rivera…
    I enjoy any artistic style (the “100 % muscles” one of Ed McGuinness, the manga-like one of Humberto Ramos, the pop-art-like one of Mike Allred, and so on), but at the end of the day, the more the art is simple, the more I can focus on the story, so I like the tendency I described before.

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