Tuesday, September 26, 2006

A Brief Review of Catwoman #59

Before Catwoman #59, Gentle Reader, I had a theory, a very viable theory regarding the paternity of Helena Kyle. It involved Infinite Crises, the compression of several Earths' versions of Selina Kyle, and, of course, Bruce Wayne/Batman. But what it didn't involve was the actual physical act of creating a child, and certainly not with someone Other Than Batman.

***There may be spoilers ahead, Friends. Please read with Caution.***

My theory was a simple one, albeit a bit complex in execution. I believed that when all of the Earths began to melt and disappear, former versions of Selina Kyle merged with the version we have on our Earth. If memory serves me correctly, there was the scene at the end of the Catwoman issue leading up to Infinite Crisis in which Selina is surrounded by a dozen versions of herself, all pressing on her at once.

This is it! I thought. They've teased me about The Birth of Catwoman's Child, and here it is. A spontaneous pregnancy brought on by the smooshing of several versions of her into the one we hold dear. And of course, that means it's Bruce Wayne's child.

It was at This Moment that I had to admit to myself that I was a Selina/Bruce 'shipper.

Now, I'm not a 'shipper in the sense with which we are familiar. I like Buffy Summers with Angel, and I like her with Spike. I love Lorelai Gilmore with Luke, but I saw benefit in Christopher, too. I don't get rabid about my fictional romantic pairings very often, but it seems that Selina Kyle and Bruce Wayne bring out the worst in my fandom.

When Talia al Ghul showed up in Batman a few months back with a child, I was livid. Not because My Darling Bruce had been intimate with the few-bats-short-of-a-belfry Ms. Ghul, but because I knew, Deep Down Inside, that Selina Kyle would never have Bruce Wayne's child. Of course, I knew this also because I read books, and the amount of finagling the writers at DC would have to do to align all of Batman's books with Catwoman, just so she could have Batman's baby, would be Insanity of Awesome Proportions.

But as hope springs ever eternal, I kept my Fingers Cross'd.

Now I am well aware that the scene in Catwoman #59 with Sam Bradley (Sam?! SAM?! At least make it an interesting Catwoman secondary character, like Slam or Ted) could just be The Ultimate Tease, and I know that the One Year Later storylines are Far From Over. 52 has several weeks and months left to go, and one three-page scene in one issue doesn't mean squat in The Comic Universe. But if it is A Tease, and even if Sam did not father Selina's child, why is it necessary? The words seem forced; the language out of character. "We're getting ready to 'team up,'" Selina says to Sam. And before he can really respond to this rather blatant single entendre, she says, "Now shut up and kiss me."

Selina always has been a woman who knows what she wants and how to get it. She wanted money; she got it. She wanted to go straight; she did (well, pre-Zatanna revelation, we can assume so). She wanted Batman; she got him. She wanted the East End protected; she did it herself. But not since before she went legitimate has an action of Selina's seemed so self-serving. Understandably, she was in a bit of a Crisis herself. She had killed Black Mask; she had found out that her conversion to The White Hats may not be a result of a change of heart but rather a change of mind, a la Zatanna. She was lost; she was desperate for comfort.

But Sam freaking Bradley??

I am not appalled by her taste, necessarily; rather, I'm astonished at her awkwardness.

Catwoman/Selina Kyle always has been undeniably sexy. That's part of her inherent charm. But Selina has never been less sexy than she is in this scene. And perhaps that's The Point. This isn't love. This isn't attraction, although methinks the Cat doth protest too much that it is. This is desperation, pure and simple. In the end, I think ultimately what disturbs me about this issue of Catwoman is not the suggestion that Sam Bradley may have fathered Helena, but rather the suggestion that Selina would turn to any warm body—-even the son of her former lover-—in a moment of crisis. The suggestion that Selina Kyle, The Catwoman who has never pussyfooted around (pardon the pun, Gentle Reader!) what she wanted and how to get it, including money, men, and saving the day, would resort to clichés and clumsy innuendo to get a man in bed.

If it were meant to be disturbing, off-putting, and out of character, I'd say Mission Accomplished.

13 Comments:

At 2:01 PM, Blogger Fanboy said...

Intersting theory. Are you suggesting that perhaps one of the alternate Catwoman's was pregnant and that pregnancy got transferred to the "real" Catwoman?

I've only been picking up Catwoman since the whole mind-wipe story came to the forefront, so I am not quite clear on the backstory of everyone. I don't know that I necessarily agree with you on why it can't be Batman. Part of me hopes it is as I just see lots of storyline potential here, particularly once his other son dies (What you say? I think it's a foregone conclusion, personally, but that's another post topic entirely).

Selina is grown woman, however, and as a male I am told that all adult woman all have "needs." Let's admit it, when you hook up with someone for the first time, it's often a bit awkward. I am sure it's that way for even the most confident of folks so I don't think it's such a stretch that it would be for Selina too.

Having said all that, when you say "If it were meant to be disturbing, off-putting, and out of character, I'd say Mission Accomplished," I suspect you hit the nail on the head.

One more thing? Why Helena? All I can think of is Huntress. Am I missing something. I'll answer my own question: Most Likely.

 
At 8:33 AM, Blogger Amy Reads said...

Hi Mr. Fanboy,
You said, Intersting theory. Are you suggesting that perhaps one of the alternate Catwoman's was pregnant and that pregnancy got transferred to the "real" Catwoman?

Yes, exactly! Earth-Two Selina married Bruce and they had a child, one Helena Wayne, who later became Huntress. My theory was that when all the Earths compressed, all of the versions compressed into our Selina, and since one of those versions was pregnant with Helena, so, too, was Selina.

You also said, I've only been picking up Catwoman since the whole mind-wipe story came to the forefront, so I am not quite clear on the backstory of everyone. I don't know that I necessarily agree with you on why it can't be Batman. Part of me hopes it is as I just see lots of storyline potential here, particularly once his other son dies (What you say? I think it's a foregone conclusion, personally, but that's another post topic entirely).

Oh, the Catwoman run is So Very Good. Start with Selina's Big Score, which details how she comes clean, and then all of the books after that, leading up to Crisis. It tells how she establishes herself as the East End Protector, her relationship with Slam, with Batman, with Bruce (sometimes all three at the same time, not connected to each other at all!). I hope it's Batman's baby, too.

And what's this, you say? You believe the Wayne/al Ghul child will die? How so?

You also said, Selina is grown woman, however, and as a male I am told that all adult woman all have "needs." Let's admit it, when you hook up with someone for the first time, it's often a bit awkward. I am sure it's that way for even the most confident of folks so I don't think it's such a stretch that it would be for Selina too.

But that's problematic for me because Selina never has been awkward before. That's part of being sexy and confident and, well, *Selina*. When she first sleeps with Slam, with Bruce, with anyone in the series, it is on Selina's terms, and it's very, very sexy.

I agree with you that she is a grown woman and has needs, but this feels so out of character for her. First and foremost, Selina is all about the older men; I would have bought Slam or Ted before Sam. And then, Sam doesn't say *anything*, really.

So then you said, Having said all that, when you say "If it were meant to be disturbing, off-putting, and out of character, I'd say Mission Accomplished," I suspect you hit the nail on the head.

And I think that just about wraps it up for me. It's such a strange scene, at such a strange time, and it feels like nothing that's happened in the book before. Not that I am against shaking things up--I adore crazy character change and Huge Shifts In Plotlines--but this is almost too calm. If she's really desperate for companionship (and I don't mean desperate as in, she can't find any, but rather desperate as in she's lonely and scared and wants something, anything to make her feel better), the desperation only barely registers.

And finally, One more thing? Why Helena? All I can think of is Huntress. Am I missing something. I'll answer my own question: Most Likely.

See my above note, and check Wiki :)
Ciao,
Amy

 
At 12:37 PM, Blogger Fanboy said...

So now your theory makes more sense to me. I like it. A lot. Heck, if they can get away with their Jason Todd explanation, this can work.

I was aware of the Earth-2 pairing resulting in the Huntress, but I am still unsure of the significance of the name to our Catwoman. Is the current Huntress Earth-2? I didn't think so but wiht DC rejiggering those universes ad nauseum, I am just not sure.

One more point about the awkwardness, how many actual sex scenes have we seen her in (not many really considering the medium)? I don't think it's all that out of the realm of possibilities to say that she could be more awkward than normal when trying to get her sex on. I know you don't really agree, I guess I am allowing for more of thaat in my mind. That's all. Moving on ...

 
At 1:51 PM, Blogger Amy Reads said...

Hi Mr. Fanboy,
You said, So now your theory makes more sense to me. I like it. A lot. Heck, if they can get away with their Jason Todd explanation, this can work.

:) It's a rather Fun Theory, no? In fact, when I presented it to Mr. Reads (who is infinitely more versed in DC mythology than I'll ever be), his response was immediately, "well, yeah." I think we've yet to see any true strangeness as a result of Infinite Crisis, and this would be a great place to start.

You also said, I was aware of the Earth-2 pairing resulting in the Huntress, but I am still unsure of the significance of the name to our Catwoman. Is the current Huntress Earth-2? I didn't think so but wiht DC rejiggering those universes ad nauseum, I am just not sure.

The current Huntress is "our" Huntress, Helena Bertinelli, a Mob daughter who suffered near the same fate as young Bruce Wayne (watched her family slaughtered before her eyes, yet survived herself). No relation to Earth 2 Helena as far as I know.
Although one of the books... was it Superman/Batman? had a scene with Power Girl and Huntress (I think!) in which Huntress *was* the daughter of Bruce Wayne, and it was all this strange dream where they switched bodies with their counterparts.
Do you know what book I'm talking about? I can't remember.

And you also said, One more point about the awkwardness, how many actual sex scenes have we seen her in (not many really considering the medium)? I don't think it's all that out of the realm of possibilities to say that she could be more awkward than normal when trying to get her sex on. I know you don't really agree, I guess I am allowing for more of thaat in my mind. That's all. Moving on ...

There are a surprising number of sex scenes in Catwoman's book (well, as sexy as scenes can get in non-sexy-rated comic books!). A scene that has always stayed with me is one in which Catwoman wraps her whip around Batman's neck and tugs him downstairs to her bedroom. Meow, if you'll pardon the pun! So I think that's why the awkwardness seems so out of character for me.

That being said, you are welcome to disagree with me at any time ;) We can even, as they say, Agree To Disagree on this subject. I absolutely see your point re: first-time awkwardness, but I don't think the book, thus far, has allowed for that possibility with Selina Kyle. At least, in the way I've read it.

That means nothing, of course, in the Grand Scheme Of Things, so do take it with a grain--or shaker--of salt.
:)
Ciao,
Amy

 
At 6:09 PM, Blogger Fanboy said...

Yep. I think you were referring to one of the Superman/Batman. Quite frankly, I don't know why I still pick it up as I think it's a muddled mess. The first arc was great.

In re: to the awkawardness issue, I have nothing else to add, without flogging a dead cat.

I forgot to address my off-hand comment abou Batman's son in my earlier response. To me, one of the best things about the Batman title is its overarching themes of angst and pathos. Perhaps those aren't the best words to describe it, but more than most comics, Batman sets a "mood" typically (at least in the last 20 years).

For pure storytelling punch, I can't see the son growing up to be a major Batman villain. For one, that would take too long considering comics and the idea of "real time" (as opposed to TV soap operas that "insta-age" kids). Secondly, the emotional punch between Bats and his son would essentially be the same if the son would die as it would be if he traded punches with Li'l Al Ghul. The moral dilemma the character would feel in his battling his son would be the same type of drama would get at the son's death. I didn't explain hat well at all. To be honest, it's an idea of mine thatn hasn't really percolated. I do like the idea of the little one dying, in turn making Talia a major enemy of Batman, as opposed to this former/potential love interest for him. I would prefer Selina to play that role and for her daughter to be Bats. Now that Ra's gone, i think it sets her up as a force to be reckoned with (is Narissa still alive ... not for long if Talia embraces her dad's evilness). Finally, in practical terms, Morrison has a finite run and he tends to wrap things up with major characters.

Of course, all of this might change once I read the new issue, which is in front of me at the moment, later tonight. And I am just guessing on too little sleep as is.

 
At 8:03 AM, Blogger Amy Reads said...

Hi Mr. Fanboy,
You said, Secondly, the emotional punch between Bats and his son would essentially be the same if the son would die as it would be if he traded punches with Li'l Al Ghul. The moral dilemma the character would feel in his battling his son would be the same type of drama would get at the son's death. I didn't explain hat well at all. To be honest, it's an idea of mine thatn hasn't really percolated. I do like the idea of the little one dying, in turn making Talia a major enemy of Batman, as opposed to this former/potential love interest for him. I would prefer Selina to play that role and for her daughter to be Bats.

I think that's a fascinating theory. Over the summer, one of the Big Writers said that DC was out to fix Batman. Was it Waid? Johns? Morrison? I can't remember. But I do remember thinking that when the new issues of Bats came out, and he asked Robin to be his son.

I think losing "Li'l al Ghul," as you charmingly put it, is definitely necessary, for nothing else than the impact another Batchild would have on Robin. Do you read Teen Titans? If you don't, let's just say that Robin is teetering dangerously on the Batman/Bruce Wayne edge, and he's about to topple over.

I haven't read Bats yet; I haven't gotten to the store for my pulls. Will let you know more of my opinion (for what That's Worth!) when I grab it.

Also? No coffee yet, so typos are practically a given :)
Ciao,
Amy

 
At 7:07 PM, Blogger Loren said...

I don't think you have anything to worry about in regards to Sam. I have a feeling that Sam is a red herring. And, I doubt it's Batman because it's just too obvious to have her have a child named Helena who, of course, is supposed to be the Huntress on Earth-2 and the child of Selina and Bruce. I just can't imagine that they would make it that easy. I believe the Talia Al'Ghul thing, but Selina's baby has to be from somebody else. I don't know if it's Ted, though. Although, it certainly would be interesting. My money, though, goes to Slam. It's the most believable and, I think, would be the most shocking.

 
At 12:30 AM, Blogger Fanboy said...

Yeah, I read Teen Titans. If you're referring to the cloning thing I completely agree. And my typos are a given alwayss.

 
At 1:03 PM, Blogger Amy Reads said...

Hi Loren,
You said, I don't think you have anything to worry about in regards to Sam. I have a feeling that Sam is a red herring.

That's what I'm feeling, too. And especially since the timeline doesn't quite work out. If we think of the One Year Later shift in truth (i.e. 12 months to the date), then she has sex with Sam two months early, no?
At least, I *think* :)

And you said, And, I doubt it's Batman because it's just too obvious to have her have a child named Helena who, of course, is supposed to be the Huntress on Earth-2 and the child of Selina and Bruce. I just can't imagine that they would make it that easy.

The thing that gets me, though, is Bruce showing up with the teddy bear and the college tuition. He would do that for Selina's baby, whether it was his or anyone else's, but he doesn't seem jealous. At all. That's what made me think my spontaneous pregnancy theory might be on the ball.
But no, they would never make anything that easy for me in my 'shipperness, would they? :(

I believe the Talia Al'Ghul thing, but Selina's baby has to be from somebody else. I don't know if it's Ted, though. Although, it certainly would be interesting. My money, though, goes to Slam. It's the most believable and, I think, would be the most shocking.

I definitely agree that Slam would be the most shocking, but I don't know if it's Slam's baby. He was pretty beat up after Black Mask, and I just... I don't know. I don't feel it.
But again, I really, *really* want Bruce to be the father, so I probably won't listen to reason :)
Ciao,
Amy

 
At 1:05 PM, Blogger Amy Reads said...

Hi Mr. Fanboy,
I feel as if we should make this comment section into a Post Of Its Own!

You said, Yeah, I read Teen Titans. If you're referring to the cloning thing I completely agree. And my typos are a given alwayss.

Not just the cloning thing. Tim's gotten very, *very* dark, a la Batman, and I think Bruce is noticing. The cloning's one sign, but so is kissing Cassie, and desperately trying to hold the team together (like Batman desperately tries to hold the Bat-Family together).
If this keeps going the way it's going, Tim will be darker than any al Ghul child could ever be.
Ciao,
Amy

 
At 2:32 PM, Blogger Fanboy said...

Ha ha on the comments. It probably all stems from his dad's death, in the minds of the various writers.

 
At 5:23 PM, Blogger Loren said...

Well, making Batman the father would definitely be the thing fans would want. I'm with you, Selina and Bruce having a baby would be cool and secure her role in the Batman family. But, for some reason, I keep thinking that it would be too easy. Then again, giving us what we want would be shocking, too. ;)

 
At 12:02 AM, Blogger Amy Reads said...

Hi Loren,
You said, Well, making Batman the father would definitely be the thing fans would want. I'm with you, Selina and Bruce having a baby would be cool and secure her role in the Batman family. But, for some reason, I keep thinking that it would be too easy. Then again, giving us what we want would be shocking, too. ;)

I really want it To Be So! But even if isn't, I'm fine with it, as long as it's something more interesting that Sam freaking Bradley. I just feel like they could have done so much with this character and they really dropped the ball with him. I guess what upsets me the most is that I don't really care about him, and that means I can't get excited about the idea of him fathering Selina's child.

I'm okay if it isn't Bruce. I'm okay if it's Slam. I'm really okay if it's my spontaneous smooshing of another Earth's pregnant Selina idea :) But mainly, I just find Sam... boring.

And that's the biggest tragedy, no?
*sigh*

And I really like Bruce and Selina together!
< / 'shipper >

:)
Ciao,
Amy

 

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