With the impending release of The Dark Knight Rises, it seemed
like an appropriate time to talk about the nine…er…ten best lives of
Catwoman. While there have been numerous incarnations of Batman (even
just in the movies – five different actors to date), many times Catwoman
(Selina Kyle) is designated as a nemesis or throwaway character, just
another member of Bats’ “Rogues’ Gallery”. However, like Wolverine of
the X-Men (I know; blasphemous to mention Marvel in a DC-centric
article), Catwoman deserves her own storylines and has, justifiably so,
been seen in comics on her own without Gotham’s protector.
Originally known as just a cat burglar, different incarnations, over
the years, have morphed her into an anti-hero who has a love-hate
(mostly love) relationship with Batman/Bruce Wayne. It is the anti-hero
with questionable morals that has seemed to ring true for most fans.
And there have been more than ten incarnations of Batman’s sexy, sultry
nemesis/heartthrob through not only comics, but also movies, television
and games. This list will chronicle the best attempts to show just who
she is, what motivates her, and just what makes one of DC’s sexiest characters so completely awesome. Here are the top 10
10. Batman Returns (1992)
For the Generation X fans of Selina, this was the best version of
Catwoman to be seen yet. While Kyle was “created” through a mysterious
reincarnation incident involving lots of cats, her main goal was to get
rid of Max Shreck,
not necessarily take down the Batman. It was just an afterthought
having to go through Wayne to get to the energy tycoon, who happened to
be her horrible boss. Unfortunately for this version, she was more
insane than other incarnations, meaning that she was less “herself” than
in other versions.
9. Lego Batman (2008)
Not much for talking in the videogame, Catwoman is first seen assisting the Penguin
in his capers throughout Gotham City. Unfortunately in the game, the
characters only have limited theatrics to tell the story. Batman &
Robin must take her on in a number of levels and, in the Free Play
portion, players can actually play as her. This version is definitely
one of the more playful and you get to see that, even in Legoland, she
has a thing for Bats!
8. Batman: The Animated Series (1992-95)
While BTAS is considered to be one of the best non-comic
interpretations of Batman, it isn’t one of the better incarnations of
Catwoman. While it shows her as a cat burglar named Selina Kyle, who
also has a vicious animal rights activist side, the true representation
of her character is not there. Unfortunately for the show, it was made
mainly for the afternoon cartoon kiddie crowd, which meant that they
couldn’t really explore any love interest in a villain – too confusing
for the kidlets. At the same time, she was a blonde – oh the humanity!
7. Batman: Year One (2011)
This version of our friendly feline features a burgeoning thief/dominatrix
who is just getting her claws into some goods as Batman is, himself,
learning the ropes. Based on the eponymous graphic novel, Kyle is just
starting to embrace the villainous side, and has not yet figured out
that she really, really likes Batman, nor has she figured out that crime
doesn’t pay. Though, to be honest, she hasn’t really figured that out
in any of her incarnations, since she’s always after the shiny baubles
and the cold, hard cash.
6. DC Universe Online (2011)
It is interesting to note that, outside of Lex Luthor, the majority
of DC’s most recognizable villains are from Batman’s Rogues’ Gallery.
So it is not surprising that Catwoman and the Joker are two focal
points for the game, though Selina not so much as the Joker. And it is
also interesting to note that, while she is a villain in the game, her
mission for DCUO is to keep the citizens of Gotham City from becoming
cat people by stealing relics and defeating various cat archetypes.
We’re going to steal to keep everyone human – sounds like the ends justify the means!
5. Gotham Sirens (2009-11)
After the events of DC crossover “Final Crisis” and “Batman: The
Battle for The Cowl,” Selina decides to join forces with Gotham’s two
other sirens – Poison
Ivy and Harley Quinn. Considering her romantic involvement with Bruce,
this is not necessarily the best idea; it’s even exploited in one
story-arc. Interestingly enough, the three women together form a nice
juxtaposition. Catwoman loves Batman, but feels like she will never
truly be able to be with him, much like Harley’s feelings for her
“puddin’”, the Joker. Meanwhile, Ivy just wants all men to burn,
starting with Batman. That said, this is one of her best
representations as the anti-hero.
4. Batman: Arkham City (2011)
Voiced by famous voice actress Grey Delisle, Catwoman comes to life in this blockbuster videogame, which features an entire island
of Gotham taken over by criminals, and Batman out to enforce justice.
Fortunately for him, Catwoman seems to recognize the attraction in this
scenario and fully flaunts her, um, ethics as she chases after those
baubles again, while helping Batman and herself. However, once that’s
done, she is a playable character and can be a pretty mean combatant in
her own right.
3. Batman Comics (1940-Present)
Without her introduction by Bill Finger and Bob Kane in 1940, there
would be no reason to count how many lives this kitty has had. That
said, she has evolved substantially over the years, and it wasn’t until
the mid-80s that she truly morphed into the femme fatale with a heart of
gold. Previously, she was mainly the hottie
that Bats yearned for and was always trying to catch, even if he had no
intention of having her incarcerated. After about the mid-80s, she
started being depicted as the anti-hero with ambiguous morals, and an
obvious thing for Wayne. ”Heart of Hush” is perhaps one of the best
examples of this, as Hush believes that, by taking Selina’s heart out,
that he will take out Wayne’s heart. Yeah, that’s a good idea – piss
off the guy who can beat you six ways to Sunday, on Tuesday, with one
hand tied behind his back.
2. Batman: The TV Show (1960s)
Julie Newmar and Eartha Kitt are arguably the best known Catwomen of
TV fame. While Newmar first starred in the role opposite Adam West as
Batman, it was Kitt’s earthy performance – and the first African-American
version – that got most people’s attention. Unfortunately, throughout
the show, Catwoman is literally just a cat burglar who boggles Batman
with her wily ways. She may not have been the anti-hero most fans have
come to love, but she’s the femme fatale that everyone recognizes from
these beautiful ladies. And, for many of the older fans of Catwoman,
these personifications set the bar for all to follow.
1. Catwoman Comics (1993-Present)
It was during this time period, with her own comic series, that
Selina has truly came into her own, for obvious reasons. In this
series, she developed more than just her burglary skills, as her ethics
were brought into question, with her truly doing acts of good, via her
“the ends justify the means” attitude. Case in point, Batman: KnightQuest
– she has a run-in with Jean-Paul Valley, the avenging Azrael, who
takes over for Bats after Bane breaks his back. During this issue run,
she does a few felonious acts, in an attempt to keep Big Money from
destroying millions of acres of third world land in the name of
development. Also during this time in the comics, she has one of her
sultriest outfits – the infamous purple catsuit.
Dishonorable Mention: Catwoman (2004)
This, painful as it is to say, is the stinker that may have nailed the coffin
shut on any other possible standalone movie for our favorite felonious
feline. Halle Berry, while a sight for sure, made everyone’s eyes sore
with her portrayal. Add the bad script and obvious lack of any
continuity within the DC Universe (even changing her street name to
Patience Phillips for absolutely no explainable reason), and this movie
becomes more than just a laughingstock. If poor Selina had any lives
left, they would have been rescinded after this horrible flick!