PHANTOM SPACEMAN

Elseworlds, What-Ifs and Alternate Universes

I haven’t done this in a while, so I am bringing you a much belated double dose of Elseworld goodness. First up is Abraham Lopez’s imagining of the characters from Pixar’s “Up" as the dynamic duo.

Following that, we have some Samurai Era Justice League greatness courtesey of Chet Phillips.

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Elseworlds, What-Ifs and Alternate Universes

I have to admit, that Eric Y. Huang’s Batman Rouges Mash-up is probably one of the coolest concepts I have seen since I started this site. Be sure to check out his DeviantART page for more great stuff!

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Elseworlds, What-Ifs and Alternate Universes
This is what Batman would look like if he patrolled Hell, and not Gotham. Holy sleepless nights Hellraiser Batman!
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Elseworlds, What-Ifs and Alternate Universes

This is what Batman would look like if he patrolled Hell, and not Gotham. Holy sleepless nights Hellraiser Batman!

Be sure to follow us if you like the blog!

The Many Loves of Batman

Well gang, after several months and several love interests, we have reached, without a doubt, the most important of all of Batman’s loves… GOTHAM.

Batman’s place of residence was first identified as Gotham City in Batman #4 (Winter 1940). New York Times journalist William Safire described Gotham City as “New York below 14th Street, from SoHo to Greenwich Village, the Bowery, Little Italy, Chinatown, and the sinister areas around the base of the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges.”

Writer Bill Finger, on the naming of the city and the reason for changing Batman’s locale from New York City to a fictional city said, “Originally I was going to call Gotham City ‘Civic City.’ Then I tried ‘Capital City,’ then ‘Coast City.’ Then I flipped through the New York City phone book and spotted the name ‘Gotham Jewelers’ and said, ‘That’s it,’ Gotham City. We didn’t call it New York because we wanted anybody in any city to identify with it.”

"Gotham" had long been a well-known nickname for New York City even prior to Batman’s 1939 introduction, which explains why "Gotham Jewelers" and many other businesses in New York City have the word "Gotham" in them. The nickname was popularized in the nineteenth century, having been first attached to New York by Washington Irving in the November 11, 1807 edition of his Salmagundi, a periodical which lampooned New York culture and politics. Irving took the name from the village of Gotham, Nottinghamshire, England, a place that, according to folklore, was inhabited by fools. The village’s name derives from Old English gat ‘goat’ and ham ‘home’, literally “homestead where goats are kept”, and is pronounced “goat ‘em”, goat-əm (c.f.CHAT, a similar name which has not undergone a tth pronunciation shift). In contrast, “Gotham” as used for New York or in the comics did undergo the shift and is pronounced as GOTH, like the word Goth. In Detective Comics #880, the Joker mentions to Batman that Gotham means “haven for goats”.

In Swamp Thing #53, Alan Moore wrote a fictional history for Gotham City that other writers have generally followed. According to Moore’s tale, a Norwegian mercenary founded Gotham City and the British later took it over—a story that parallels the founding of New York by the Dutch (as New Amsterdam) and later takeover by the British. During the American Revolutionary War, Gotham City was the site of a major battle (paralleling the Battle of Brooklyn in the American Revolution). This was detailed in Rick Veitch’s Swamp Thing #85 featuring Tomahawk. Rumors held it to be the site of various occult rites.

The occult origins of Gotham are further delved into by Peter Milligan’s 1990 story arc “Dark Knight, Dark City”, which reveals that some of the American Founding Fathers are involved in summoning a bat-demon which becomes trapped beneath old “Gotham Towne”, its dark influence spreading as Gotham City evolves. A similar tact is followed in 2005’s Shadowpact #5 by Bill Willingham, which expands upon Gotham’s occult heritage by revealing a being who has slept for 40,000 years beneath the land upon which Gotham City was built. Strega, the being’s servant, says that the “dark and often cursed character” of the city was influenced by the being who now uses the name “Doctor Gotham”.

During the American Civil War, it was defended by an ancestor of The Penguin, Fighting for the Union Army Col. Nathan Cobblepot, in the Legendary Battle of Gotham Heights. In Gotham Underground #2 by Frank Tieri, Tobias Whale claims that 19th century Gotham was run by five rival gangs, until the first “masks” appeared, eventually forming a gang of their own. It is not clear if these were vigilantes or costumed criminals.

Many storylines have added more events to Gotham’s history, at the same time greatly affecting the city and its people. Perhaps the greatest in impact was a long set of serial storylines, which started with Ra’s al Ghul releasing a debilitating virus called the “Clench” during the “Contagion” storyline. As that arc wrapped, the city was beginning to recover, only to suffer an earthquake measuring 7.6 on the Richter Scale in the 1998 “Cataclysm” storyline. This resulted in the federal government cutting Gotham off from the rest of the United States in the 1999 storyline “No Man’s Land”. This trio of storylines allowed writers the freedom to redefine the nature and mood of the city. The result suggested a harder city with a more resilient, resourceful, and cynical populace; a more dramatic and varied architecture; and more writing possibilities by attributing new locales to the rebuilding of the city.

Batman has displayed time and time again that he will drop any female in his life for Gotham. In many stories, he even romantacizes the city and talks about they’re long life togehter and even growing old together. They have been through their ups and downs, but Bruce Wayne can’t walk away from his truest of loves, Gotham. They say home is were the heart is, and Batman has given his heart to his city. (Sorry sexy single ladies of the DC Universe… There’s always Nightwing…)

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The Many Loves of Batman

Talia al Ghul is the daughter of the super villain Ra’s al Ghul, one of Batman’s greatest and most enduring love interests, and the mother of his son Damian Wayne, the latest Robin. She has appeared in over 200 individual comics issues.

Talia first appeared in Detective Comics #411 (May 1971). The character was directly inspired by the 1969 James Bond film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service and the Fu Manchu fiction.  She is most commonly depicted as a romantic interest for Batman, an antagonist, or a combination of the two. Her father, the leader of a worldwide criminal empire, considered Batman the man most worthy to marry Talia and become his successor. Absent a spouse, Talia was considered as an heir to her father and his organization. While Batman is uninterested in the criminal empire, he has often demonstrated romantic feelings for Talia.

Talia has saved the life of her “beloved” Batman or helped him on numerous occasions. The majority of her criminal acts have been committed at the behest of her father and motivated by loyalty to her father rather than personal gain. In pre-First Crisis, she was a morally ambiguous character. In post-First Crisis, she acted as an antiheroic figure, and brought about the downfall of Lex Luthor. Recent depictions just before and after Infinite Crisis as well as in DC’s The New 52 have shown her as a super villainess in her own right, such as leading the League of Assassins, as part of the Secret Society of Super Villains, and as the mastermind behind Leviathan.

The graphic novel Batman: Birth of the Demon (1992) explains how her father met her mother at Woodstock and that she was of mixed Chinese and Arab descent. Talia’s mother later dies of a drug overdose. This is a retcon of Batman: Son of the Demon (1987), which states that Talia’s mother was named Melisande and was murdered in front of young Talia by a former servant of Ra’s named Qayin who threw her into a prototype Lazarus Pit.

In her youth, Talia travels with Ra’s around the world. He teaches her hand to hand combat as well as the use of most conventional weapons, from swords to guns. She helps him in the management of various organizations that he controls. Talia first meets Batman in the story “Into the Den of the Death-Dealers!” in Detective Comics #411 (May 1971) by Dennis O’Neil and Bob Brown. In the story, Batman rescues her from Dr. Darrk, apparently the leader of the League of Assassins. It is eventually revealed that the League is just one part of Ra’s al Ghul’s organization, The Demon, and that Darrk apparently turned against Ra’s after failing in a mission (the usual punishment for this being death). At the end of the story, she shoots and kills Darrk to save Batman’s life.

Talia next appears in “Daughter of the Demon” in Batman #232 (June 1971). In the story, Dick Grayson is kidnapped. Ra’s al Ghul enters the Batcave, revealing to Batman that he knows Batman’s secret identity and saying that Talia was also kidnapped along with Dick. Batman then goes with Ra’s to search for Dick and Talia; in the end, it is revealed that Talia loves Batman and that the entire kidnapping is a setup designed by Ra’s as a final test of Batman’s suitability as an heir. Though Batman rejects Ra’s offer, he nevertheless returns Talia’s feelings.

In the years since Talia meets Batman, she is repeatedly torn between loyalty to her father and her love of Batman. However, she has proven an important ‘ally’ in her way; most prominently, she encourages Batman to return to Gotham City when it is declared a “No Man’s Land” following an earthquake, and he had lost his fighting spirit and did not believe he could save Gotham.

In the graphic novel Son of the Demon, Ra’s al Ghul successfully enlists Batman’s aid in defeating a rogue assassin who had murdered his wife, Talia’s mother. Talia witnessed the murder as a young child. During this story line, Batman marries Talia, which results in her becoming pregnant. Batman is nearly killed protecting Talia from an attack by the assassin’s agents. In the end, Talia concludes that she can never keep Batman, as he will be continuously forced to defend her. She fakes a miscarriage, and the marriage is dissolved.

Talia later gives birth to the child. The child is left at an orphanage; he is adopted and given the name Ibn al Xu’ffasch which is Arabic for ‘son of the bat’. The only other clue to the child’s heritage is a jewel-encrusted necklace Batman had given to Talia which Talia leaves with the child.

In the One Year Later story lines, Talia becomes the new Demon’s Head. However, the League of Assassins has apparently splintered and Cassandra Cain has gained only partial control.

The child of Talia and Batman from Son of the Demon is reintroduced to continuity in the story “Batman & Son”, written by Grant Morrison. Talia either does not abandon the child (called Damian) or retrieves him from his adoptive parents and allows him be raised in part by the League of Assassins. Talia gives him back to Batman as part of a grand scheme involving ninja man-bats and the kidnapping of the British Prime Minister’s wife. Batman is unsure whether this is his son but attempts to deal with the spoiled, hot-tempered child anyway. Damian, effectively raised to be an assassin, kills a criminal and nearly kills Tim Drake, the current Robin. Shortly afterwards father, mother and son confront each other on a ship, which is destroyed by a torpedo. Talia and Damian survived the explosion and Talia continues to keep a close eye on Bruce. Meanwhile, Damian is injured severely and undergoes a transplant of all his major organs.

Talia is prompted to read the history of Ra’s al Ghul to her son Damian by a mysterious figure from Ra’s past: the White Ghost. Unbeknownst to her, the White Ghost plans to use Damian as a vessel for Ra’s return. However, mother and son manage to escape before the plan is completed. After the escape, Batman confronts the White Ghost; he fights Batman, but accidentally ends up falling into a Lazarus Pit.

During the Batman R.I.P. storyline, Talia and Damian become aware of the Black Glove’s plot against Batman and begin devising a plan to help save him. They arrive at Wayne Manor just in time to save Commissioner James Gordon from being killed by assorted booby traps created by the Black Glove. This is referenced in issue 39 of the old 52. She offers to join forces with Gordon to save Batman. She and Gordon arrive too late, however, and are informed by Robin that Batman went missing and may be dead following a battle with Doctor Hurt.

Furious that her love may be dead, she sends out her ninja bats to murder Jezebel Jet, who plays a major role in trying to kill Batman. Soon after it is revealed Batman did not die, but survives only to be captured by Darkseid during the Final Crisis and then apparently murdered by the New God.

Following Batman’s apparent death, Talia apparently decides to leave Damian in the hands of his adopted brother Dick Grayson, who later takes on the role of Batman, and selects Damian to succeed Tim Drake as Robin.

In Final Crisis, she is placed on the new Society’s inner circle by Libra. Despite Talia’s interaction with the new Society she still behaves lovingly and almost devoted to Batman.

Following an operation in which Damian’s spine is replaced, it is revealed that Talia inserts an implant into his spine that allows her or anyone she chooses, including Deathstroke, to control Damian’s body remotely. She intends to use this device to force Damian to kill Dick Grayson, whom she perceives as holding her son back from his potential. After Grayson frees Damian, Talia reveals to her son that she has begun cloning him after realizing that the Boy Wonder has completely sided with his father’s circle during their confrontation. She is too much of a perfectionist to love her son after he has defied her in such a manner, and is no longer welcome in the House of al Ghul.

She is later revealed to be the mastermind behind the Leviathan, a shadowy organization formed to oppose Bruce’s “Batman Incorporated” project. She places a bounty of 500,000,000 dollars on Damian’s head, and declares war on Batman.

Talia appears as a major antagonist in The Dark Knight Rises portrayed by Marion Cotillard. Joey King portrayed Talia as an older child and Harry Coles portrayed Talia as a younger child in the flashbacks. She was also briefly depicted as a baby in a flashback. Early in the story, Talia poses as a businesswoman named Miranda Tate that has been ignored by Bruce Wayne for years after he sidelines the Wayne Enterprises nuclear fusion reactor project that she invested in. After he loses his fortune and seat on the board, he turns to her and she becomes the new chair and CEO of the company. She shares an intimate night with Bruce at Wayne Manor. Defeated by Bane and placed in a foreign underground prison, Bruce is told a legend by a prisoner about a child that was born in the prison and was the only one to climb out and escape. Bruce, while encountering a hallucination of Ra’s al Ghul, deduces that the child is Ra’s al Ghul’s offspring and is the heir to the League of Shadows. Based on prior information he learned pertaining to Bane being born in prison, Bruce assumes that the child is Bane. In Gotham City, Bane appears to strong arm Miranda into giving him access to the reactor, which he then turns into a bomb and uses to take over Gotham City. After Batman’s return to the city and near the end of the story, Miranda stabs Batman to help Bane and reveals herself to be the child of Ra’s al Ghul that escaped the prison. She says that her name is Talia and shows that she is in control of the trigger to the bomb. She has been covertly carrying on her deceased father’s mission to destroy Gotham for years and says that vengeance for his death is a reward for her patience. Bane is revealed to be her friend and the protector who saved her life as a child when her mother was killed in the prison. While trying to prevent Batman and his allies from stopping the bomb’s detonation, she is forced off the road in her truck by Batman and dies confident that her father’s work is done (having disabled the only apparent method to save Gotham), but is ultimately defeated when Batman’s aerial vehicle The Bat takes the bomb away from Gotham into the bay where it detonates.

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The Many Loves of Batman

In the story “Hollow Man”, Bruce Wayne has become romantically involved with a Ukrainian concert pianist named Natalya. She has a performance coming up at Symphony Hall, and she’s quite nervous. Bruce tries to be encouraging, but he’s simply stunned at her talent for the arts. He admires it, as most of his talents are in other fields. They are interrupted by Alfred Pennyworth - an intrusion that has become a routine annoyance for Natalya - and upon hearing that the police have found another child, Bruce admits that he has to go.

A girl has just been dropped in Devil’s square, and Gordon devotes a unit to catching the getaway vehicle, and another to picking up the girl. Gordon arrives just in time to see the girl get picked up by his people, while the driver who dumped her off is driving dangerously, as though under the influence. Gordon gives chase, but the target vehicle begins speeding toward the maternity ward at Gotham General. At the last second, Batman leaps down, kicking the driver out through the passenger window. He slips in through the broken driver’s window and rights the car’s orientation just in time to prevent it from colliding with the innocents inside the hospital. The kidnapper readily admits that he was paid by a strange “hollow man” to drop the kid off.

Later, Batman and Gordon rendezvous on the roof of Gotham City Police Headquarters, and Gordon is becoming tired of seeing children ruined by this kidnapper. He despairs that as much as they may try to stop the spread of evil on Gotham City’s streets, there’s always more bubbling below the surface. Batman tries to explain that this kidnapper will make a mistake eventually, but Gordon is too upset to wait for that mistake to come. When he looked at the driver of that car, he saw the same look that his son James, Jr. had; eroded. Something about Gotham City always seems to be showing him his worst fears. Batman comments that he thought Jim seemed different lately, but he turns to find that, for once, Jim Gordon has left without him noticing.

Across Gotham, Natalya practices her piano, but is overwhelmed by emotion when she makes a mistake. Bruce arrives at the door and she asks him for some moral support, if he can muster it. He’s come to take her to yet another black-tie event, and she isn’t dressed. Exasperatedly, Natalya complains that he is always there for the big events, but he is never there for the little moments - the everyday things, especially not in her life. She states that she doesn’t want to be the kind of girlfriend who is only there for the events; who is left lonely when it’s just the everyday stuff. As she closes the door on him, she complains that the life he is offering her right now is, frankly, boring.

Scarecrow has kidnapped Commissioner Gordon and is holding him somewhere in Gotham City. He has special plans for the Commissioner, and the Batman, too.

Bruce Wayne, meanwhile, is attempting to repair his relationship with Natalya, a Ukrainian concert pianist. She apologizes for her abrasive behavior from the previous night, reminding that she had a tough upbringing that taught her to guard her emotions. Her apology is short-lived, as she is upset again when Bruce momentarily forgets about her New Year’s Eve concert. She catches herself getting angry again, and tries to explain how she learned to be more open and forgiving; trying to teach him that he needs to let go of his own anger in the same way that she did. They are interrupted by yet another phone call from Alfred Pennyworth, who, despite Bruce’s attempts to hold him off, warns him to turn on the television immediately. A news report shows that the Commissioner has been missing for some time now, and Bruce leaves Natalya without hesitation to seek him out.

Natalya made her first appearance in Batman: The Dark Knight #9 (June 2012) and was created by Gregg Hurwitz, David Finch and Richard Friend.

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The Many Loves of Batman

Catwoman was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger, partially inspired by Kane’s cousin, Ruth Steel. Kane, a frequent movie goer, also mentioned that Jean Harlow was a model for the design.

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The original and most widely known Catwoman, Selina Kyle, first appears in Batman #1 (Spring 1940) in which she is known as The Cat. She is an adversary of Batman, known for having a complex love-hate relationship with him. In her first appearance, she was a whip-carrying burglar with a taste for high-stake thefts. For many years Catwoman thrived, but from September 1954 to November 1966 she took an extended hiatus due to the newly developing Comics Code Authority in 1954. These issues involved the rules regarding the development and portrayal of female characters that were in violation of the Comics Code.

Since the 1990s, Catwoman has been featured in an eponymous series that cast her as an antihero classy cat burglar rather than a villain. The character has been one of Batman’s most enduring love interests.

A popular figure, Catwoman has been featured in most media adaptations related to Batman. Actresses Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, and Eartha Kitt introduced her to a large audience on the 1960s Batman television series and the 1966 Batman motion picture. Michelle Pfeiffer portrayed the character in 1992’s Batman Returns. Halle Berry starred in a stand-alone Catwoman film in 2004, which was a box-office flop, and bears little to no resemblance to the Batman character. Anne Hathaway portrayed Selina Kyle in The Dark Knight Rises.

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Catwoman’s origin—and, to an extent, her character—was revised in 1987 when writer Frank Miller and artist David Mazzucchelli published Batman: Year One, a revision of Batman’s origin. She works as a prostitute in order to survive and wants to break away from her abusive pimp (and former boyfriend). She witnesses his crimes and, because of an event that occurs to her sister, fears for her sister’s life and begins to study self-defense and martial arts. Her teacher inspires Selina to become more than what she has been and she realizes that prostitution is no life for her, or for Holly.

Holly Robinson is a young runaway who idolizes Selina, but is much too young to be on the streets as far as Selina is concerned. Selina shares her home with Holly after she takes her in. As the story progresses Selina is led to a bit of burglary, she dons a catsuit costume that her now former pimp gave to her the day that she told him she was out of the business. After costuming herself so as not to be revealed, she gets a taste for burglary and begins to do it in more of a Robin Hood way than an actual thief. This is, however, how she runs into Batman. After a small confrontation, she begins to be inspired to stay in her costume and become the “Catwoman” after seeing Batman in action with others. Selina gets the idea that, if there is a “bat”, why can there not be a “cat”?

The 1989 Catwoman limited series, written by Mindy Newell and with art by J.J. Birch, expanded upon Miller’s Year One origin. This storyline, known as “Her Sister’s Keeper”, explores Selina’s early life as a prostitute and the start of her career as Catwoman. The story culminates with Selina’s former pimp, Stan, abducting and violently abusing her sister Maggie, who, in contrast to Selina, is a nun. Selina kills Stan to save her sister, and gets away with it. Most of this is revealed in the former series, but is expanded upon in “Her Sister’s Keeper”.

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Catwoman (vol. 2) #69, which provides details about Selina’s childhood, neglects Maggie’s existence. Maria Kyle is a distant parent who preferred to spend her time with cats, and commits suicide when Selina is very young. Her alcoholic father, Brian, is cold to Selina for resembling her mother (whom he resents for dying), and eventually drinks himself to death. To survive, Selina takes to the streets for a time before getting caught and sent first to an orphanage, then juvenile hall, “where Selina began to see how hard the world could really be.” Maggie’s fate at this point in the time-line is not alluded to. However, when Ed Brubaker reintroduces her into the comic, he implies that Maggie may have directly entered an orphanage and promptly been adopted.

When she is 13, Selina discovers that the hall’s administrator has been embezzling funds, and she confronts her. In an attempt to cover up her crime, the administrator puts Selina in a bag and drops her in a river to drown (like a cat). She escapes and returns to the orphanage, where she steals documents exposing the administrator’s corruption. She uses these to blackmail the administrator into erasing “Selina Kyle” from the city’s records, then steals the administrator’s diamond necklace and escapes the orphanage. Selina eventually finds herself in “Alleytown - a network of cobblestone streets that form a small borough between the East End and Old Gotham.” Selina is taken in by Mama Fortuna, the elderly leader of a gang of young thieves, and is taught how to steal. Fortuna treats her students like slaves, keeping their earnings for herself. Selina eventually runs away, accompanied by her friend Sylvia. However, the two have difficulty surviving on their own, and in desperation try to support themselves by working as prostitutes. The two drift apart afterward, with Sylvia coming to resent Selina for not inquiring about what had happened to her at the hands of her abusive first client.

In the Catwoman: Year One story, Selina (now an adult) achieves some success as a thief. Following a disastrous burglary, however, she accepts an offer to “lie low” as a dominatrix in the employ of a pimp named Stan. They plan to trick men into divulging information that might be used in future crimes. According to this storyline, Selina trains under the Armless Master of Gotham City, receiving education in martial arts and culture. During this time, a client gives her a cat o’ nine tails, which Selina kept as a trophy.

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Batman: Dark Victory, the sequel to The Long Halloween, implies that Catwoman suspects she is the illegitimate daughter of mafia boss Carmine Falcone, although she finds no definitive proof. Selina’s connection to the Falcone family is further explored in the miniseries Catwoman: When in Rome. Though the story adds more circumstantial evidence to the theory of Selina’s Falcone heritage, establishing that the Falcones’ secondborn daughter was put up for adoption in America, it also supplies no definitive proof. During The Long Halloween, Selina (out of costume) develops a relationship with Bruce Wayne, even leading her to save Bruce from Poison Ivy. However, this relationship appears to end on the Fourth of July when Bruce rejects her advances twice—once as Bruce, and once as Batman. She leaves him for good and also leaves Gotham for a while in Batman: Dark Victory, after he stands her up on two holidays. When the two meet at an opera many years later, during the events of Hush, Bruce comments that the two no longer have a relationship as “Bruce and Selina”.

Catwoman also appears in the Batman: Knightfall saga, where she is approached by Bane’s henchmen while robbing a house. Bane asks her to work for him, but she refuses, as she is repulsed by the criminal who “broke” Batman. Later in the story, she boards a plane with Bruce Wayne to fly to Santa Prisca. She next appears in the Batman: Knightquest saga, where Azrael is masquerading as Batman. She is one of the few to recognize that Batman is an impostor, later being present when the true Batman returns to the fold as he struggles against his successor, his willingness to save even criminals confirming his true identity for Selina.

In 1993, Catwoman was given her first ongoing comic book series. This series, written by an assortment of writers, but primarily penciled by Jim Balent, generally depicted the character as an international thief (and occasional bounty hunter) with an ambiguous moral code. Story-lines include her adoption of teenage runaway, and erstwhile sidekick, Arizona; aiding Bane, whom she later betrays to Azrael; and a stint as a reluctant government operative. The series also fleshes out more of her origin, revealing her beginnings as a young thief, her difficult period in juvenile incarceration, and her training with Ted “Wildcat” Grant.

During the Batman: Hush storyline, Batman and Catwoman briefly work together and have a romantic relationship, during which he reveals his true identity to her. At the end, he breaks off their relationship when he suspects it has been manipulated by the Riddler and Hush. This is the second story to establish that she knows Batman’s true identity. In an early 1980s storyline, Selina and Bruce develop a relationship. The concluding story features a closing panel in which she refers to Batman as “Bruce”. A change in the editorial team at that point, however, brought a swift end to that storyline and, apparently, all that transpired during the story arc.

In the Justice League story arc “Crisis of Conscience”, Catwoman fights alongside Batman and the Justice League against the old Secret Society, of which she had once briefly been a member. Catwoman appears to be completely reformed, and her love for Batman true (although brash and unpredictable). However, she has learned 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. Zatanna gives no reason for her actions, but in a flashback, it is shown that she had acted with the consent and aid of five of the seven JLA members who had helped her mindwipe Dr. Light and Batman. Catwoman’s response to this revelation is unequivocal: she duct-tapes Zatanna’s mouth shut and pitches her out a window (Zatanna survives the fall). Afterward, she is seen covering her bed with past versions of her Catwoman costume.

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Still unbalanced and uncertain of herself in issue #52, Selina is forced to decide whether to kill a supervillain. The Black Mask, in an attempt to “improve himself,” threatens the most important people in Selina’s life, from Slam Bradley to Holly. The villain had also previously tortured Selina’s sister Maggie by drilling out her husband’s eyeballs and feeding them to Maggie, which drove her insane. Black Mask learns Selina’s identity through his earlier alliance with Selina’s childhood friend Sylvia, who still harbors a grudge against Selina. Still thinking that Selina adheres to a strict no-kill rule, Black Mask is caught by surprise when Selina shoots him in the head. This action continues to haunt her throughout the One Year Later storyline, and it is suggested that this might have been the first time she had ever directly taken a life.

Following the events of Infinite Crisis, the DC Universe jumps forward in time. After One Year Later, Selina Kyle is no longer Catwoman, she has left the East End, and has given birth to a daughter named Helena. The father of her new daughter is initially unrevealed; however, Batman demonstrates great concern for the child and at one point asks to have Helena stay at his mansion. Selina attempts to live a safe and somewhat normal life, and gives up her more dangerous ways of living as Catwoman. 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 tighter. In addition, she is easily distracted by a common criminal. Although the situation is defused through Holly’s opportune arrival, the sight of two Catwomen active simultaneously 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.

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A twist occurs when Wildcat 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 Bradley has deduced that Helena is the daughter of his son Sam Bradley, Jr., and therefore his granddaughter (although it is still strongly hinted that Bruce Wayne may be the father).

Batman asks Catwoman to infiltrate the violent tribe of the 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.

Selina questions whether she should be raising a daughter when her life as Catwoman has already proven to be such a danger to the child. After enlisting Batman’s help in faking the death of both herself and her daughter, Selina puts Helena up for adoption. A month after Helena is placed with a new family, Catwoman asks Zatanna to erase her memories of Helena and change her mind back to a criminal mentality. Zatanna refuses, judging that such an act would be cruel to both mother and daughter. She tells Selina that she could never reverse Selina’s mindset, since she was on the path to becoming a hero on her own. Believing she can no longer function as a criminal, Selina decided to become one of Batman’s Outsiders. She quickly quits, however, and was replaced by Batgirl.

Later, in Detective Comics, uncertain if she should pursue her “relationship” with Batman, Selina talks with Bruce about Jezebel Jet, his current girlfriend, and then has a pep talk with Zatanna, whom she believes is also courting Bruce. Zatanna confirms and admits her feelings, adding that she has since chosen to forget them, but encourages Selina to open her heart to Bruce before Jet is able to “seal the deal.” Hush eavesdrops on the conversation, targeting both women as a way to hurt his enemy, Bruce Wayne.

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In Detective Comics #848 (November 2008), Hush attacks Selina, surgically removing her heart. She is delivered anonymously to a Gotham hospital. Batman receives word of her situation, and while he goes in search of Hush, he leaves Selina in the care of Doctor Mid-Nite, who is considered the superhero community’s chief doctor.

Batman recovers her heart, and Dr. Mid-Nite restores it to her body; however, the doctor also makes a prognosis on whether she can still return to her former life swinging through rooftops. While Selina is still in a coma, she encounters Zatanna, who apologizes for not warning her about Hush. She tells Selina that she was so happy about her relationship with Bruce that she ignored the other warnings in the cards. Zatanna gives her a little bottle supposedly containing aloe vera for her post-op scars. It is hinted that there is a little magic in there to help Selina with her recovery. Selina is sad that she might end up alone again. In the meantime, Bruce enters the recovery room and, believing her unconscious, launches into a soliloquy. He ends by telling Selina that he will always love her, when she opens her eyes and reveals to him that she was awake all the time and heard his confession.

During the events of Batman R.I.P., Selina and Bruce’s romance lasts only for a night because Bruce must continue to pose as Jezebel’s lover to bring down the Black Glove. While still recuperating, she pulls off one more heist and exacts her revenge on Hush. With the help of a few allies on both sides; Oracle, Holly Robinson, Poison Ivy, Harley Quinn, Penguin, and Slam Bradley, Selina taps into Hush’s assets, leaving him penniless and suffering from wounds inflicted by Batman.

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In September 2011, DC Comics relaunched all titles, deemed The New 52, which rebooted the DC Universe continuity. Catwoman’s monthly title now focused on Selina’s earlier days as Catwoman, but not her origins. The series begins with Selina frantically escaping from unknown masked men who are invading her apartment. After flitting from rooftop to rooftop, Selina looks back just in time to see her apartment blown apart by explosives. She turns to her informant, Lola, who often supplies Catwoman with information and various jobs. In this instance, Lola tips Selina off to an unoccupied penthouse where Selina can lay low for a few weeks, as well as a job stealing a painting from Russian mobsters. For this job, Selina infiltrates a Russian club by posing as the bartender. There, she recognizes a man from her past, who murdered her friend as a teenager, and Selina quickly takes her revenge. Once her cover is blown, Selina dons her Catwoman outfit and fights her way out of the club, making quick work of the Russians. Back at the penthouse, Batman visits concerned about Selina’s well-being. It is revealed through Selina’s inner monologue that she and Batman have had sexual encounters with one another before, and the premiere issue ends with yet another of these encounters. It is hinted throughout the series that they continue to have a complicated relationship and Joker even approaches her and warns her to stop being a love interest to Batman in his efforts to make him stronger in the Death of The Family story arc.

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The Many Loves of Batman

Barbara Gordon was created by Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino. At the request of the producers of the 1960s Batman television series, DC editor Julius Schwartz called for a new female counterpart to the superhero Batman that could be introduced into publication and the third season of the show simultaneously. The character subsequently made her first comic book appearance as Batgirl in Detective Comics # 359 (1967) titled, “The Million Dollar Debut of Batgirl!” Written as the daughter of Gotham City police commissioner James Gordon, her civilian identity is given a doctorate in library science and she is employed as head of Gotham City Public Library, as well as later being elected to the United States Congress.

In addition to appearing in other DC publications, she receives her first starring role in Batman Family which debuted in 1975, partnered with the original Robin, Dick Grayson. In 1988, following the editorial retirement of the character’s Batgirl persona in Barbara Kesel’s Batgirl Special No. 1, Alan Moore’s graphic novel Batman: The Killing Joke depicts the Joker shooting her through the spinal cord in her civilian identity, resulting in paraplegia. In subsequent stories, editor Kim Yale and writer John Ostrander establish the character as a computer expert and information broker known as Oracle. Providing intelligence and computer hacking services to assist other superheroes, she makes her first appearance as Oracle in Suicide Squad #23 (1989). She is featured in the one-shot comic Black Canary/Oracle: Birds of Prey (1996) written by Chuck Dixon, which later became the monthly title Birds of Prey starring both characters. The series depicts her as a great intellect uninhibited by her paralysis, skilled in the martial art of eskrima. Employing Black Canary as her partner and field agent, Oracle later operates as the leader of a full team of female crime fighters who engage in global espionage missions, under writer Gail Simone. In 2011, following a company-wide relaunch of all DC Comics titles, the character’s mobility is restored and she is given a starring role in the eponymous Batgirl monthly comic, as well as Birds of Prey, as part of The New 52.

Barbara Gordon is described as one of the most popular characters to appear during the Silver Age of Comic Books and is also regarded as a pop icon due to her appearances in the Batman television series and continued media exposure. She has achieved similar popularity in the Modern Age of Comic Books under the Birds of Prey publication and as a disability icon. The character has been the subject of academic analysis concerning the roles of women, librarians and people living with disabilities in mainstream media. The events of The Killing Joke, which led to the character’s paralysis, as well as the restoration of her mobility, has been a subject of debate among comic book writers, artists, editors and readership. Viewpoints range from sexism in comic books, to the limited visibility of disabled characters and the practicality of disabled characters existing in a fictional universe where magic, technology, and medical science exceed the limitations of the real world. Barbara Gordon, as both Batgirl and Oracle, has been adapted into various media relating to the Batman franchise, including television, film, animation, video games, and other merchandise.

Barbara Gordon appears in Batman: Beyond, no longer the dashing beautiful vigilante she was in her youth but a grim, bitter old woman, first voiced by Stockard Channing and later Angie Harmon. In “Rebirth”, the pilot for Batman Beyond, an aging, retired Bruce Wayne tells Terry McGinnis to take evidence to “Police Commissioner Barbara Gordon.” McGinnis is prevented from doing so, which leads to him becoming the new Batman. In later episodes, she reveals her history and revised feelings. She and Bruce developed a romantic relationship at one point, stating that “on the streets it was like ballet” but that “eventually it gets old.” When Batman did not leave his identity, she left him. “I don’t hate him. I hate what he’s become. Such a great man - so alone.”

She resents Wayne dragging another kid, as she believes he did with all his partners. Unlike her father, she states that vigilante justice “went out with the tommy gun” and insists Terry give up. However, she develops respect for the new Batman when he assists her in defending her husband, Gotham District Attorney Sam Young, from the assassin Curaré. While she never officially endorses or helps him (she never uses or develops a Bat-Signal), she no longer threatens to turn him in and continually looks the other way, acknowledging his assistance in some cases even if she never asks for it. On one occasion, she was prepared to arrest Terry when she apparently witnessed him murder criminal bomber Mad Stan, despite the fact that his arrest would compromise her and Bruce’s secret, but Bruce and Terry succeeded in revealing that Spellbinder had simply created an illusion of Mad Stan’s death; she subsequently awarded Terry with a civic service award as an apology. The precise future of Babs’ and Dick’s relationship - and, indeed, Dick Grayson’s final fate - remains unknown. However the story implies that Dick Grayson remains alive, quoting Barbara as telling Terry to try looking him up for some stories about how Bruce treated his partners.

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The Many Loves of Batman

Dr. Chase Meridian, played by Nicole Kidman, appears only in Batman Forever as the female lead. Kidman described the character as a “criminal psychologist who dresses like Jessica Rabbit.” Rene Russo was originally cast by Tim Burton for this role whilst he was still the director of the film and when Michael Keaton was still set to play Batman. However when Burton was fired as Director and rehired as Producer, Keaton quit in disgust. Joel Schumacher, who Burton brought on board in his role as producer, decided to cast a younger Batman, eventually Val Kilmer, and decided Russo was too old to play opposite a younger Batman. During recasting, Robin Wright turned down the role while Jeanne Tripplehorn and Linda Hamilton were also both considered.

Chase is a psychologist working with the Gotham City police and falls in love with both Batman and Bruce Wayne. She assists Bruce in analyzing a series of befuddling threats sent to him by the Riddler and also witnesses the death of Robin’s parents by Two-Face. Later, she learns Bruce is Batman after he invites her and tells her how he found the cave and is kidnapped by the Riddler and Two-Face in a trap designed to make Batman choose between her and Robin. In the Riddler’s lair, she is chained to the sofa before Batman arrives, and when she says Batman will come for her, to which Riddler states that he’s ‘counting on it.’ She and Robin are both placed in glass jars, bound and gagged, over a pit of water and metal spikes, with the Riddler able to release them at the touch of a button. He plans to determine whether Batman and Bruce Wayne can co-exist, will Batman save Bruce’s love, or the Dark Knight’s partner. Batman saves them both after distracting the Riddler by giving him a riddle and breaking the device and Chase promises to keep his identity secret. She visits the Riddler after he screams in the asylum he knows Batman’s identity, but when she asks him, he says ‘I am’ and shows himself to have made bat-like wings from his clothes.

Her name is a play on words; as a psychologist in love with Batman/Bruce Wayne, she is constantly “chasing” the psychological “middle” of her lover, Bruce Wayne/Batman, seeking to reconcile his two halves into one complete lover.

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The Many Loves of Batman

WARNING! Spoilers for the entire Batman Trilogy (Movie) lie ahead!!!!!!

Rachel Dawes is Bruce Wayne’s love interest who first appeared in Christopher Nolan’s 2005 feature film, Batman Begins. She was portrayed in that film by Katie Holmes, with Emma Lockhart as a younger version of the character in early scenes. Maggie Gyllenhaal replaced Holmes in the 2008 sequel The Dark Knight. Over the course of Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer’s film trilogy, Rachel becomes a tragic figure. The character has not yet made a transition to the comics medium.

Rachel is Bruce Wayne’s closest childhood friend. Rachel’s mother worked as a domestic servant at Wayne Manor, and the two would often play together on the grounds. After Bruce’s parents are murdered by Joe Chill, Rachel’s mother seeks other employment and leaves Wayne Manor with Rachel.

Rachel enrolls in law school and gets an internship at the Gotham City District Attorney’s office during her first year. After Chill is murdered for testifying against Mafia boss Carmine Falcone, Bruce reveals to Rachel that he intended to murder Chill himself, and is angry that Falcone had him killed, depriving him of his chance for revenge. Rachel is horrified, and tells Bruce that his late parents would be ashamed of him. She also takes Bruce down to the slums and shows him that Falcone’s criminal empire has worsened the poverty created by Gotham City’s economic depression, and states that every day more people just like Joe Chill turn to crime out of desperation. Soon afterward, Bruce leaves the United States and Rachel continues her studies in law school. Years later, she becomes an Assistant District Attorney.

Years later, Rachel dedicates her career to eliminating crime in Gotham, in the process making enemies of Falcone and later Dr. Johnathan Crane, Arkham Asylum’s corrupt chief psychiatrist. Falcone eventually sends two thugs to kill her, but she is rescued by Batman. Around the same time, Bruce returns to Gotham. Rachel is surprised that he did not contact her, and later feels disappointed in Bruce, taking his playboy façade at face value.

Later, shortly after her boss is murdered, Crane drugs her with his fear toxin at Arkham while she is evaluating Falcone, who has suffered a psychotic breakdown from the hallucinogen. Batman rescues her again, administers an antidote and tells her that Crane is working with the League of Shadows, a terrorist organization led by Ra’s al Ghul. He then gives her instructions for a plan to save the city from the League’s attack, after which he sedates her and has his butler, Alfered Pennyworth, return her home. She wakes up in her bed, remembers Batman’s instructions immediately, and delivers samples of an anti-toxin to Batman’s ally, Gotham City Police Department sergeant James Gordon.

The League starts a riot in one of Gotham City’s slums, and Rachel is trapped. Crane, who has now assumed the criminal alter ego of “The Scarecrow”, attacks her again. She defends herself and a boy caught in the riot by firing a taser at Crane’s face, driving him away. Soon, the city is overrun by Arkham’s inmates, whom the League has released, and Rachel and the boy are surrounded by lunatics led by Falcone’s henchman, Victor Zsasz. Batman saves them at the last minute and gives Rachel a hint as to his secret identity.

Towards the end of the film, Rachel visits the remains of Wayne Manor, finding Bruce and Alfred sorting through the wreckage. She and Bruce share a kiss, but she tells him that they cannot be together until Gotham no longer needs Batman. At the end of the movie’s novelization, she is named interim District Attorney.

By the start of the second film, Rachel is in a relationship with newly elected District Attorney Harvey Dent, creating a conflict between him, herself, and Bruce Wayne. Dent soon asks Rachel to marry him, but she does not have a clear answer, being torn between her love for both men.

At one point, the Joker confronts Rachel at Dent’s fundraiser, holding her at knifepoint. Batman arrives and fights off the men, but the Joker grabs Rachel and throws her from the skyscraper window. Batman jumps out the window after her, breaking their fall on a car below.

Rachel is next seen at the funeral of police commissioner Gillian Loeb, who was murdered by the Joker. Masquerading as a police honor guard, the Joker attempts to assassinate the mayor but fails when Gordon puts himself in the line of fire. One of the Joker’s henchmen is quickly caught; Dent flies into a rage upon seeing a tag with Rachel’s name on his shirt, marking her as the next victim. Dent promptly threatens to kill the man, at which point Batman intervenes. Rachel then takes shelter in Bruce’s penthouse at Dent’s insistence. There she and Bruce briefly rekindle their romance. He admits that he desires to turn himself in as Batman and hopes they could eventually be together, to which Rachel states if he turns himself in they would not be allowed to be together. He leaves for Dent’s press conference, where he sees Dent claim to be Batman and take Bruce’s fall. Rachel is disgusted, and gives Alfred an unsealed letter to be delivered to Bruce “when the time is right.” She promptly leaves the penthouse.

After Batman and Gordon capture the Joker, Rachel and Dent are kidnapped by corrupt Gotham City police officers working under crime lord Sal Maroni’s payroll working under the Joker’s orders. Batman interrogates the Joker and soon learns that the lives of both Dent and Rachel are at stake. The Joker tells Batman that he must choose which one of them to save and gives him both locations. However, the Joker has switched the addresses, with the intention of orchestrating Dent’s downfall. Batman speeds off, believing that he is traveling to Rachel’s destination. Both Rachel and Dent are tied up in rooms surrounded with gasoline drums and a phone-bomb, allowing them to talk to one another. Rachel tells Harvey that she accepts his proposal and wants to marry him. Batman arrives at Dent’s location in time to save him, but Gordon arrives at the other too late, and Rachel is killed in the explosion. The loss of Rachel, in addition to his disfigurement, drives Dent insane and he becomes the murderous Two-Face, seeking revenge on those he holds responsible.

Upon her death, Alfred reads Rachel’s note intended for Bruce, in which she reveals that she intends to marry Dent. She explains that while Gotham may come to no longer need Batman, she now feels that the day will never come when Bruce no longer does. She urges Bruce not to give up faith in other people, even if she has disappointed him. When Bruce relates to Alfred that his only solace is the knowledge that she would have waited for him, Alfred decides to burn the note, sparing Bruce the pain of the truth

Rachel doesn’t appear in The Dark Knight Rises, but is mentioned several times. Additionally, a picture of her appears in Wayne Manor, in Gyllenhaal’s likeness. Bruce Wayne is portrayed as still mourning Rachel eight years after her death, having given up the mantle of Batman and rarely leaving Wayne Manor. When Bane attacks Gotham City, Bruce decides to become Batman once more to oppose him. In an attempt to stop him, Alfred finally confesses to Bruce that Rachel chose Dent and that he burned the letter in order to spare Bruce the pain. This revelation puts a severe strain on Bruce’s relationship with Alfred, who then leaves Wayne Manor when Bruce decides to continue as Batman. Throughout the film, Bruce keeps a picture of Rachel. After Bruce and his allies defeat Bane, Talia al Ghul, and the rest of the League of Shadows, Bruce fakes his own death and passes his legacy as Gotham’s Dark Knight to a young Gotham City police officer named John Blake (whose legal first name is revealed to be Robin), and enters a relationship with Selina Kyle. In doing so, he invalidates Rachel’s fear that he would never be able to let go of being Batman and live a normal life.

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