Friday, September 28, 2007

Date Knight (DC comics)
Solo #1 When: December 2004
Why: Darwyn Cooke How: Tim Sale

The story so far...
A string of clues lead the Dark Knight Detective to a Gotham City museum exibit, where someone has broken in; neutralized the nightguard; disabled security systems; and breached the defenses of an expensive cat artifact.
So why is the statue still in it's case?

It seems Catwoman wants to play, and the perfect way to get the attentions of her Bat-themed lover is a midnight burglary, complete with scented clues to lead him to their rendezvous.

The sassy Selina Kyle leads the Batman on a pursuit across the Gotham skyline, in a date night only she could provide. Will the Dark Knight pursue criminal justice, or when the cheque arrives, will he do the gentlemanly thing? Mmmreow, stay tuned to find out!

Previous Form:
Batman (#2): Suffered his first recorded defeat at the hands of Catwoman.
Catwoman (#41): Has tussled with the likes of Batman, Elektra and Triple Threat.

Tale of the tape...
Strength: Batman 3 (Athlete)
Intelligence: Batman 5 (Professor)
Speed: Catwoman 3 (Athlete)
Stamina: Batman 5 (Marathon Man)
Agility: Catwoman 4 (Gymnast)
Fighting Ability: Batman 5 (Martial Artist)
Energy Powers: Batman 4 (Arsenal)

- Batman is highly skilled in multiple forms of hand-to-hand combat, complimented by his peak physical conditioning. This allows him maximum mobility and strength for a human being without super powers.

- Batman, aka; Bruce Wayne, sponsors his war on crime with the inhereted fortune of his deceased parents. This allows him great freedom both as a sociallite, and a man who occasionally reigns destruction upon Gotham.

- Catwoman has no known powers, but is at the height of physical fitness. Like Batman, she can be regularly seen on the Gotham rooftops, traversing them with ease via means acrobatic, and of cable.

- Over the years a sexual tension between the characters has been evident, perhaps allowing Catwoman an offensive x-factor not usually affronted to the Dark Knight Detective. The unlikely equaliser has been illustrated in other confrontations between the characters [Batman: The Mad Monk #1].

- Additional to the previous; as of the Hush storyline, Batman has revealed his secrety identity to Catwoman whilst fulfilling a romantic relationship with her. This affords Catwoman more intimate knowledge of her foe, and allows her the opportunity to get closer than ever before [JLA #118].

What went down...
Having lured Batman to the museum, it doesn't take Selina Kyle long to emerge from the shadows. Looking for fun she charges the Dark Knight, knocking him through a large window, out into the picturesque vista of the Gotham City evening skyline.

Batman manages to throw a batline to snag a gargoyle, but Catwoman takes control of the situation, snipping the cable with her glove's talon-esque claws.
The two plummet Earthbound, coming to land in a street merchant's rose cart.

Catwoman springs from the wreckage of the wooden cart, playfully acknowledging the vaguely romantic connotations of the situation.

She leaps atop a truck moving through traffic, with the Batman following in hot pursuit.

The Dark Knight takes on Catwoman like a raging bull, yanking her from atop the moving vehicle, back into the Gotham evening air. His reckless abandon sends the pair hurtling uncontrollably toward a restaurant, much to Catwoman's commentating delight.

The duelling lovers smash through the large windows of the Gotham eatery, spilling champagne and shrimp alike.
The Catwoman doesn't pass up the opportunity for a quick bite, "How risque!"

Making for the exit, the pair pass through the alley, resuming their sprint upward to the rooftops once more. Catwoman makes the first leap, but the Batman catches up with her once more.

"I'll dance with you big stuff -- but I lead, n'est-ce pas?"
Catwoman expertly rolls through the Batman's tackle, turning the tide of the tumble to put her back on top -- just the way she likes it!

With Catwoman leaping ahead, Batman pursues, only to be ambushed from behind. A diving kick sees the Dark Knight sent flying from the roof, caught embarassingly by the ankle with his own bat-line.

Catwoman comes to a perch, playfully mocking the stoic Batman;
"I don't care what the other girls say. You're fun."

Batman receives a kiss or four for his troubles, and an invitation to do it all again the following Saturday. Left to find his own way out of being hung upside down, the Batman seems less than enthused.

The hammer...
A cheeky conclusion to a delightfully playful outing for the Bat and the Cat, with Catwoman coming out the better. Then again, doesn't she always? Mwah-mwah.

It took a disturbing amount of fiddling around with contrasts and hues to even come close to matching the masterful colours of Dave Stewart. So awesome are Mr. Stewart's colours that my scanner literally can't handle them. I had similar, if slightly less prominent problems on things like New Frontier. I have not ruled out the possibility that Dave Stewart has the powers of Mr. Terrific.

That isn't really a commentary on the work as much as it is an alert to how redundant the technology I'm using is. It's... It's a super-power in itself, I think, that I was able to act as publisher/editor of my own comic book, The Kirby Martin Inquest. Yeah, it's been a while since I've mentioned it, and I thought it would be a nice iopportunity to just gently remind everyone it's still out there after I braved illness to do yesterday's post.

Actually, I'll be honest, I was probably more insightful in a haze of hayfever than I am usually. Like creative experimentation with illicit recreational drugs, maybe I should just consider surrounding myself with animals, rugs and newspapers in an effort to trigger further allergy inspired genius. On the other hand, I might not want to wish that self-induced nightmare on myself, and will quickly backtrack in, in writing no-less.

Anyway -- we are gathered here to discuss Catwoman, who remains the most prominent female influence in the macho-primo world of the Batman.

We started to talk a little bit about my feelings concerning Gotham, and the way it affects the people who are born and bred there. It's a quality that permeates through the architecture, to law enforcement, to criminal element.

There's a mysterious something that ties Gotham together with a stale sense of corruption, which is where I think Catwoman has a place in Batman's life.

Batman is a character who is obsessively driven to combat all he perceives as wrong in the world, by any means necessary. Batman is at his best when he's threatening and terrifying criminals with his own brutal form of non-lethal justice. In this respect he is almost the corrupted form of justice, representing vigilantism in it's angriest, most dangerous form.

Out of that you have the humanising elements in Batman/Bruce Wayne's life, which is where you find an indulgance and desire for someone like Catwoman.
It's written all over the pages of this very entry. I'm not going to suggest that Darwyn Cooke's script is specifically written for the period when Batman and Catwoman were sharing a bed, but there's a quality of acceptance in Batman who no longer sees Catwoman as an evil worthy of his unrelenting pursuit.

It's the corruption that lies within even the good of Gotham that allows him to recognise the internal purity of Selina Kyle, while be seduced with the confident, challenging sass that personifies her character. She's a little bit dangerous, and a little bit of a challenge, and I like to think that excites a mind like Batman.

There's a popular theory that if you fight something, you become it, and it's from that perspective that I think all of this originates. For Catwoman, her ties with the criminal underworld are perhaps justified under a similar pretense to Batman's intelligence methods. For Kyle, the rich are presumably the deserving of her crimes that keep her in the loop, which allows her the luxury of keeping a close watch on all things villainous. We saw this during the gathering of the Society, which ultimately led Hugo Strange to pit his pawns against her.

The Catwoman character is almost the kind of cliche female activists should hate. She's the kind of character who, when discussed, almost demands the use of the word "sassy", which in itself is potentially insulting in it's referencial connotation. It's the over-sexed pin-up who could be argued to think she's using sex as a weapon, but is really debasing herself to a level controlled by her peers.

Maybe there's a validity to that argument, and maybe it further plays into the theory that working so close to corruption makes you slightly blind to it's affections. Then again, maybe Selina Kyle really does represent the ultimate street-level female hero, liberated and confident in her own abilities.

Which begs the question of how her character may be changing.
Under the direction of Will Pfeifer, Seilna Kyle has not only continued to maintain relationships with a new supporting cast, but has also now given birth!

If Catwoman's greatest strength was self-deriving confidence, how then does this new weakness potentially affect her? Does this strengthen her distanced relationship with Batman, seeing him as a now required ally, or does she withdraw from a life that puts everyone near her in danger? More to the point, does this lead us down an inevitable path of a dead infant? We can only imagine some hesitance every time Catwoman goes for the fridge...

So, I mentioned Bahlactus yesterday...
Bahlactus, bloody Bahlactus. Oh, it seems our unique brand of fight-league statistics and ham-fisted critiques aren't hot enough for Mr. Purple Mini-Skirt's Friday Night dress code! Well, pardon me for not getting our required seventeen thousand words out of a single picture of Captain America kicking a mono on an army of Hydra goons atop a jet-powered Steranko-cycle!
Forgive me for thinking two years might have earnt me a little good will!

No, it's all in good fun! Although, if anyone wants to ring the bell, I'll gladly sew leather patches on the elbows of my leather catsuit so school can be back in.
Mmm, hammer-time! Speaking of which, the sucka punching begins soon.
Not quite as early as the Infinite Wars, but y'know... *wink*

EDIT (29th): My mistake! The good word is the Infinite Wars will spill over to the Night of Fights once again, starting next week. What's that sound? The bell ringing, my friend. Take a seat! "Bahlactus has spoken."

It would be remiss of me to not throw out a mention for the most fantastic Friday contribution from Bully [Time waits for no man...]. Super-cool, and ominously relevant as we brace ourselves for a month of DOOM!

Anyway, I'm shagged and still suffering the effects of allergies. I already have no recollection of what went on here today, and I don't know if I'll see you tomorrow, but there'll probably be some Street Fighting on the weekend.

The Fight: 6.5 The Issue: 7
[Solo was a breath of inspiration, leading incredibly well with the Tim Sale issue. This remains a sorely missed title from DC's line-up, with so many talents never having contributed. The return of MCP might fill the void to some extent, but I can't imagine anything topping such an exciting read.]

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