Selina Kyle moves back to the Gotham City neighborhood of Alleytown where she grew up and immediately takes three young street thieves under her wing.
Warning: Spoilers for Catwoman #25
For years, comic book superheroes have assembled groups of like-minded crime fighters colloquially known as “families.” In some instances, such as with the Fantastic Four, some team members are actually blood relatives, but more commonly the squads are comprised of unrelated heroes with similar goals or backgrounds. DC Comics’ Batman Family is perhaps the most famous of these groups. Former Batman villain, fiancé, and off-and-on ally Catwoman has recently been affiliated with the team but, she’s traditionally an independent operator – until now. In the latest issue of her self-titled series, Catwoman has moved back to her old stomping grounds and assembled a Cat-Family all her own.
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After her parents’ deaths, a young Selina Kyle was admitted to Seagate Orphanage and then the City Youth Authority before escaping to the streets of Gotham. 2002’s Catwoman #12 reveals that Selina Kyle left a life of petty pilfering to join the Alleytown Kids, a group of adolescent thieves named after the Gotham neighborhood in which they worked. An elderly woman named Mama Fortuna recruited and trained the children and orchestrated their heists. Selina tolerated Mama Fortuna hoarding most of the loot, but ran away again when the leader of the Alleytown Kids turned abusive.
Flash forward to Catwoman #25. The Joker War is over and Selina Kyle has moved back to her old neighborhood. As she walks the familiar streets of Alleytown, a trio of young pickpockets attempt to mug the world’s greatest cat burglar and end up losing more than they gain. Kyle follows the would-be bandits to a derelict loft they call The Nest and offers to train them just as Mama Fortuna trained Selina so long ago. With the help of Gotham Detective Dean Hadley, Kyle and her “Cat-Family” wage a war against gun running and drug trafficking in Alleytown. Catwoman’s new wards seem capable, but Nightwing and Robin these kids are not.
Catwoman’s new Cat-Family is comprised of three young street thieves: Shoes, so named because of her flashy shoes and skateboard; Skidmark, who makes skidmarks on the pavement with his tricked out bike; and Billy, the oldest of the trio, who doesn’t have a cool nickname but does have a gun.
Shoes, Skidmark, and Billy are not as flashy or well-equipped as Batman’s apprentices, but Selina Kyle has only just started working with them. Certainly there’s room for these kids to grow. Catwoman #27, written by Ram V and drawn by Fernando Blanco, depicts the three crooks-in-training already providing instrumental support for one of Kyle’s high-stakes heists. If their association with Catwoman endures, perhaps these sidekicks will one day take on the mantle of heroes. Perhaps they adopt the storied Catman, Alley Cat and Catbird aliases? Either way, to miss the humble beginnings of Selina Kyle’s new Cat-Family would be a crime.
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