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Abandoned Love: Did the Joker Turn Catwoman Evil?

by  in Comic News Comment
Abandoned Love: Did the Joker Turn Catwoman Evil?

Every installment of Abandoned Love we will be examining comic book stories, plots and ideas that were abandoned by a later writer while still acknowledging that the abandoned story DID still happen. Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of Abandoned Love. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

This time around, based on a suggestion from reader Gareth J., we take a look at how Catwoman was returned to a life of crime in the mid-80s…

This one is a bit weird, since it is based on the early days of Post-Crisis DC, where there wasn’t really an agreed upon way of handling the changeover in continuity from the Pre-Crisis DC Universe to the Post-Crisis DC Universe. Things got even more tangled as time passed and characters were rebooted (thus leading to elaborate retcons to explain away certain things – like “the Thanagarian Hawkman and Hawkgirl appear in Justice League International as old members of the Justice League.” “Whoops, there WAS no Thanagarian Hawkman and Hawkgirl in the Justice League in the new Post-Crisis continuity”).

So Catwoman eventually just became a rebooted character period, based on the changes Frank Miller made to the character in Batman: Year One. However, BEFORE that point in time, Mike W. Barr, Alan Davis and Paul Neary first tried to use a case of Abandoned Love to return her to her traditional super-villain ways.

You see, Selina Kyle returned to the Bat-books in the very early 80s (I guess technically very late 1979) as a reformed character…


After a brief romance between Bruce and Selina as just Selina, Selina took up the Catwoman identity again, this time as a good guy, even getting her own backup stories…



Fast-forward a few years and a few different Batman writers, and in Detective Comics #557, Batman declares his love for Selina…


The two even go out on a date in Batman #392…



The relationship fizzles out, though, and in Batman #399, they end it…



That’s where things stand in 1986’s Detective Comics #569 (by Barr, Davis and Neary), which is only a year after Bruce declared his love for Selina!


So no romance, but they’re still working together as good guys.

The Joker, though, doesn’t like this new arrangement, so he captures Catwoman…


And then uses the evil Dr. Moon to brainwash her…


In the following issue, Catwoman is still in a daze from the treatment, but as the Joker escapes with her, he manages to finally turn her against Batman…



And as the issue ends, the reversion to evil is complete, despite Batman insisting to Catwoman that this is not the “true” her…


Again, as noted, this turned out to be an Abandoned Love that was all for naught, as Catwoman would later be rebooted Post-Crisis to bring her more in line with the changes Frank Miller made in Batman: Year One, but Barr and Davis didn’t know that when they did this story, so it is still a case of Abandoned Love. It is very similar to what Howard Mackie and John Byrne did with the Sandman.

Thanks for the suggestion, Gareth!

If anyone out there has a suggestion for a future Abandoned Love, drop me a line at bcronin@comicbookresources.com