www.cbr.com

Catwoman: The Accidental Resurrection of Holly Robinson

In Death is not the End, we spotlight the outlandish explanations for comic book characters (mostly super-villains) surviving seeming certain death. Today, we see how Holly Robinson accidentally returned from the dead.

Holly Robinson first debuted in the first issue of "Batman Year One" in Batman #404 (by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli). Holly is a young prostitute who lives with Selina Kyle, who looks out for the younger girl. Well, Bruce Wayne is out on his first night as being a vigilante. This is before he has come up with the whole Batman gimmick. He instead is just going with the non-descript look plus a big facial scar (as everyone will only remember the big scar when they come to describe him later). However, when he tries to save Holly from being abused by her pimp, things go poorly for ol' Bruce...

Soon, Bruce debuts his Batman costume but the Gotham City Police Department are none too pleased about a masked vigilante running around the city, so in Batman #406, they have a trap for Batman in Selina and Holly's neighborhood...

Batman gets away in a big spectacle (and he saves a cat's life during all of it, too) and that really makes an impression on Selina, so she decides to quit and bring Holly with her...

Then, at the end of Batman #406, Selina debuts her Batman-inspired costume. She will now become a thief known as Catwoman.

Okay, now here's the tricky part. Mindy Newell wrote an excellent follow-up to Selina's role in Batman Year One in a Catwoman miniseries in 1989 with artists JJ Birch and Michael Bair. It takes place during Year One and right after it.

In that series, Selina reunites with her sister, who is now a nun. Later in the series, Holly is abused by a police captain and Selina goes to kill him...

In the end, Batman convinces her not to kill the cop. Instead, she heads off for her life as a criminal, leaving Holly in the care of her sister. As we end the series, there seems to be hope for Selina's sister, Maggie, and for Holly.

That, of course, is what Ed Brubaker read when he later took over Catwoman in 2002 and he thought that that was where Maggie and Holly had been left off. It's logical, as that was their last published appearances. However, here's the trick. Mindy Newell actually FIRST wrote a Catwoman feature in the weekly anthology series, Action Comics Weekly, with artists Barry Kitson and Bruce Patterson. This story was set in the present day and Holly is now groun up and marries. Selina gives her old friend a stolen brooch as a present...

Catwoman then discovers that the brooch is very much a hot item and she goes to get it back from Holly, but it is too late, the bad guys have beaten her to the punch and Holly's house explodes...

In the next issue, we see how Catwoman survived the explosion, but Holly is not that lucky...

See, it's a fascinating approach by Newell. She wrote the sad present FIRST and then wrote the hopeful story set in the past, giving Holly a seemingly happy ending while knowing that she was destined to be murdered.

So Ed Brubaker and the late, great Darwyn Cooke revamp Catwoman in 2002 (with Mike Allred inking Cooke), giving her a new costume and a new mission to protect the East End of Gotham City...

Selina is drawn into this new duty when she runs into Holly, who hasn't seen her since that time with Selina's sister in the Newell Catwoman series. Holly needs help as someone is killing prostitutes in Gotham's East End...

In the next issue, Holly fills Catwoman in on what happened since they last saw each other...

Holly then becomes a major part of the series, as she is Selina's ears and eyes on the town. Later, after Brubaker left the book, Holly even temporarily became the new Catwoman!

Okay, so how did she come back from the dead?

1 2
The New Power Man Might Be Marvel's Latest Omega-Level Superhero

More in CBR Exclusives