Published by DC Comics, Catwoman: Her Sister’s Keeper (aka Catwoman 1989: The Mini-Series) is a four-issue mini-series by Mindy Newell, J.J. Birch & Michael Blair. The comic – which carries a ‘suggested for mature readers’ disclaimer on the cover of each issue – focuses on Selina Kyle’s transformation into Catwoman.
Set during Batman’s early career, in essence Her Sister’s Keeper is a Year One-style book, which throws a spotlight on Kyle’s path towards Catwoman. The story is a companion piece to Batman: Year One, and Batman does make brief appearances in the story, but the Caped Crusader’s moments are very minor and (understandably, given the title), this is Catwoman’s tale.
What happens in Catwoman: Her Sister’s Keeper?
Part One: Metamorphosis
Selina Kyle is a prostitute who has experienced pain. She is left for dead by her pimp, Stan, but is taken to hospital where she is able to recuperate.
When she leaves hospital, Selina spends some time learning self defence. She also acquires a cat costume – initially intended to be used to please a client, but later repurposed as a disguise.
Part 2: Downtown Babylon
Selina roughs up her former pimp, Stan, but he doesn’t take the situation lightly. He keeps tabs on her, and sees Selina interacting with her sister – a nun called Sister Magdalene.
Stan kidnaps Sister Magdalene, leading to a police investigation. But Selina has an investigation of her own and is on the hunt for Stan.
Part Three: Gothic Baptism
Selina is on a mission to find Stan and Sister Magdalene. Meanwhile, Stan is becoming unhinged – begging for forgiveness, before attempting to kill the nun.
As Stan tries to kill Sister Magdalene, Catwoman arrives, and with help from Batman the sister is saved. Stan dies but Selina doesn’t show an ounce of remorse.
Part Four: Consecration
Selina’s friend is attacked by a prominent police officer. Selina can’t let the situation rest and seeks retribution.
Batman intervenes to stop Selina/Catwoman from crossing the line and reveals that she wasn’t responsible for Stan’s death – he died by accident. Selina then leaves her former life behind her and takes to the streets as Gotham’s latest costumed character, Catwoman.
Is Catwoman: Her Sister’s Keeper a good read?
Her Sister’s Keeper is a very strong Catwoman story, which doesn’t pull any punches. It offers a look at Selina Kyle’s life pre-Catwoman, by showing the dark sides of her existence – prostitution, violence, etc – while creating a credible reason why she would take on a new persona.
As with Bruce Wayne, Selina Kyle has experienced pain, but her situation differs considerably and the result is a different kind of costumed character. While Bruce turns to Batman for justice, Selina turns to Catwoman for liberation, and it becomes interesting to see how an anti-hero is born.
It’s also worth noting that Her Sister’s Keeper dovetails quite well into the events of Batman: Year One. A couple of key moments link the two stories together, and this helps to expand on the significance of that iconic tale.
Another plus point is the artwork. The colour palette (my favourite aspect of this story) also brings a certain dynamism and makes each turn of the page a joy to behold.
For me, Her Sister’s Keeper is a solid Catwoman origin tale, perfect for any Bat-fan who adores Batman: Year One. It adds a strong level of realism to the Catwoman mythology, creating a believable character in the process.
Has Catwoman: Her Sister’s Keeper been adapted for film?
Her Sister’s Keeper has not been adapted for him – but it should be! It would need to be fleshed out more for a live-action adaptation, but it would work very well as an adult-orientated animated feature.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post about Catwoman: Her Sister’s Keeper on I’ll Get Drive-Thru. For more Batman/Catwoman related posts, please check out one of the recommended reads below.