Catfight covers the same time period and some of the same territory as Heard the Latest, with HTL introducing the rest of the Gotham cast while CF continues the Bruce/Selina story. The story begins with a brief but sexy escapade when Bruce visits Selina's apartment in the middle of the day and jumps her.
“Sneaky Bat,” Selina laughed to herself. Then she corrected the thought, “No, not Bat. Bruce.” It was four weeks since he’d made that startling revelation, and she hadn’t entirely recalibrated her thinking to accommodate the new information. The “guy inside Batman,” as she’d come to think of him, had a name. His name was Bruce. And there was a lot more to him than the brooding Bat’s dayface. Bruce could be charming, playful, sneaky, adorable, urbane, and even sexy in ways Batman could not.
He could be, but not right now. The hands pawing her legs and neck were ungloved, the face was unmasked, but this raw lustmonster was all Batman. They’d denied themselves for too long. And he was making up for every time he’d stared into those green eyes on some freezing rooftop, wanting her, wanting to take her in his arms and hold her, but couldn’t because he was the Batman and she was a thief.
The plot moves on. At the time, DC had Talia al Ghul running LexCorp after Lex Luthor was elected president.1 She immediately uses the position to begin spying on Wayne Enterprises, and Bruce employs Selina to beef up security - without telling her that Talia knows the head of Wayne Enterprises is Batman. They have their first Batcave fight when the truth comes out, but the situation is largely played for laughs, including a literal farce during a Wayne Manor party that makes us wonder why in a world of secret identities and multi-room mansions it hadn't happened before.
Talia is utterly humiliated, which is the norm for third wheel rivals in comedies. She will be treated better in later books but only when the story is ready for her to evolve. Catfight effectively introduces her in the series, establishing that she exists and that she is obsessed with Bruce. Cat-Tales was the first to identify her as a stalker, not a love interest, and while she is certainly delusional about she and Bruce having a destiny, it will later be established that her delusions are not entirely her fault.2
Nevertheless, the episode prods Selina's insecurities, particularly that Bruce is attracted less to her personally but to 'bad girls.' He reassures her with a symbolic gift of jewelry, the Cartier "cat pins" that will be an important emblem through the early series. Bought as bait for Catwoman, now given as a gift to Selina, the subtext is magnificently Brucian "You have been reclassified."
Like all Cat-Tales, Catfight can be read online on the Cat-Tales website or mobile mirror, and can be downloaded as an ebook or pdf, which is sized for printing at Cafe Press. It is collected in Cat-Tales Book 1.
1 Though HUSH would later point out she was in no way qualified (she thought knowing the company's products proved she "wasn't just a pretty face"), everyone at the time seemed to accept DC's ludicrous attempt to present the character as a Jane of all trades, equipped for any task in the modern world. Cat-Tales was possibly the first to challenge that idiocy and, more importantly, the notion that the rest of the financial world would have accepted it.
2 In both Times Gone By and Splitzville he admits he encouraged her in order to get to Ra's al Ghul, which is an interpretation grounded in comics, and deceived himself about his feelings for her in order to conceal from himself that he was using her in a cold-blooded and heartless fashion. This is not a fan fiction invention. In The Lazarus Affair, everyone assumed Batman was attracted to Talia and blinded to her machinations. In the end, it was revealed that he was perfectly aware of what she was doing and played along to learn Ra's al Ghul's plan and stop him. He was never the gullible fool that Robin and others believed. It's a far worthier interpretation of the character than later abominations like Bride of the Demon which make him into just such a fool, completely inconsistent with Batman's established character. It is laudable that Cat-Tales respects Bruce as a man, and it is fitting that it restores what DC took away by stripping the false laurels from Talia.
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