Greetings from the Odinson,
This week, we have a delicious match-up that we’ve actually seen before. These are two of Comicdom’s most beloved and dangerous femme fatales. They battled during the mid-90s big event Marvel vs. DC. But while the outcome of that first confrontation was all but decided before the first punch was thrown, things have changed in the last 2+ decades.
Let’s take a look, shall we?
Battle of the Anti-Heroes: Round 3 of 4
With a story as tragic as her Greek mythology namesake, Elektra Natchios has proven to be one of Marvel’s most complicated and interesting characters. At various stages of her life, both of her parents were murdered in violent ways. She had a brief, passionate but ill-fated romance with a young Matt Murdock in college, but that was cut short when her father, an ambassador from Greece, was assassinated. Elektra trained with Stick, the same man that trained Daredevil, and would go on to become one of the world’s deadliest assassins.
Elektra is a master of many martials including jujutsu, judo, kenpo, ninjitsu, Krav Maga, and Greek wrestling just to name a few. She is proficient with guns and bladed weapons, an expert marksman, and a master of espionage and infiltration. Elektra possesses superior strength, speed, and agility. She can shatter cinderblocks with her finger tips. Her preferred weapon of choice is dual sai. Elektra likes to do her work up close and personal.
Elektra is one of the best fighters in the Marvel Universe. She has held her own against and defeated some of the best fighters in the world including Daredevil, Razorfist, Punisher, Wolverine, and hordes of Hand Ninjas. Elektra is not invincible though. She was soundly defeated and murdered by the assassin supreme Bullseye. Brought back to life by the Hand, Elektra has fought hard to win back her independence and shake the influence of the Hand’s dark magic. No matter how much she fronts and puts on a hard exterior, Elektra will always have a soft spot in her heart for her one true love, Matt Murdock.
Selina Kyle, Gotham City’s infamous Catwoman, is one of the world’s most skilled thieves. Living on the harsh streets of Gotham at an early age, Selina is tough as nails and a born survivor. She is charismatic and highly intelligent and always able to stay many steps ahead of the law. Usually, she only steals from the rich and powerful. She isn’t evil, but she is bad. She does break the law.
Catwoman’s afterhours transgressions have brought her into direct conflict with Batman, the masked protector of the city. Right from the beginning there has always been an undeniable attraction between Catwoman and the Dark Knight Detective. The DCU is a big multiverse and in some worlds, these two star-crossed lovers have even married. It cannot be denied that Selina Kyle has zero qualms about breaking the law or even consorting with the vilest of criminals to get what it is she wants, but another thing that cannot be denied is Catwoman loves Batman.
Catwoman is an Olympic level athlete with nearly superhuman acrobatic skills. She is an expert at free soloing, able to climb unaided up the sides of the tallest skyscrapers. Honed on the rooftops of Gotham City’s skyline, she has mastered the art of parkour. She is a proficient hand-to-hand combatant, especially in the art of Gymkata, a hybrid technique combining gymnastics and karate. And she has razor-sharp claws that retract form the fingertips of her gloves. Plus, Catwoman’s mastery and skills with a bullwhip would turn Indiana Jones green with envy.
For 75+ years, Catwoman has always proven herself to be formidable adversary. She has held her own against Batman, Azrael, Batgirl, and Talia Al Ghul. You know Selina Kyle is a force to be reckoned with when dangerous criminals like Black Mask, Two-Face, and even the Joker speak her name with respect. With a single, strategically placed crack of her whip, Catwoman dropped Prometheus to his knees mere moments after the super villain had humbled Batman in one-on-one combat.
But nothing Selina Kyle has ever done before dropped my draw compared to what I have seen her do in recent years. I could give several examples of her having leveled upped considerably since the 90s but nothing is as stunning as the following. During the Everyone Loves Ivy caper, Catwoman karate-chopped not one, not two, but three Flashes into unconsciousness. And yes, they were all moving a super speed. As absurd as that sentence is, it’s cannon. It happened.
Even with the sudden emergence of Catwoman’s non-super powered ability to single-shot three of the most powerful meta humans in the DCU, I still couldn’t bring myself to give her the W.
I remember back in the mid-90s when Marvel vs. DC came out and one of the battles to decide the fate of both universes was announced to be Elektra vs. Catwoman, I was like Wha?! Catwoman is cool and all, but at the end of the day, she’s a burglar, and Elektra is a trained assassin, one of the deadliest. I never understood why DC didn’t throw names like Lady Shiva, Black Canary, or even Katana into the hat. Catwoman vs. Elektra for the fate of the world? That was like leading the lamb to the slaughter, and as anyone who witnessed the battle, that is exactly what happened.
All these years later, I felt Selina Kyle deserved a second shot at the title, especially given her amped up level of abilities in the modern day DC. Did I mentioned she K.O.’d three Flashes with her bare hands?
I still can’t bring myself to give her the win over a superior fighter the caliber of Elektra.
This is Odinson bidding thee farewell
NOTE: For past entries of the So Sayeth the Odinson blog, over a decade’s worth of comic book and pop culture articles and reviews, click HERE. Also, be sure to check out my novels The Survivors and Autumn Dawn, which were inspired by 1980s horror – HERE and HERE