Another baddie joins Batman’s comic book rogues’ gallery in Catwoman #43, and fans of Batman: The Animated Series may recognize her. On the final page of the issue, written by Tini Howard with art by Bengal, colors by Jordie Bellaire, and letters by Tom Napolitano, a red jumpsuit-wearing woman introduces herself as Red Claw – AKA the terrorist leader who appeared in Batman: The Animated Series for three episodes across seasons 1 and 2.
Red Claw was created specifically for the animated series, so it’s interesting to see her make her comics debut 30 years later. Her history is strongly tied to Catwoman, so it makes sense that her first comics appearance is in the Catwoman ongoing. In fact, the first words she speaks – ‘Hello, Catwoman. I am Red Claw. You have more to fear from me than from any man’ – immediately tie them together and establish ill intent. Red Claw isn’t here to joke around; she’s ready for a fight.
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And Catwoman #44 is teased as ‘Cat vs. Claw,’ which also calls back to Batman: The Animated Series.
In the classic cartoon, Red Claw is vaguely Eastern European and voiced by Kate Mulgrew. She’s the founder of the terrorist organization Multigon, which operates as a global development company based out of Gotham City. The character first appears in season 1, episode 1, ‘The Cat and the Claw Part I.’ She and her agents steal a plague, and to prevent her from releasing it, Batman and Catwoman have to set aside their differences and work as a team.
The circumstances of Red Claw’s arrival are much different in the comics. In Catwoman #43, Selina Kyle and Harley Quinn go on a weekend getaway, fight a bunch of assassins, and then join a roller derby team. Red Claw shows up in the locker room and confronts Selina in her derby clothes, then claims to be more dangerous than the creep who’s been tailing Selina and Harley on the road (and may have been sent by Black Mask, though that’s inconclusive). Is Red Claw responsible for the tail? Did she decide to get the job done herself? However long she sticks around in the comics, she’ll certainly provide a new challenge.
Maybe Red Claw’s appearance will lead to one of the best Catwoman stories of all time.