Red Claw enters Selina Kyle’s world again, only this time it’s not the world of Batman: The Animated Series.
The international terrorist leader makes her official DCU debut in the pages of Catwoman #43. Six issues into her run as writer, Tini Howard has not only brought Selina back to her illicit adventures but has brought back an old nemesis: Black Mask. As fans remember, Black Mask is responsible for the psychological trauma inflicted on Selina’s sister, Maggie. Further, he has commissioned the services of an assassin to deal with her once and for all: Red Claw.
Fans may remember Red Claw as one of the main antagonists in the 1992 Batman: The Animated Series two-part story “The Cat and The Claw.” It was also Selina Kyle’s debut in the show (voiced by Adrienne Barbeau). Red Claw, herself, was voiced by Kate Mulgrew, later famous as Captain Katherine Janeway of Star Trek: Voyager.
The head of an international terrorist organization of the same name, Red Claw schemed to obtain a deadly virus to hold Gotham for ransom. Her alliance with a target of Selina Kyle’s brought the feline thief into the crossfire. Subsequently, she was defeated by Batman and Catwoman and the virus was destroyed.
She later returned in “The Lion and The Unicorn,” this time kidnapping Alfred and an old acquaintance of his from his British Secret Service days to extract nuclear launch codes. Although she succeeded in launching the missiles bound for London, Batman via the Batwing intercepted them, and she parachuted out of frame, never to be seen again. However, she had cameo appearances in both Batman: Gotham Adventures #3, and the crossover comic series, Batman: The Animated Series/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Her appearance also coincides with the 20th anniversary of BTAS this coming September.
Of course, however, she is not the only made-for-TV Batman to make the leap to DC canon. Guest star Harley Quinn is one of the most infamous creations to transcend the world of BTAS. After debuting in 1999’s standalone Batman: Harley Quinn #1, she eventually got her own series written by her co-creator, Paul Dini. From there, her star power reached a point where she leaped out of the comics and into primetime TV’s Birds of Prey, with Mia Sara in the role. However, Harley’s popularity truly took hold of the fan zeitgeist when actress Margot Robbie brought her to life in films like Suicide Squad, Birds of Prey (And The Emancipation of Harley Quinn), and The Suicide Squad. Kaley Cuoco of The Big Bang Theory went on to both produce and voice the popular mature animated series Harley Quinn series with a third season on the way.
Getting back to Red Claw, this is not the same character that debuted 20 years ago. For her official canon debut in the DCU, Howard has removed her organization and made her a deadly assassin-for-hire, who ambushes Selina and fellow antihero Harley Quinn in the locker room following a roller derby. While little is known about her background at this point, it is clear that things are about to get rough between her and her quarry. And although Selina has Harley as backup, can these two manage to outmatch this deadly killer-for hire?
Stay Tuned. Same Bat-Time, same Bat-Channel.