|First Published:||July 24, 2013|
|Previous Issue:||Catwoman #21|
|Next Issue:||Catwoman #23|
Rat-Tail is dead, and it's Selina Kyle's fault. If she hadn't escalated the gang-war between the Rat-Tails and the Penguin by stealing jewels from the Cobblepot family crypt, the battle that followed would not have taken his life. On the other hand, if they hadn't stood up for their turf, the Penguin might have squeezed the Badlands neighbourhood for protection money until it had nothing left. Wiping tears for Rat-Tail from her eyes, she tosses the stolen jewels into the cement being used to fill the sink-hole that took Rat-Tail's life. Still she is hopeful that, somewhere underground, he is alive, and she will find him.
Thaddeus Volt's body was not found in the aftermath. Selina had seen him get shocked by a downed power line, and she worries that he might still be alive. In fact, thanks to her, Volt is quite alive - and he has been imbued with unexpected control over electricity.
Preparing for her journey into Gotham's Underground to find Rat-Tail - dead or alive - Catwoman visits the inventor Alice Tesla for equipment. Alice provides her with a wealth of technology that should prove quite helpful, and all she has to do to pay for it, is test drive it on a heist. That heist, as it happens, is to take place at a funeral home. This particular funeral home first cremates its bodies, and then uses radical pressure to reduce the ashes into diamonds. Though Selina is loathe to disturb a place of the dead, she needs the advanced mapping and GPS that Alice's invention provides if she intends to search the Underground for her friend.
Soon after arriving in the funeral home via its chimney, Selina barely has time to shake the ashes of a recently departed from her suit before a man attacks her, warning her to get out. The man appears to be a conspiracy theorist and paranoid, but Catwoman does her best to force an admission about the location of the gems from him.
When Catwoman returns to Alice with the diamonds, the inventor provides her with a fancy, but inaccurate holographic map of the Underground. Using it, Selina decides that her best bet is to enter through the sewers beneath Arkham Asylum and work her way toward where Rat-Tail would have fallen. Followed by a particularly stubborn and ugly cat, Selina traverses those sewers using the device that Alice gave her, unsure of just where Rat-Tail might be. Suddenly, the cat begins reacting strangely, and something attacks.
Elsewhere, Gwen Altamont meets with Trip Winter at a boxing gym, hoping to get her guilt for betraying Selina off of her chest. Trip has Selina on his mind, too, having felt somewhat heartbroken after seeing Catwoman and Batman together. Gwen explains that she needs to find Catwoman and beg forgiveness, surprising Trip, who didn't know she was missing. Though she knows he is angry with her, Gwen begs Trip to help her find her friend.
Meanwhile, in Charneltown - a region of the Underground that now acts as home for Doctor Phosphorous - he and his daughter argue about her future, as she wants to get married, and he would prefer that she stay in Charneltown forever. Phosphorus is currently the leader of a tribe of people who worship fire, and he soon receives word that his people have captured a woman. Though he calls his men off, Selina decides that a pre-emptive strike is called for when one is nearly lynched by a tribe of under-dwellers lead by a man-on-fire. Unfortunately, his heat and strength are too dangerous for her to fight against, and she has to give in.
In order to pay the debt for trespassing, Phosphorous explains that he wants Catwoman to act as a spy by infiltrating a no man's land between the tribes of the Underground to see if the Warthog tribe is secretly violating the treaty that keeps the tribes out of the place called Rock Bottom. The place is unique in that it is where the lava of Charneltown meets the water, and turns into something valuable. Phosphorus orders her to meet with the Warthogs and offer to negotiate for thirty goats, thirty pieces of silver, and his daughter's hand in marriage to the Warthog leader's son. Catwoman agrees to the deal, asking that Phosphorus' tribe help her find Rat-Tail in exchange. Though Phosphorous believes anyone who fell into the Underground is likely dead, he agrees to have his tribe look for him.
Once all is arranged, Phosphorous gives Catwoman and his daughter horses to ride to the Warthogs, and Selina can't help but feel excited to see just what else is hiding underneath Gotham City.
- Thaddeus Volt
- Alice Tesla
- Gwen Altamont
- Trip Winter
- Doctor Phosphorus
- Tinderbox (First Appearance)
- Gotham City
- The Badlands
- Workshop of Alice Tesla
- Young's Funeral Home
- Arkham Asylum Grounds
- Gotham Underground