Cult of the Cat
falls afoul of a cat-worshipping cult.
Story by Paul Dini & Stan Berkowitz
Written by Stan Berkowitz
Directed by Butch Lukic
Music by Kristopher Carter
Animation by Koko/Dong Yang
Kevin Conroy as Batman
Bob Hastings as Commissioner Gordon
Adrienne Barbeau as Catwoman
Scott Cleverdon as Thomas Blake
Jim Piddock as Martin
Tasia Valenza as Female Cultist
do make it look easy. The smooth stillness; the unaffected superiority;
the muscles supple and languid until they bunch for the spring. Dogs wear
their complex personalities on their tongues and strive to make your concerns
their own. But a cat's supine simplicity draws you into its world. Even
at their most dartingly restless, a cat is the still center of its own private
existence and is to be discovered and understood on its own terms or on
none at all.
Catwoman borrows the same personality, both in her character and in the ungiving nature of her episodes. She is no mere fetishist but the emodiment of the feline qualities. She is unsullied by self-doubt or ambiguity, so don't go looking for the drama of neurosis. And the simplicity of her motivesshe is after loot, nothing morenever resolves into a complex of smaller and more quixotic interlocking parts. You accept her at the level of her own highly polished, satin-smooth surface, or you do not accept her at all.
Fortunately, the makers of Batman do not make it at all hard to fall for this sleek creature. Whether in her original BTAS designa tender little sausage stitched tightly into a grey bodystocking; Meow Mix for tomcatting fanboysor in her abstract TNBA looka Chesshire grin floating above an ebony pedestalshe can set the viewer's tongue darting expectantly. Adrienne Barbeau captures perfectly the lazy, mischievous tone of a society gal who doesn't take anything, including herself, too seriously. And you will never catch her trying, either: that would imply some doubt about her ultimate success. Instead, she simply does.
But neither does she leave footprints. Her placid existence can be disturbed by neither crisis nor development, and so her stories hook no claw into our consciousness. You will take what she gives you in one of her stories (which is often enough) and you will ask for no more. In "Cult of the Cat," for example, you get smooth action scenes, droll exchanges of dialogue, a mystifying ability to defy narrative gravity, and a plot that against all expectation lands nimbly on at least three feet. (Compare the ability of this episode to deploy the giant-animal-in-the-fighting-arena gag with Batman Beyond's gone-to-the-dogs "Ace in the Hole.") But then it will steal out of your memory entirely, leaving nothing but the vague and warm feeling that you've been softly licked to within an inch of your lifeand the conviction that not a second of it was wasted.
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