Ok, so, to know Cat Girl, you have to be familiar with the hero she hated and also really loved, the Jaguar, AKA Ralph Hardy: sexy zoologist.
The Powers of a Jaguar, like flight and invulnerability
While not technically a Jaguar, Ralph was a zoologist, and, if you're going by the reactions of any woman he talked to or fought, also extremely hot. He was on a dig in Peru, you know, like a zoologist does, when he chanced upon an Incan temple. There, he found a belt. A helpful English description told him "He who loves the animal kingdom may wear this belt and be transformed into a human jaguar."
Ralph Hottie, of course, put on the belt.
He wasn't really a human Jaguar. He was just a human with the jaguar powers of super strength, invulnerability, flight, and telepathy so he could control animals like Aquaman controls sea creatures.
I joke, but I should clarify that the belt contained the powers of the animal kingdom only "a thousand times more powerful." I want to be serious when chronicling this art.
The Jaguar wore a skin-tight scarlet, maybe salmon bodysuit depending on how the comic page had faded, with his jaguar belt and jaguar print boots. Just because you're a superhero doesn't mean you can't look good.
An odd note, and we will get to the villain, I promise, but if you've ever been skeptical about Clark Kent just having glasses, well, one, there's a video you need to watch - I posted it on villains.lol - which will both put that quibble to rest and leave you in awe of Christopher Reeve's acting ability, and two, the Jaguar is basically that, but instead of glasses, he has a pencil mustache.
Yeah, it's never addressed, but when he turns into the Jaguar, he loses his pencil mustache. He's very obvious modeled after Errol Flynn or Clark Gable, but the thing about those guys is...if you're looking at them without a mustache, you still know it's them.
Cat Girl: The Purrfectly Pawesome enemy with no shortage of Catitude I'm so sorry
Anyway, speaking of eligible bachelors, remember the story of Oedipus? It's apparently real. Yeah, the sphinx - the riddle-speaking monster that was the least troubling thing about that story, by the way, was modeled after someone far more dangerous: Cat Girl! The Queen of Cats!
If you're looking for a high stakes villain, Cat Girl is not it. She's immortal. She has basically all the powers of the Jaguar, and she loves to help animals. So...why is she bad?
Well, Ralph Hardy was in Egypt investigating a few new sphinx statues that some people discovered like all zoologists do all the time, and Cat Girl emerged. She had been asleep for thousands of years and she's worried that tourists are going to hassle the sphinxes? The sphinxes, by the way, were modeled after her despite her looking more like the 1966 Batman's Catwoman than an actual cat monster. Anyway, her motivation is cloudy at best, and the sphinxes come to life to fight Jaguar.
The resolution to the story is so nonsensically bad that I won't spend too much time on it, but after Jaguar beat her, Cat Girl disappeared. She had been kidnapped by two-dimensional animals who, hearing Jaguar fight her from across the multiverse, wanted to help their master by taking her and throwing her into a flat volcano. As far as I know that's not something that was referenced before or after and I refuse to read more Jaguar issues than I have to in order to finish this episode and look, I know we did an episode on the Roach Wrangler and Hellcow, but at least they made some level of sense internally. The only thing this did was make Cat Girl...feel feelings.
After that, her motivations really flattened out and she became singularly focused on getting with the Jaguar. Whether it was his assistant, a potential love interest, or Kree-Nal, Sea Circe from Space, any woman who came near him had to deal with Cat Girl.
See? It's Sea Circe.
And yes, what can be said about Kree-Nal, Sea Circe from Space that hasn't already been said...other than pretty much everything.
If you were wondering what Kree-Nal's whole deal was, well, she's a sea Circe from Space. She is a being from another planet who lives in our sea and turns people into monsters, like Circe from Greek myth. It actually is self-explanatory in an extremely wordy way if you think about it a bit. Her people crash-landed on earth thousands of years ago and they've been living under da sea ever since. With their telepathic powers they could transform the creatures of earth - including humans - to monsters. In that form they would obey the sea people. Sea Circe got bored and decided to take over the surface world and, when she spotted her own wily Odysseus, Ralph Hardy, she proposed that they rule the universe together. And he accepted. She said they were going to be so happy together...as long as he never got ugly.
I mean, people change as they get older. I'm not the same person I was at 19, when I met Carissa and she still loves me. Part of loving someone is loving them through the different seasons of life.
If I had become an actual Jaguar person the moment I asked Carissa out, though, she probably would have had Sea Circe's same reaction. And yeah, this was something that Ralph remembered he could do at the last minute and then, as far as I know, never did again.
Because Jaguar was the hero, one time he pretended to perish fighting Mole Men because...sure...and the three women in his life: the now-heroic Cat Girl, Sea Circe, and Ralph's actual love interest, his secretary, Jill, banded together to fight crime, forming the Jaguar Rescue Team in his absence. Turned out he was just hanging out in the basement, gaslighting them, testing to see what they'd do if he ever disappeared. Real cool, Jag.
Like everything else about the Jaguar, these supervillains fizzled out. The book could never really figure out what it was: was it zany super-science? A sexy zoologist James Bond? A monster-of-the-week time-traveler? It didn't really know and, frankly, neither do it because, once again, I refuse to read any more Jaguar issues than necessary to finish this episode.
- Adventures of the Jaguar #3-7
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