Synopsis for "The Rules"
Catwoman recovers consciousness and remembers a moment from her childhood. She had just run away from the orphanage, and she was pickpocketing at a carnival when the owner caught her and dragged her to an empty wagon to question her. Once Del Halperm learned that she was all alone in the world, he invited her to join the carnival. Selina soon began training in gymnastics, magic, and trickery, and she used those skills to become a better thief. One day, Del was deadly injured performing one of his usual stunts, but he smiled for the audience regardless. Selina was devastated to see him die, and she wouldn't forget what Del told her that night: "Never let them see you cry. Never let them see you're hurt. Never."
Catwoman becomes determined and swims out of the river to a hideout she kept from her days as a mayoral candidate. She heals herself as best she can before returning to Gotham City to deliver the original discs to Batman.
Elsewhere, Vincent Nastacio, leader of Hardcases Inc., receives a phone call from the hospital. Natasha White tells him that Eddie Conway came out of anesthesia long enough to report a vision of Catwoman in Gotham. Nastacio calls on his military connections to get into No Man's Land.
Catwoman hijacks one of the helicopters patrolling the Gotham skies, and she forces the pilot to take her to Gotham. She barely hides her pain from the pilot. Nastacio arrives a few minutes later, and he also forces his way in and takes another chopper to follow her to Gotham.
Catwoman's pilot decides that instead of dropping her off in Robinson Park, he is going to crash the helicopter so the story sounds better to his commanding officer. Catwoman emerges from the crashed helicopter, injured, just as Nastacio's helicopter arrives. He tells her that she's coming with him, one way or another, but a voice interrupts him to say, "No she's not."
Azrael stands in between Catwoman and Nastacio. Catwoman escapes the scene, commenting on how Azrael is looking out for a fellow Gothamite. The city takes care of its own, just like her.
Catwoman makes it to the cathedral to deliver the discs. She confronts Batman about the tunnel he told her was clear when it wasn't. Catwoman hands over the discs and hurries to leave when Batman shouts after her to take care of herself. She realizes he knows about her injury and distracts him by saying she'll take whatever strikes her fancy besides. Batman warns her that if she steals in Gotham, he'll take her down, and she replies, "Good. Come and chase me, Batman."
Batman waits until she's gone to smile and say to himself, "Count on it."
Azrael arrives at Leslie Thompkins's place, dragging Nastacio behind him. He tells Dr. Thompkins to look at Nastacio, who mutters, "Catwoman." Azrael tells him to give it up. Whatever she was carrying has already been delivered. Nastacio realizes that he's failed and Catwoman has gotten off scot-free.
Catwoman leans back on a rooftop somewhere in Gotham. She feels sick, tired, and weak. The river water must have polluted her bullet wound. She tells herself to never let them see her hurt and never let them see her cry.
Appearing in "The Rules"
- Catwoman (Flashback and main story)
- Hardcases, Inc.
- Vincent Nastacio (Flashback and main story)
- Natasha White (Flashback and main story)
- Billy Wu (Flashback only)
- Rosalie Hernandez (Flashback only)
- Eddie Conway (Flashback and main story)
- Mercy Graves (Flashback only)
- The events of this issue take place after Robin #73. No Man's Land continues in Azrael: Agent of the Bat #59.
- There is a special thanks to Dennis O'Neil by writer John Ostrander for the Azrael sequences.
- This issue is reprinted in Batman: No Man's Land (2011/2012 Edition) Vol 4.
- Despite the established reading order, the events of this issue take place at the same time as Azrael: Agent of the Bat #59 and Batman: Shadow of the Bat #93.
- Catwoman Recommended Reading
Links and References
|No Man's Land Crossover|
This issue is a part of the Batman: No Man's Land crossover that swept through all Batman Family Titles during 1999. Gotham City was declared by the President to be no longer a part of the United States after the combined disasters of Contagion, Legacy and Cataclysm.