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Kyle the Catboi is a homeless splicer from the Gotham Deep, the ruins of Old Gotham underneath Neo-Gotham.

Origins

Kyle is a lifelong, but largely unsuccessful, petty criminal. He spent his ninth, tenth and thirteenth birthdays in juvenile detention. At some point, after he had been abandoned by everyone who ever loved him, he spliced himself with feline DNA and became a "catboi", a subculture of splicers who live on the streets and survive primarily as informants for hire. While catbois typically banded together in groups known as "prides", Kyle was an outcast even among the dregs of society and forced to fend for himself in the Undergoth.

As a homeless child he was found by John Constantine, who took him in and taught him magic. Kyle thought that Consantine empathised with and cared for him and that he had found a friend and mentor; but in fact Consantine offloaded all the curses he had accumulated in his artificially prolonged life onto Kyle, allowing him to die peacefully. Constantine was buried in a "garden of light" in the lowest level of the Gotham Deep, past dangers that Kyle would not dare to face.

Years later he discovered that hidden verdant gardens full of fruit trees were popping up in food deserts in the poorest neighbourhoods of Neo-Gotham. He realised that they were traps and extensions of Constantine's resting place. Furthermore, if he could lure Batman into investigating them, he could get Batman to escort him down to Consantine's grave. He spread the word about the fruit and set himself up at a crack in a concrete wall leading into one of the gardens, charging children to let them in. One night a group of the kids he let in were dragged away by vines and he returned to the Undergoth to wait for Batman to come looking for them.[1][2]

Meeting Batman

The next day, as Kyle was hawking fruit on the first level of the Undergoth, he was approached by a man whose smell immediately indicated that he came from the surface, even though he was otherwise well-disguised as someone from the Deeps. Kyle realised that the topsider must be Batman when he offered to pay him for information but also that appearing too eager to help would be suspicious. He made a show of refusing to answer when Batman started asking about missing kids and where he got the fruit, and even pretended to bluff Batman with the threat of his "pride" when it was clear that he had no backup.

Batman offered to pay Kyle to guide him deeper into the Undergoth to look for the missing kids and Kyle agreed, feigning reluctance. As they journeyed to a hole leading to the next level that Kyle knew about he asked Batman to tell him his name, but he refused. They bumped into a gang that Kyle indirectly owed money to, but Batman easily fought them off. As they continued, Batman quizzed Kyle about his backstory, but Kyle refused to answer him until Batman identified him as a former inmate of Gotham Juvenile Detention and admitted he was too and told him that his real name was "Terry".

Kyle guided Terry to the hole and they jumped down into the level below. They were immediately attacked by Killer Croc, who dragged Terry away as he yelled at Kyle to save himself.[1] Despite this, Kyle decided to Save Terry, using his magic to knock Killer Croc out. Kyle pretended to be afraid and told Terry that Croc had probably eaten the kids and they should leave, but Terry revealed that he had worked out that the last Batman had built Croc's lair and put him there to guard something called "The Tomb" in the levels below. Terry believed the stolen children were in the Tomb and was determined to go after them. After a moment's fake hesitation, Kyle agreed to follow him down.[3]

The Tomb turned out to be the old labyrinth used by the Court of Owls to slowly torture their enemies to death. Terry was familiar with the labyrinth as he had trained in it for a month when he first became Batman, but he found that it was now covered in a bioluminescent fungus and ghostly voices moaning "Terry" echoed through the maze. Frightened, Terry and Kyle ran for the centre of the maze as tendrils and roots grabbed for them. They reached the centre and emerged in the Court's chamber, where they found the long-dead Court of Owls, now transformed into fungus-infested zombies.

The Court called for Terry to hand over Kyle, referring to him by name, saying that the "garden" needed the children and the one who "fed" them to it. One of the Talons had also become infested by the fungus and considered itself the new Batman. He tried to grab Kyle by Terry pulled Kyle out of the way and demanded that he tell the truth about what was going on and how they knew who he was. Kyle told him about Constantine and how he had deliberately sent the children to be captured by the garden so Batman would respond and help him reach it.

Terry used explosive batarangs to blow up the labyrinth and collapse the floor beneath them. He, Kyle and Talon fell into the dark void below.[2] As he fell, Kyle hallucinated being cast out by the Catbois, then taken in by John Constantine and inflicted with Constantine's curses when he died. However, Kyle realised that things weren't happening the way he remembered and Terry appeared in front of him, telling him that it was a hallucination.

They were attacked by the Talon, who rained down spores on them which began to cover them in fungus. Terry told Kyle that they still needed to finish their mission but Kyle said that he couldn't fight his fears. Terry told him it's not about fighting and the only way is through. They woke up in the Dark Garden at the bottom of the Undergoth and were confronted by three plant elementals who called themselves "The Roots".[4]

Terry told Kyle to find Constantine while he held off the Roots. Kyle used a scrying charm to track Constantine which lead him to a black tree in the centre of the garden, covered in the missing children suspended in pods. Black Orchid attacked Kyle and he was forced to set the Garden on fire to stop her and save him and Batman. Terry realised that Constantine was inside the tree and cut his way into it. Kyle followed him inside and demanded that his former mentor take his curses back. Batman also ordered Constantine to release the children but he refused, claiming that he was saving them from a coming disaster, but Terry refused to believe him as Constantine only cared about himself. Suddenly, the Garden was rocked by an earthquake triggered by explosions on the surface, and monsters under Constantine's control swarmed to the surface to reclaim it and build a "utopia" for the kidnapped children on the site. Batman had to return to the surface to save Gotham, forcing him to leave Kyle to face Constantine alone; but he told Kyle he could handle it, and that he was a "lion", not a cat.[5]

Kyle confronted Constantine, and told his former mentor that he knew he was not possessed or insane, and was the same person he had always been. He told John that he knew Constantine had come to care for him despite himself and was tortured by guilt, and was trying to atone for what he had done to Kyle by "rescuing" children and trying to create an Eden with the power of The Green to preserve their innocence. However, he was in fact just doing the same thing to the kids he had kidnapped that he had done to Kyle. Kyle found it in himself to forgive Constantine.

John said he didn't want or deserve forgiveness, and said that he was as bad as it got. Kyle retorted that he was just a sad old man who had made mistakes, that the world would be fine without him and he should stop what he was doing and just die. He admitted that despite everything, Constantine had made his own life a little better. Constantine said that helping one person was enough, took back his curses and finally allowed himself to die. Just before he expired he told Kyle that something dangerous was coming and he would need to be ready for it. Kyle held Constantine's body and gently cried.

Kyle returned to the surface and used his magic to become a vigilante on the streets of Neo-Gotham.[6]

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