February 29, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Characters Case File #450: Sister Zero

Catwoman has a sister who is a nun and a vigilante. Sometimes.

Alright, here I am at the big 450th entry.  Who have I got?  Some great forgotten hero or villain of yesteryear?  Some character with an epic backstory that everyone forgot about?

Nah, I just opted for Catwoman’s kid sister.

Maggie Kyle first appeared in Catwoman #1 in February of 1989 by Mindy Newell and Joe Brozowski.  The basic idea was the Kyle sisters both came from an abusive household but ended up becoming very different characters.  My personal interest in the Maggie character, besides the fact so many characters in a superhero universe seem to be their parents’ only child, was that I had seen her twice in two different comics where she seems to be living two very different lives.  In Catwoman: One Bad Day, she’s working as a cashier in a supermarket or something, a stark contrast to her glamorous thief sister Selina.  Then over in Knight Terrors: Catwoman, she’s a vigilante nun called Sister Zero.  So, which one is accurate?  The Knight Terrors storyline is about heroes and villains being stuck in their own nightmares, so the Sister Zero Maggie might have just been a bad dream, but I did need a subject for this column, so why not look her up?

Well, turns out they both were.

Maggie Kyle, as Selina’s younger sister, took a different route from her abusive childhood in the form of organized religion.  She joined a convent and became a nun, later leaving the sisterhood to marry a man named Simon Burton.  Things were going well, but the thing is, Catwoman had made a powerful enemy in the form of mask-obsessed mobster Black Mask.  He opted to take it out on Selina through Maggie by kidnapping Maggie and Simon, killing Simon, and forcing Maggie to eat her dead husband’s eyeballs.  Catwoman would kill Black Mask for that (he got better because comics), and it strikes me that eating eyeballs is a really extreme sort of thing to do to a character in what is presumably a family-friendly superhero comic.

Now, here’s where I get a bit confused, and I suspect it was because of a continuity reset.  In both versions of the story, Maggie has a nervous breakdown.  Originally, she went into a catatonic state that gradually ended when Selina took her on a road trip.  In the other, there was a Black Lantern Black Mask, Catwoman managed to defeat him with back-up from Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, but Maggie was blaming her sister for what happened to her rather than, I dunno, blame the guy who actually did it.

Eventually, the Angry Maggie became convinced her sister was possessed by an evil cat-demon that forced her to sin, and having gone back to the convent, became the vigilante Sister Zero who found evil because she was convinced bad guy (and antiheroes like Selina) were possessed by demons.  As one does.

This is from the Knight Terrors thing, so it may not best represent the character.

So, what do I make of a character like Maggie Kyle?  I don’t know.  But a vigilante nun probably deserves the 450th spot if nothing else.