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Joker Confesses He Actually Respects One Much-Mocked Gotham Villain

Warning: contains preview pages for Joker Annual 2021!

When compiling a list of Gotham's greatest villains, Catman wouldn't be many fans’ first choice, but in a special preview for Joker Annual 2021, the Clown Prince of Crime confesses he actually respects his abilities and tries to recruit him for a heist he is planning - of course, this being the Joker, things may not be what they seem. The annual, written by James Tynion IV and Matthew Rosenberg, with art by Francesco Francavilla and letters by Tom Napolitano. It goes on sale in print and digital November 30.

Catman first appeared in 1963’s Detective Comics #311, created by Bill Finger and Jim Mooney. Catman, whose real name is Thomas Blake, is a former big-game trapper turned burglar. Regarded as a cheap knock-off of Catwoman, he made sporadic appearances over the years, most of which treated him as a punchline. However, starting in 2006’s miniseries Villains United, writer Gail Simone radically changed Catman, making him into a confident and self-assured leader. Unsatisfied with his life, Catman moved to Africa, running with a pride of lions, in an attempt to find himself. It worked, and Catman became not only the leader of the Secret Six, but a fan-favorite character as well. While Catman has not been seen in months, he makes his epic return in Joker Annual 2021.

Related: Joker is Wrong About Being Batman's Greatest Nemesis (And So Are Fans)

In a preview of Joker Annual 2021 shared by AIPT set in Gotham's past, a hostage situation has developed at a bank, and when Gordon and his men storm the building, they find Tony Rigatoni, one of Falcone’s goons. Meanwhile, Joker has gathered his henchmen on a rooftop along with Catman. Joker wants him for a heist, but Catman is not sure what the Joker sees in him. Joker butters up to Catman, calling him the "amazing Catman" and "the greatest thief who ever lived," even laying on some hilariously misjudged amenities.

Catman was the butt of jokes for many years, and even after Simone rehabilitated the character in Villains United and The Secret Six, he is still not taken seriously in some circles - but the Joker is clearly a fan. He praises Catman’s skills as a thief and wants him in on this job. However, the Joker does not simply stroke Catman’s ego with compliments, he also tries to present Catman with a thoughtful gift: a mug of warm milk and a giant ball of yarn. Hilariously, it seem that Joker genuinely though Blake would appreciate being treated like a giant cat, though considering the circle he runs in, this may actually not be too unreasonable - the majority of Gotham's villains can be trusted to over-commit to their gimmicks.

It's possible Joker is just buttering up Catman - and it would unusual if he didn't have a hidden motive - but future events have proved his admiration isn't misplaced. The Secret Six saw Catman stand against a literal army of DC villains, so it's possible Joker really does value his abilities, even if he ultimately plans to betray him. Fans can find out how much Joker truly respects Catman when Joker Annual 2021 hits retailers November 30.

Next: The Joker Went to War With Lex Luthor Over a Planet of Super-Villains 

Source: AIPT

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