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Patience Phillips was a graphic designer for Hedare Cosmetics, until she learned that the company's newest beauty cream was dangerously addictive and had mutative properties. Laurel Hedare, wife of the CEO of Hedare Cosmetics, had Patience flushed down a storm drain and washed out to sea. When the drowned corpse of Patience washed onshore, an Egyptian cat that Patience rescued from a ledge earlier breathed in her mouth, giving her the gift of the goddess Bastet. Imbued with new cat-like powers, Patience returned home with no memory of her death.
As her cat-like instincts developed more, she began to prowl at night, and ran across a jewelry store robbery. Using her powers she stopped the thieves, but kept one piece of stolen jewelry (a necklace made of diamond claws). Realizing that she was changing into someone else, Patience sought out the owner of the cat that gave her powers. The cat (Midnight) was owned by a professor of Egyptian history who knew that Midnight was a temple cat of Bastet who turned women into Catwomen upon their deaths.
Creating a costume from a leather outfit and a black jaguar mask, and using the necklace to make claws, Patience became Catwoman to avenge her death. Tracking down and defeating every person involved in her death, Catwoman found herself in battle with Laurel (who's skin had been turned into living marble by the beauty cream). During the fight Laurel fell to her death, and Catwoman left to explore the world.
Powers and Abilities
Catwoman has the enhanced senses, agility, speed, and strength of a cat. She supplements her powers with diamond claws on her gloves and a whip.