Saturday, June 5, 2010

Cat Grant And The Toyman

After reading and re-reading Gene's Supergirl panel report from Phoenix, I found that one statement grabbed me and seemed to kick around in my head a bit.

When asked if Cat Grant will get an emotional smack down, Sterling said yes. When asked if Toyman will play a part, Sterling replied “Wait and see.”

It grabbed me because I have been waiting for this smackdown for some time. Let's face it, Cat's story got lost in the larger story of New Krypton. Sure, we saw her acting as a shill for General Lane's propaganda machine way back in The Hunt For Reactron, but not much since. Her role in Supergirl shrank as the expanses of New Krypton grew.

But it also grabbed me because, as usual, I have a guess as to how the smack down will happen.

And while the official answer is 'we'll see' if the Toyman is involved, I think he has to be. Their stories are linked. After all, it was way back in late 1993 in Superman #84 that Dan Jurgens (both as writer and artist) had The Toyman kill Cat's son Adam. It was one of those grisly excesses of the 1990's that are unfortunately commonplace today. A harmless crackpot villain like The Toyman was made into a child killer with a mother complex.

In the next issue, Cat has her own conflict of ethics where she is tempted to kill the Toyman in his cell only to pull away at the last minute. Afterwards, Cat moves to L.A. to get some space and essentially drops out of the Superman titles.

Fifteen years later, in Action Comics #865, Geoff Johns reimagined The Toyman, bringing him back, somewhat, to his Silver Age roots. Jesus Merino does a very nice job with the art on the issue, which is probably available for cover price at many comic stores and worth the price.

Johns reinvents the Toyman as ... well ... a Toy Man. Winslow Schott was a crack toy engineer who absolutely adores children and loves toys. There seems to be some of the wackiness of the old Toyman in him, a child-like love for playthings.

But it isn't all Silver Age silliness; there is some 21st century malevolence in him. Even if he would never hurt a child, he has no problem offing adults who cross him.

In the issue, the Toyman kidnaps Jimmy Olson and declares his innocence in the murder of Adam Grant.

After all, this long-haired redhead in the clown suit Toyman is a far cry from the bald-headed knife wielding killer.

While it is true that a Toyman killed Adam, it wasn't the Toyman. It was one of Schott's Toyman robots. He has a whole stash of them, built to draw authorities away from the real Winslow Schott. This one panel explains away all the other Toymen we have seen in the DCU: Hiro from Superman/Batman, the marionette from Justice, and of course, Adam's killer.

This was the first place we heard that Schott's duplicates were so well crafted that they could even fool Superman's senses. But more on this later.

Unfortunately, the bald Toyman duplicate developed self-awareness and began acting on its own. When Schott tried calling it back, it confused those commands with his 'mother' talking to him. It was this robot that killed Adam Grant.

I really have to applaud Johns for this twist in the Toyman's origins, explaining away everything about these other Toymen in one fell swoop as well as making a plausible story around the Toyman that murdered Cat's son.

Jimmy ends up escaping and Superman and Batman end up bringing in the Toyman. At least Schott is able to clear his name; he was not personally involved in Adam's death.

The issue ends with our first glimpse of Cat in a decade. With Schott's admission out in the open, she decides to move back to Metropolis and begin her smear campaign against Supergirl.

But the Toyman/Cat story doesn't end there ... at least I don't think it does.

Way back in Supergirl #39, Cat received a package from an anonymous fan. I liked how Cat has a picture of Adam on her desk, a reminder that there is more to Cat than her glitzy exterior.

Inside the package was an old-fashioned sock doll of Supergirl, a clear sign that the Toyman isn't done interacting with Cat yet.

But then New Krypton grabbed the title and didn't let go. This juicy little morsel of a plot line has been left untouched in the last year. Toyman has to be going after Cat in some way.

Of course, the Toyman has been seen a few times since. And his undetectable duplicates have been seen as well, such as here in World's Finest #4 or the Luthor on Brainiac's ship in Last Stand of New Krypton.

So what of this emotional smackdown? Here's my theory.

Well let's say this Toyman feels remorse that one of his creations killed Adam Grant. And let's say he wants to atone for his sins but he is sort of warped. And we know he has the capability of creating nearly perfect dupes. Maybe he would create a dupe of Adam and send it to Cat, not realizing this will only make her grieve more.

And suppose Supergirl needs to destroy that robot. Even knowing it was fake, wouldn't it be like Cat seeing her son killed all over again? And wouldn't she hate Supergirl even more for that, even if that seems irrational?

Well, that's my guess and I'm sticking to it. I hope we see this Cat Grant story soon!


Anonymous said...

My notion is that Cat Grant wants the Toyman, the real villain dead and doesn't give a hoot in hell whether he or some replicant killed her son.
Now IF Supergirl, the very object of Cat's scorn were to capture the Toyman (some payback on Kara's part for being jobbed out to Winslow back in World's Finest) AND protect him from Cat's vengeance...well that might send Ms. Grant over the edge.

Just a thought


Anj said...

Now IF Supergirl, the very object of Cat's scorn were to capture the Toyman (some payback on Kara's part for being jobbed out to Winslow back in World's Finest) AND protect him from Cat's vengeance...well that might send Ms. Grant over the edge.

Ooh ... nice thought. Deliciously wicked!

I'd be happy with that story.

ArgoCityCub said...

I say just kill cat grant off ,I mean she really doesn't do much but bitch and look slutty.

But the fact that supergirl might have to save toyman from cat's wrath and that she might go nuts over it means that supergirl will have another villain and that cat will try and kill supergirl and then end up at Arkham Asylum with a grudge.

Anonymous said...

Good theories! Wait and see what happens.


Anonymous said...

Its either that or Cat gets exposed to rainbow kryptonite, grows to a height of 100 feet with deadly green-k vision and starts stalking Supergirl with homicidal intent.
And the banner reads:
"Super Shocker of 2010, "When GigantiCat Grant hunted Supergirl!"

These days ya never know...

John Feer