Remember yesterday, when I shared some quotes from Michelle Rodriguez in where she claimed there are no strong female superheroes? Most of us agreed with her if we were talking about superhero movies, but when it comes to comics there are quite a few great, strong female characters. That is, until they’re fridged. Yes, fridged, a term unique to comics which describes the unnecessary, usually graphic death of a female character as a plot device. Coined by Gail Simone, the term comes from the death of Kyle Raynor’s girlfriend, Alexandra DeWitt, who wasn’t only brutally murdered but left in the fridge for Kyle to discover.
And I may be jumping to conclusions here, but I fear that may have just happened, again, in Justice League of America #4. Major, MAJOR spoilers ahead.
I’m not currently reading JLA, but my understanding is Catwoman was to infiltrate The Secret Society by pretending to still be a villain. Easy enough because as anybody knows, Catwoman’s allegiance is as fickle as any cat’s. But something goes wrong, horribly wrong. Here are the final panels of JLA #4 as shared by Bleeding Cool,
WHAT!?! Catwoman shot in the head! I mean, that looks pretty final to me. Does this mean she’s really dead? Has Catwoman been fridged?
Since this is the final page we won’t know what’s really happened until next month, unless this story is picked up in another book before then. So she’s likely dead, but has she been fridged? Comic book characters die all the time, but you’re only fridged when your death serves nothing other than shock value – check! – and just sort of happens, out of no where, all on one page, sometimes off page – double check! If you’re wondering if Catwoman had been taking part in some epic battle beforehand, no, she was talking to a recently discovered, not dead Professor Ivo. Then, bang. Fridged Catwoman.
Again, I’ll stress I may be speaking too soon. A comic book death is usually no more than a blip in the life of a character. Come next month we may learn she’s not really dead. But if things stay how they are, and her death serves no further purpose than to shock readers and show us The Secret Society means business, consider Catwoman another in a long line of female comic book characters – Sue Dibny, Barbara Gordon, Janet Van Dyne, Linda Park, Gwen Stacy, to name just a few – to be fridged.
Oh! And tying everything back to those comments from Rodriguez, she admitted there’s one comic book lady she likes: Catwoman. Hmm… yeah… about that.