Fanfic: The CA Tverse

"All things considered, it was still not the worst Christmas ever."
—"The Unkindness of Ravens" description

The CATverse is a very long, ongoing Batman Fan Fic series by BiteMeTechie and Twinings. It focuses on several Batman villains, mostly the Scarecrow and the Riddler, and the three henchwomen that make life a bit more difficult for them.

This is their website. Nifty!

The One That Started It All, aka The Unkindness of Ravens.

It's also being archived on livejournal.

The CATverse contains examples of

  • Abduction Is Love: The point of The Unkindness of Ravens. Without the "falling in love as the outcome" bit.
  • Adult Fear: Small World is told in part from the point of view of Karen Keeny, Crane's mother. She and her young daughter are hunted and attacked by a costumed supercriminal who also happens to be Karen's vindictive, murderous son. They don't make it.
  • All Gays Are Promiscuous: Averted by Hugh and Caleb, who are involved in a highly sexual but monogamous relationship for the entire duration of the series.
  • All There in the Manual: A lot of details about the characters, especially the CATverse's version of Jonathan Crane, are found on the CATverse's various Character Blogs.
  • Asexuality: While it's never explicitly stated (in-series), this version of the Scarecrow is not interested in anyone at all. The same cannot be said for the girls' affections for him.
    • Yes, it can.
  • Asshole Victim: Played with. Many of the victims of CAT and the Scarecrow, moreso CAT, are generally unsympathetic, notably the old woman Techie kills in Early Retirement and Crane's abusive great-grandmother. Averted, however, in the case of some characters who do not deserve it and are completely innocent, most notably Marilyn Keeny in Small World, whose only real crime is being perceived by Crane as favored by their mother. The victim in Tourist Trap is also blameless. In general, Crane is more prone to vindictive dog-kicking and Disproportionate Retribution than Captain, Al, and Techie are, and he is a lot less picky about his targets.
  • Bait the Dog: Small World serves as a reminder that Jonathan Crane, for all his sympathetic moments with the girls and his Freudian Excuse, is a very bad man.
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Techie and Nightwing.
  • Berserk Button: Plants for Ivy, cats for Selina. Jonathan has made the mistake of harming both.
    • For Jonathan himself, he is exceptionally brutal when dealing with his family, who he hates even more than he hates most people. He also went out of his way to hunt down his former bullies.
  • Bi the Way: Caleb, though it's only implied. Also Techie.
  • Big Brother Bully: Jonathan is an extreme example toward his sister Marilyn.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Both Jonathan and the Captain. Averted with Al and Techie, who wear glasses but can get by without them.
  • Black Comedy: Most CATverse stories focus on dark humor - while the general tone is comedy and the girls' antics are usually Played for Laughs, Crane and the girls are criminals and many of their victims are innocent people. Some stories, notably The Paean of the Bells, Small World, and Noel, have more emphasis on the darker elements of the characters and setting and less emphasis on comedy. Small World is a reminder that this version of Jonathan Crane is a dangerous man and not above Disproportionate Retribution, and the themes of child abuse and bullying in Noel and The Paean of the Bells are played dead seriously.
  • Bodyguard Crush: Entirely one way.
  • Bullying a Dragon: In Moose Tracks and Thankful Men, a boy makes the mistake of making fun of the Scarecrow. He doesn't live to regret it.
  • Car Fu: Used a few times, notably when CAT hits Batman with their car.
  • Cat Fight: Averted; in CopyCAT, when Catwoman and Techie spar, they do so without the typical hair pulling and clothes ripping and actual punches land.
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: "Five! Five drinks! Ah-ah-ah!"
  • Character Blog: There are several, including blogs for CAT themselves, the Scarecrow, the Riddler, Catwoman, and Poison Ivy.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Early in the series, the girls help out a troubled kid who was being attacked by some thugs. A few years down the line they meet up with him again, and it turns out that he's actually Tim Drake.
  • Cuddle Bug: The girls, but at least they learn to avoid The Glomp.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jonathan Crane is an especially vicious and malicious one.
  • Delinquent Hair: The Captain. Her hair color changes fairly often in-universe.
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Marilyn Keeny's only real offense to Crane is that she exists and that her mother took care of her instead of him, something she has no awareness of. In a flashback scene he murders her mother in cold blood and traumatizes her with the mutilated corpse, and in the present he has her abducted from a mental hospital, terrorizes her with Dissonant Serenity, gasses her, and leaves her alone crying and screaming. He outright murdered his other sister, his father's daughter, for the same reason.
    • When a kid makes fun of him, Crane outright murders him "on principle".
  • Donut Mess with a Cop: Bullock. Montoya doesn't mind them, either.
  • Downer Ending: Small World, in general an unusually dark CATverse story, ends on an extremely grim note, with Marilyn Keeny, one of the CATverse's few completely innocent characters, driven helplessly insane by her mother's horrific murder and fear toxin and abandoned by the Scarecrow and CAT, who, while sympathetic, don't dare anger Crane by helping her.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Squishy, Squishykins, Squishface.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Captain, Al, and Techie, who actively participated in bringing Crane human "test subjects" before and have watched him do terrible things, are shocked and horrified by his vicious treatment of his sister Marilyn Keeny, although they don't dare intervene.
    • In general, CAT do not perform extremely violent acts outside of personal revenge or defense of Crane against people who can't fight back, and generally will not involve children.
    • Crane is reluctant to perform his usual experiments on children, although he does attack his younger siblings, killing one and driving the other insane.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Played with. It only happens with an actual Pinto.
  • Fluffy the Terrible: Jonathan Crane, an incredibly dangerous mad scientist and mass murderer, is nicknamed "Squishykins" by the girls, in large part to annoy him.
  • Feminine Women Can Cook: Averted by Captain and Techie, who are both capable cooks and not particularly feminine.
  • For Science!!
  • Forgets to Eat: The girls are more than just bodyguards, but double as Crane's caretakers.
  • The Fundamentalist: Scarecrow's Great-Granny, who was extremely religious and viciously abusive towards both Jonathan and his mother.
  • Gender-Blender Name: You can call her Al. That's not her name, but it's what you can call her. (Riddler associates her with Paul Simon, for some reason he can't for the life of him figure out.)
  • Genki Girl: The girls, especially Captain. Also Harley.
  • Girl-on-Girl Is Hot: Averted, played straight and discussed.
    • Played straight in Long Walk Down a Short Dirt Road while rescuing the Riddler from Arkham Asylum, the Captain and Techie get caught in the woods by a security guard. They stage a steamy kiss, leading him to believe they'd just been looking for somewhere to be alone.
    • Averted in All Bad Girls Go to Arkham - a wrestling match between the Captain and Techie results in a brief make out session that happens primarily off screen. They are subsequently caught by the Scarecrow, who doesn't care what they're up to and doesn't find it hot in the least.
    • Discussed in Vacation Time Poison Ivy gives Techie a mind control kiss, resulting in the following exchange:
    Al: What, that's it? That was so anticlimactic!
    Poison Ivy: You wanted something steamier? There are no fanboys jacking off to this, you know.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Not from Jonathan's point of view, anyway.
  • Guys Smash, Girls Shoot: Inverted; the Scarecrow strikes from a distance with his fear toxin while his henchgirls primarily use bludgeoning weapons at melee range.
  • Harmless Freezing: Averted; when Mr. Freeze goes on a spree, his victims end up hospitalized or dead.
  • Hates Being Touched: Poor Jonathan.
  • Honorary Uncle: Crane becomes something of this for Kitten.
  • I Have a Family: Jonathan alludes to his father trying this in Small World, although it didn't work and all he managed to do was make Jonathan aware of their existence.
  • I Was Just Passing Through: Anytime Jonathan does something even remotely nice to or for one of his henchwomen, it's for his own reasons. He does not care about any of them, not even a little. Or so he keeps insisting to himself.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • Crane's treatment of his little sister Marilyn in Small World is a reminder that his more pleasant interactions with the girls do not make him a good or even remotely pleasant person. While his mother did abandon him and Crane has some reason to be angry with her from his point of view, Disproportionate Retribution aside, Marilyn did absolutely nothing wrong, and his torture of her is so ruthless that even the girls are upset, one of the few times that his actions disturb them.
    • The bullies in Georgia put Crane on the receiving end of this trope. They picked on him for no real reason other than because he was different and because they could.
  • Kick the Morality Pet: Crane is not averse from snapping at or even gassing the girls.
  • Lack of Empathy: Many of the major characters have problems with empathy, in particular the Scarecrow and Al.
  • Lame Comeback:
    Al: And if you hit me with that again, well, good luck getting your notebook removed from your colon. I hear that involves very delicate surgery.
    Captain: Well, I heard…that…you suck.
  • Lennon Specs: Captain's new pair.
  • Lethal Chef: Al is well established to be one of these.
  • Love Redeems: Played with. Scarecrow's time with the girls did give him some grasp of love and appreciation for at least some human life, but he's still a villain who experiments on innocent people with fear toxin.
  • Mama Bear: Don't mess with plants or children in front of Ivy.
  • Meganekko: The girls.
  • Misanthrope Supreme: Played with. Crane is extremely vocal about how he hates people and for the most part he really does, but he does show some genuine concern for the girls and, later, Kitten, not that he'll ever admit to it.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Crane doesn't just take his rage over his Parental Abandonment out on his parents, but on their innocent children, too, both of whom were younger than he was and had no knowledge of the situation. He killed one and tortured the other into insanity, and even then didn't let the grudge go.
  • Molotov Truck: Used in Vacation Time when Techie intentionally slams Al's car into the back of a Ford Pinto, resulting in an explosion.
  • Morality Pet: Played with. The girls' influence humanizes Crane to an extent and he grows to genuinely care for them and Kitten. However, he is still incredibly amoral and ruthless towards other people, Captain, Al, and Techie cannot stop or restrain him even when his behavior disturbs or upsets them, and they do not influence him into reforming.
  • Nice Hat: Part of what makes the Riddler and the Scarecrow so attractive to the girls.
  • Not Me This Time: Comes up a few times.
  • Not Quite Dead: Headstones of Henchgirls.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: The Scarecrow's torture of Marilyn Keeny makes Captain, Al, and Techie cry, one of the few times in the series that they're clearly upset and disturbed by his behavior.
  • Original Character: Captain, Al, and Techie, who become the Scarecrow's three henchgirls, caretakers, and confidants throughout the series.
  • Overprotective Dad: Batman nearly drives off the road on learning Robin has a girlfriend.
  • Parental Abandonment: Jonathan's parents took no active role in raising him. His father took off before he was born and his mother left him almost immediately afterward.
  • Precocious Crush: Al has a certain appeal to prepubescent boys, much to her dismay.
  • Quirky Curls: Techie's hairstyle.
  • Red String of Fate: Used in "Season of the Witch"- Madam Lavoux uses it to "tie" the girls and Scarecrow together from that point on.
  • "Risky Business" Dance: Eddie's rendition of "Santa Baby."
  • Scar Survey: Happens in Aquatic Nocturne and, under somewhat different circumstances, in Nine Lives.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Crane murders his mother Karen Keeny in "Small World", and is strongly implied to have killed his father, too.
  • Shout-Out: Wow, let's see...Red Dwarf, World of Warcraft, Star Trek (both TOS and TNG), The Princess Bride, Star Wars, Absolutely Fabulous, Happy Days, the '60s Batman TV show (this is a relatively subtle one), The Prisoner, The Year Without a Santa Claus, and lots, lots, LOTS more! May be Reference Overdosed.
  • Sibling Rivalry: A one-sided variation - Jonathan hates and resents his sister Marilyn, and goes out of his way to frighten and torture her into insanity, all while Marilyn is too young to have any idea of why. He also killed his father's daughter simply because he loved her and not him. According to him, he almost liked her.
  • Sinister Scythe: Crane uses a scythe in Small World to brutalize his mother's corpse.
  • Teens Are Monsters: The Pćan of the Bells is one of the more serious CATverse stories, and it starts off with a flashback to Crane's incredibly shitty childhood. A group of teenagers enjoyed hunting him down daily, beating the crap out of him, verbally abusing him, and more, purely For the Evulz. He was terrified that he might just be killed sooner or later, and the kicker? They weren't doing this to somebody their own age or anywhere near their own size; Jonathan was still a little boy. Not surprising that he turned out the way he did.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: After he strangles his mother, Crane decapitates her with a scythe and viciously brutalizes the corpse out of sheer rage.
  • Through His Stomach: All over the place. The Scarecrow doesn't exactly take care of himself.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid: Young Jonathan Crane wanted to be just like Alan Scott when he grew up.
  • Villainy Discretion Shot: While the Scarecrow is most definitely a villain and capable of horrific crimes, most of his worst and most violent actions (such as the murder of his father and other half-sister) are only skimmed over or mentioned, not shown. Averted in Small World, where Crane is at his absolute darkest in the series and tortures a child in front of CAT.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: The unrelenting neglect, abuse, and bullying Crane endured during his childhood from his family and other children contributed to his becoming a misanthropic Mad Scientist and villain as an adult.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Crane psychologically scars his younger half-sister for life in "Small World", and strongly implies to the girls that he killed his other sister.