One of comics’ most iconic females, Catwoman returns and appears to be one of the lucky ones, whose past has remained fairly intact. Selena Kyle’s new status quo is established when her apartment is bombed on the fourth page. Now homeless and broke, she (with her half-dozen or so cats), visits her friend Lola, who is also her fence. Lola solves both of Selena’s problems by tipping her off to an unoccupied penthouse and a possible “job.”
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Selena disguises herself and infiltrates a club packed with Russian mobsters and strippers/prostitutes. In a refreshing move, she doesn’t disguise herself as one of the “working girls,” but as the bartender. She overhears two gangsters discussing a worthless Russian horse painting, which nevertheless has unmeasured sentimental value to certain gangs, so Selena is determined to steal it first and auction it off to the highest bidder.
Suddenly, she spies a criminal from her past named Renald, who brings up such horrifying memories that all Selena can think to herself is, “He’s supposed to be locked up. He’s supposed to be locked up.” Guillem March’s art shines in this scene. Selena’s reactions, specifically the changes in her facial expression as she runs through a gamut of emotions, is exceptionally rendered. She then follows Renald into the men’s room where she exacts her revenge in true Catwoman style! You can practically see the movement on the page! Tip of the hat to colorist Tomeu Morey as well, for rendering one panel in lush red tones, followed by a several panel sequence in stark black and white with only a pop of red for contrast. Things go awry, though and she must flee the scene, donning her famous catsuit and fighting her way out, seriously injuring several thugs, who probably deserved it.
Overall, the book is a brisk read. There are a lot of huge panels and splash pages and not much dialogue. Overall, it is decently written, minus one simply awful “joke” about Lola’s name. Humor is really not writer Judd Winick’s thing and his attempts at it are the weakest aspects of his writing. The crime plot is pretty rote. That doesn’t make it bad, but there’s nothing very distinctive going on. He handles Selena fairly well, aside from the humor. (Or maybe Selena’s one of those people that thinks they’re funny but really aren’t. That would be fairly high-concept if it were the case.) It didn’t feel rushed or spare. It was just quick.
The art, but Guilleme March, who previously rendered Catwoman in ‘Gotham Sirens,’ is very nice, detailed and has a certain quirkiness to it. It’s stylized, but not overly so. It fits the book well. Plus, the scene I previously mentioned, hints at possible greatness, so I’m interested to see this artist continue to grow and develop.
There is one final scene in the book, as Selena settles into her temporary new home, and receives her first visitor… Batman, who wants to know why her apartment was bombed. She deflects him and attempts to seduce him. He resists and they grapple on the floor. She goes in for another kiss and he relents. The book ends with the pair in the throws of passion, tearing each other’s clothes off. I’m no prude, but this book is labeled Teen Plus! I don’t have a problem with sex, even though this wasn’t full blown intercourse (yet), but I do have a problem with DC saying it’s okay for a teen to see it! Label it Mature and we have no problem, but Teen Plus? Problem.
Okay, that said, I’m not hooked on this title. I’ll give it another issue. Selena comes across as likeable and in general, I am a fan of her character. The story that is set up isn’t particularly intriguing, but that could change as it goes along. The art is really appealling, though, so that alone could be worth the ride.
Written by Judd Winick
Art and Cover by Guilleme March