Written by Judd Winick
Art by Guillem March and Tomeu Morey
From the first panel of the first page this book never once tries to hide one simple fact of both the tone and the lead character. It’s sexy. Now, I’ve seen the controversy concerning the fact that you get three good looks of Selina’s rack before you get one of her face, but let’s be honest here. Catwoman, half in her costume, diving out of a window with a whip and a bag of cats while evading a hail of gunfire is one hell of a way to open this title. The book manages to get things moving right off the bat, and Winick successfully dumps the reader into Selina’s life with ease. He also establishes from page one as strong and independent. So sex may sell, but we’ve also got a strong female lead.
It’s not really spoiling too much, but the guy shooting at Selina wind up blowing up her place, which means that we’re coming into her story as she proceeds with rebuilding. Which requires a place to stay as well as money, which thankfully doesn’t lead to an issue of trying to figure out how to fix things, instead it’s an issue of actually going ahead and doing so. We get to see Selina on a gig right off the bat! The pacing is nice here, and it’s pretty energetic. Her characterization is great, and it’s really good to see her take the lead again after Gotham City Sirens went on possibly a bit too long. She’s smart, resourceful, great at her job, and she never forgets…which actually sets up the interesting part of the job. Seeing someone that brought back bad childhood memories, Selina can’t resist the vengeance. It’s one of the things that separates her enough from Batman that while she’s obviously still under the umbrella, it makes her not feel like yet another Bat character. Sure, we’ve had characters out for blood, and yes, her being a thief is the opposite of new, but she’s an interesting addition to the line as a lead character (again, for the third time?).
I didn’t really want to bring up the end of the issue in too much depth, as that’s the kind of thing I hate to spoil, but I can’t avoid it this time around. Selina is in Gotham, and while it’s safe to assume that she’s run across Batman, in this new canon we have no real idea to what degree she’s dealt with him. That is, until the end of the issue where Winick doesn’t just hint at it or allude to it, he makes it undeniable what their relationship is, and to be honest? It’s about time. I’ve felt since I was a teenager reading Batman that they just needed to go ahead and get it over with and establish if they are or are not together, hell, when I read Hush I was excited as hell when he unmasked for her, and then pissed when she bolted off an issue or two later. Either do it or don’t do it, but don’t tease us for decades, you know? Well, she doesn’t know who he is anymore, but she’s…closer than we the readers have seen her be with the man under the suit. It’s a relationship that reminds me a lot of Spider-Man and Black Cat, only in a situation where I don’t see Catwoman being completely turned off when she does eventually see what’s under the mask.
Guillem March draws a hot Catwoman. Can I leave my art review at that? No? Alright, fine, I’m actually a fan of his and put over his work as recently as Batman and Robin a few months ago when he did part one of a Winick story that Greg Tocchini did the second and third parts of (and I remember noting that it was an awesome looking issue despite it being all guys, so it’s not just hot women he can draw). I mean, Selina’s friend Lola isn’t hot, but she looks like a pretty realistic person. Now, I know, I’m really just getting at how great Catwoman herself looks, or avoiding it, one of those two. She looks phenomenal, and the detail into her look is great. The action is fluid, violent, believable, and it leaves her looking like a pretty awesome main character. The cat carrier in the opening pages, as well as all of the uses of cats as the issue goes on, I love it. March manages to get some humor across with her faithful companions, even when they’re all forced together into a little box to keep from dieing. Some people have called the last page a bit too graphic, and maybe it is, but I’ll be damned if March doesn’t completely sell it.
To be honest, I was completely blown away to hear people coming down on this title for the portrayal of the lead, because despite the apparent sexuality, Selina comes across as a strong female lead. She’s not defined by anyone else, especially not Batman, and while they might hook up, neither comes across as used or inferior to the other. Sex might sell, but she’s a sexy character and she uses it in her job. She’s smart, she’s cunning, and she isn’t bad in a fight. Her motivations take care of herself as opposed to serving some sort of male analogue, and yeah, I can’t see the complaints. Judd writes a strong female character without giving her AIDS, making her a whore, or really trying any social commentary. This book was one I figured I’d pick up and hope for the best, and I was rewarded with something I absolutely can not wait for another issue of.
Tags: Batman, Catwoman, DC Comics Relaunch, Guillem March, Judd Winick, New 52 (DC Comics), Reviews