Review: Catwoman #5 by Judd Winick & Guillem March

Catwoman #5

Written by: Judd Winick
Art by: Guillem March
Colored by: Tomeu Morey
Lettering by: Dezi Sienty

Published by: DC
Cover Price: $2.99

Note : This review is for the digital version of the comic available from DC Comics on Comixology

Catwoman has always been a character I’ve thought could be great in the hands of the right creative team. I liked a lot of what Jo Duffy, Jim Balent and others did in her 90’s series, but I will admit at the time, I was much more interested in reading about Batman than Catwoman.

When I heard Catwoman was going to be part of relaunch and written by Judd Winick, I decided to pick this book up, but waited a month to save a buck. By the 3rd issue, I really couldn’t wait anymore and both Nightwing and Catwoman became “buy them as soon as they come out” books for me.

Summary (contains spoilers): This issue starts with Catwoman plummeting out of the sky after Reach just about sent her into orbit (exaggerated for effect, don’t send letters). She manages to do her best Spider-Man impression latching her whip onto a construction site, and dislocating her arm in the process. I absolutely love the sound effects on this page!

In agony, she pops her shoulder back into place, and surprises Reach taking her out rather quickly. She makes off with her ill-gotten booty.

Meanwhile, the reader finds out that the money doesn’t belong to crime lords, it is marked evidence money that corrupt cops have been stealing. Just about a million bucks worth!

Selina realizes she ended up with more money than she expected, and that there is a great danger to flashing that kind of cash around. But she decides she deserves to pamper herself some, so goes for a spa day anyway, figuring she has some time before anyone can come after her. The money sends up a flag in the system, and the cops quickly close in on her.

Catwoman takes off on a motorcycle, assuming she can escape a few cops easily. But she realizes that it seems like every cop in Gotham is after her and realizes what the money must be. The issue ends with Catwoman getting arrested after her bike wipes out in the snow.

Review: Catwoman has been a strong book each and every month. I am glad that I didn’t listen to the hype about the first issue being exploitative and degrading to women. Catwoman comes across as a strong, independent woman in each issue. Granted, there are a lot of scenes where we see Catwoman in some kind of sexy situation (like this issue’s spa day), but it’s more than balanced out by the number of bad ass things we see Catwoman doing.

Her saving herself from a long fall and the disturbing aftermath (OUCH), not to mention the motorcycle chase to end the issue puts her on the same level with Spider-Man or Nightwing.  Why can’t a character be sexy and strong at the same time? Winick is doing an excellent job of showing both sides of Selina.

Even though he’s known in some circles as “the guy who killed a superhero’s girlfriend and had her shoved in a freezer,” I have always thought Winick has  been good at writing terrific female characters. Some of the stuff he wrote with Nocturne and Blink in Exiles was among the best characterization I’ve even seen in a comic.

This continues in Catwoman. I love the little touches we get showing what Selina’s life was like before we saw her as Catwoman. Her friendships and criminal connections are much more interesting to read about than “Selina as a hooker” like we got in Batman Year One.

I’m not sure I like the idea that Gotham has so many corrupt cops, but it ties in really well with some things that have been hinted at in the other Bat-titles. A Gotham Central book in the DC relaunch universe would be a very different animal. It seems like there are an awful lot of bad apples in Gotham. Also, I would have liked if we got a little more from Reach. After a strong start, she kind of went out like a punk. I am already demanding a rematch!

That said, I loved how much actually happened in this book. We start with the conclusion of Selina’s fight with a super villain from last issue, see how she spends her time and money, and wrap up with a pretty exciting police chase. In some comics out there, this would take a 12 issue maxi-series to get this much story, character development and action in.

Guillem March has a real talent for faces. My process for a review (unless I am on a tight deadline) is typically read the comic, take some time to think about said comic, and flip through comic while writing the review looking for great moments to talk about. I didn’t even have to read any panels as any page I flipped through, I was immediately cued to “what was going on here” by the look on Catwoman’s face.

Really the art on this entire book was terrific. Guillem March has also drawn a bunch of Huntess covers, which you can check out on his blog.  He definitely is the best choice at showing strong female comic heroes…and antiheroes.  I honestly wasn’t that familiar with his work before Catwoman, but I’m a fan now!

Like I said about Nightwing earlier in the week, Catwoman has  shown me that there are still plenty of great stories that can be told about the Batman characters in the hands of the right creative team. Not sure I’d be as interested in a Catwoman book that wasn’t by Winick and March, but they have really made this one of the best books of Relaunch.

Final Score: 8.5 Winick and March make a great team, and this issue is wall to wall action, story, and characterization. Definitely worth checking out!

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