The Internet is ablaze over a couple of this week’s new 52 books and Catwoman is one of them. But while everyone has been blinded by boobs and certain adult activities, very few have set that aside to see if this book is actually good or not.
To be perfectly honest, this is a solid comic book. Judd Winick has crafted a fun little Selina Kyle tale here that thankfully more people will read because they think they want to be offended. But if you take out the “offensive” bits and look at the rest of the story, we get to see a Selina characterized as more than just a cat loving, cat burglar with a penchant for purring and kitty puns. In this issue, she’s strong, confident and kind of a badass. I never thought I’d say that about a Catwoman comic.The scenes while she’s at her new job scoping out potential heists seems like something straight out of Alias, if Alias was about a cat burglar looking for a new target instead of a secret agent. Ultimately, Selina is distracted from her initial intent and Winick introduces Renald, a character who obviously has some history with Selina, as a potential recurring villain of the “I’ll get you for this” variety. Also, the Lola character is an odd one. It seems that a lot of characters are getting their own personal Oracle-type character. I hope that Winick explores her more because we don’t get all that much about her. Winick has crafted a Catwoman story that I want to read more of and that exactly what he’s supposed to do.
Winick gets some serous help in the art department. I’ve always admired Guillem March’s work from afar, glancing at covers to Gotham City Sirens and wondering why this guy doesn’t get more work. His sense of composition is stellar and he might draw the prettiest girls in comics this side of Phil Noto. I always enjoy when artists have a good handle on the body language of certain heroes and March is very familiar with the vocabulary of Catwoman’s. It might seem obvious to say but it reinforces her name and it’s fun to see her fight like a cat and move through panels like a cat would. It makes her unique and it makes her comic unique to see her do things that no other hero or villain would do.
On to the controversy, many are making this out to be much more than it is. Winick doesn’t show us the beginning of Selina and Batman’s relationship. Instead, we are thrust (no pun intended) right into what seems to be just another one of their rendezvous. Now, at this point in the story, Selina has just attacked a man who caused her some serious childhood trauma. I’m pretty sure that it’s okay to seek out some sort of comfort in this case. Especially since she and Bats have been seeing each other for at least a little while. This is pretty different from Starfire’s flippant attitude toward sex in Red Hood & the Outlaws. Selina wanting to take comfort in Batman does not come completely out of left field here. It’s not out of character but it’s not character defining either. Do we need to be shown everything that goes on? Probably not. Does it matter? No. Are we shown stuff that’s similar on TV every night? Definitely. So, is this a big deal? Not at all.
All in all, Catwoman’s got claws, in the best way of course. The writing is light and fun. The art is up there with some of the upper-tier new 52 books. And if it takes a little sex scene to get this many people talking about comics, well then I think that’s a good thing.
WRITING: 2.5 / ART: 5 / OVERALL: 3.75