We catch Catwoman in the midst of donning her form-fitting garb, but just how long will it take her to put it on? And how long will it take before she undresses again? Judd Winick manages to catch this reader’s intrigue, despite the risque art on nearly every page.

Catwoman #1
Writer: Judd Winick
Art and Cover: Guillem March
Colors: Tomeu Morey
Letters: Sal Cipriano
Assistant Editor: Rickey Purdin
Editor: Rachel Gluckstern
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously in the life of Catwoman: Selina Kyle has had a rough several years. She’s known for a while now that Bruce Wayne is Batman, and their romance seemed to be taking a step forward, but then Bruce shut her out again, her heart was literally removed from her body, and things just didn’t seem to be going so hot. After Bruce saved her heart he “died,” and Catwoman teamed up with Harley Quinn and Poison Ivy to form the Gotham City Sirens. The book was a good one, but towards the end the Sirens started to fall apart. Selina managed to save Harley and Ivy, despite them both having turned on her, and had to betray Bruce in the process. But does any of this backstory have bearing now in the DCnU? …evidently not.

And Most of the Costume Stays Off

The issue starts with a rather gratuitous shot of Selina getting dressed and flashing some pretty serious cleavage. She’s clearly in a hurry, grabbing her belongings and getting out of the apartment in just over a page. The tendency for these relaunch titles so far seems to be starting the story in media res, and while it doesn’t work for me in some of them, this book starts well. Catwoman (still half dressed) stands on the roof across from her apartment and watches as her former home explodes, resulting in a (potentially unintentionally) hilarious expression drawn by Guillem March. In my mind we have had one really ridiculous expression by a female character each week of the relaunch; Animal Man’s daughter week one, Harley Quinn last week, and this week Guillem March pulled it off here.

The story moves along at a brisk pace, which makes me happy; Judd Winick keeps both the dialogue and inner monologue snappy, and paints an intriguing picture of the rebooted Catwoman’s past. The Russian orgy scene shows us just how ferocious Selina can be, and also puts her on the offensive. This is a woman who knows what she wants, and is out to get it–whether “it” is revenge against a Russian who killed someone Selina was close to, or “it” is something Batman keeps stashed away under his utility belt. I know the latter is something that’s caused a lot of controversy with this issue, along with the art (which is gorgeous, if very cheese-cake-y) leading the book to be classified by some as softcore pornography. While the opening sequence’s shot selection does bother me (the seemingly intentional lack of Selina’s face in the first two pages catches me as in poor taste), I was not bothered by the sex scene with Batman. While I did love Bruce and Selina as a couple when they knew who each other were, in the DCnU I am content to have them back to the classic forbidden love between hero and villain, even if the way they did it reminded me a little too heavily of Spider-Man and Black Cat.

While most of the internet has been in an uproar, it seems as if they’ve forgotten Ed Brubaker’s run on Catwoman. The title was very sexually charged, if not quite as overt about it as this issue was. Judd Winick’s only crime is a lack of subtlety which, frankly, is a skill he’s never been particularly good at. Guillem March’s art is almost TOO gorgeous at times, and I’m very thankful that my wife is a fan of Catwoman, because if she wasn’t excited to read the title herself, I think she might’ve given me some funny looks while I was reading it. As with most art that I enjoy, I don’t have a lot to say about it, but I did love how March captures some depth in some of Selina’s smallest facial expressions. The coloring on the issue also managed to wow me; the makeup and color driven shading on characters’ faces is really well done.

The Verdict: Don’t Let Your Mother See You Buy It

I enjoyed Catwoman, and it has earned at least a tentative place on my pull list. I like Judd’s writing a lot, and am happy with the direction he’s taking the title. The art was gorgeous, but I am hoping Judd picks up a bit more subtlety with his handling of Selina’s sexuality. She can be a confident, strong woman, but that doesn’t mean she has to be showing us her cleavage in every shot. Three out of five stars for me.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

The Author

Jimmy

Jimmy

Once upon a time, there was a boy. This boy grew up reading classic literature--Moby Dick, The Time Machine, Robinson Crusoe. At age six, his favorite novel was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. He devoted his time and efforts into being an incredible nerd, mastering classical literature and scientific history for his school's trivia team. Then he got to college, and started reading comic books. It's been all downhill from there.
Jimmy's favorite writers include Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, Gail Simone, Grant Morrison, Chuck Dixon, Mark Waid and Bryan Q. Miller. His favorite artists are Kevin Maguire, Amanda Conner and Alex Ross, and his least favorite grammatical convention is the Oxford Comma. His most frequent typographical gaffe is Randomly Capitalizing Words.

You can follow his lunacy on Twitter at @JimmyTheDunn

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17 Comments

  1. LondonGeek
    September 24, 2011 at 1:33 pm — Reply

    This was the first of the new 52 that I regretted buying. I think the main thing I was put of by was the art.

    • Jimmy
      September 24, 2011 at 2:35 pm — Reply

      That’s too bad; I really enjoyed the art, but my wife had some problems with it (artistically, not just because of the risque nature)

      Here’re the three weeks of great faces, for anyone that’s interested:
      Week 1

      Week 2

      Week 3

  2. Mike5399
    September 24, 2011 at 2:45 pm — Reply

    Salacious crap meant for the lowest common denominator – andother nail in DC’s coffin and their contempt for you readers is showing!!!

    • Rob
      September 24, 2011 at 8:45 pm — Reply

      Gee, I bet you didnt have your mind made up before the reboot started.

      /eyeroll

    • jacko
      October 3, 2011 at 11:20 pm — Reply

      sorry bud , sales for DC titles are the best they have been in ages , too bad you are missing the fun

  3. September 24, 2011 at 4:23 pm — Reply

    This issue was a difficult one for me, in that the main thrust (you should excuse the expression) of the last third of the book was all about Batman, and not Selena at all… We’ll see if it gets better, but I found this to be pretty shallow stuff.

  4. Pidgeonman
    September 24, 2011 at 6:11 pm — Reply

    I say good for them finally hooking up! It only took sixty-odd years!

    Seriously, I am completely baffled by the fan reaction to this issue. What, are you guys uncomfortable with anything Batman says or does that doesn’t involve him constantly brooding?

    • TaZ
      September 24, 2011 at 6:22 pm — Reply

      It’s the fact that most of this “relaunch” involves everybody having sex like an issue of “The Boys” except in The Boys there’s usually a point to be made. These are comic books not “graphic novels” and some of us can enjoy a good story and good art without having everybody banging each other and flashes of “naughty bits”.

  5. September 25, 2011 at 6:03 am — Reply

    This was painful. From the introduction (as someone on tumblr said, sad how you didn’t even see her face for that, only breasts and ass), to the drag queen faces (i like drag queens, but they’re not supposed to be them are they?), to the pornish (and hey, i love me some porn, just not like this) ending.

    This pretty much sums it all up: http://dcwomenkickingass.tumblr.com/post/10499170166/cw-1

  6. Ced
    September 25, 2011 at 10:59 am — Reply

    The “pornish” ending was silly fun, after seeing how CatWoman is over-sexualised in the upcoming Batman video-game, it was fun to see Batman receive the same treatment. At least here both character are sexualised.

  7. September 27, 2011 at 1:47 pm — Reply

    I think maybe they just ran out of story. When “the story” is sex between two people, there’s a different medium for that. This issue reminds me of 1990s Image comics. The stuff that is filling dollar bins nation wide.

  8. Damascus
    October 3, 2011 at 4:42 am — Reply

    I didn’t love the issue, but I see no problem with Batman and Catwoman hooking up, especially in her title. Plus anything that makes Batman a little more human is good by me, many people seem to consider every little thing they don’t like Batman doing to be sullying his good name when he’s been a huge dick in the past and that’s all fine, but if he behaves even remotely like a real human being it’s “crap”. I’m not saying people’s concerns are without merit, just that there can be room for something like this without it being DC somehow showing contempt for us the readers. It’s just a different story that won’t be for everyone. I find those stories all the time, stories I read and don’t like what’s being told but I just stop reading for a while and maybe they’ll end up somewhere that I’m interested in again, and it’s never that big of a deal.

  9. Matticus_Finch
    October 13, 2011 at 10:51 pm — Reply

    I have to say, I think that the entire issue has been somewhat overblown as well. When I listened to the podcast about this the other day, Matthew was complaining about Selena’s foot being wrapped all the way around behind Batman and how it would be completely impossible to have sex like that. I agree. I really don’t think that they are actually having sex. Catwoman has had a really rough week; her apartment explodified, running from gunmen, and now, while she’s gathering intel she kills/severely maims the person that apparently shot her mother right in front of her. I think that it is perfectly natural for her to want to be close to someone. Batman shows up, the fella’ that she adores. They kiss. They pet. They remove a utility belt (and really, how comfortable is it to snuggle up to a utility belt?) And, as she says, most of the costume stays on. This is not the”God-damn” Batman. This is “I care about and have conflicted feelings for her” and “I will kiss her on the roof-top while I slip on the handcuffs to take her to jail” Batman. She is turning to him for strength and I think that it is a nicely human moment. I was a fan of the issue and will be picking up the next.

    • October 13, 2011 at 11:24 pm — Reply

      Naaah, they’re $&@#ing. :)

      • Matticus_Finch
        October 20, 2011 at 1:17 am — Reply

        Ok, just read the new issue… think I called that one wrong. Who knew the bat was such a slut? Still, enjoyed the issue!

  10. torqueflite
    March 10, 2012 at 7:46 pm — Reply

    I think it’s definitely a cut above Gotham City Sirens. Face it, neither Ivy nor especially Harley are in Catwoman’s class. The artwork is excellent even if it’s too a tad too pornish. I’m less pleased with the writing, characterizing Catwoman as slavishly infatuated with Batman. There is no evidence of the Selina we grew to love in the ’90s, the antihero with the tremendous energy, love of life and the irreverent humor born of being one on the wild side. OTOH the writer did get right the inherent loneliness as seen in her depiction alone with the cats in the penthouse just prior to Batman’s entrance. I’m intrigued enough to keep reading while agreeing with your rating of the book due to these shortcoming. Thanks for posting.

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