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.
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.