REVIEW: Catwoman #9

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The Night of the Owls has come to the world of Catwoman and Spark, as they try to poach from the Penguin on the same night a Talon tries to take the life of Oswald Cobblepot.

CATWOMAN #9
Writer: Judd Winick
Artist: Guillem March
Colors: Tomeu Morey
Letters: Carlos M. Mangual
Assistant Editor: Rickey Purdin
Editor: Rachel Gluckstern
Cover: Guillem March
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $2.99 

Previously in Catwoman… Catwoman, aka Selina Kyle, has recently teamed up with an electric-themed antihero named Spark, and the two have been going on a crime spree in Gotham City. Their current target? The Penguin. Also, Catwoman tends to be a book that often features individuals (usually Catwoman) wearing negligible amounts of clothing.

ANOTHER ISSUE THAT OPENS WITH NUDITY

Catwoman #9 starts out with what may be a self-referential poke at itself, giving us page one nudity in a series that has been known for its titillation, but this time it’s an overweight man that is shown au natural. This warped reflection is actually the theme of this issue, the concept that “Mirrors come in all sizes.” Selina’s shown that she has a lot of baggage in this series so far, jumping rapidly from depressed and moping over the death of her friend to a guilt-induced spending and spa-ing spree where she let herself get caught by the police, only to break back out.

DOES THE TIE-IN STAND ALONE?

This issue is a crossover with the Night of the Owls event, which I have been following closely. My wife, however, hadn’t read any of the issues in the event before this one, so I was able to get a perspective from both sides of how this tie-in worked. Knowing what I knew about the event, I really enjoyed seeing the history of this Talon and how, as with the Talon from Batgirl, these assassins aren’t just mindless killing machines. They have histories, they have personalities, and they have free will. My wife, having only read Catwoman of the bat-family books in The New 52, said she got all the information she needed to understand what was happening in the issue. She said she could tell there was another story going on, and she might have gotten more out of it had she read it, but she thought it was a really good issue nonetheless.

SURPRISING CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT

Normally tie-in issues serve to whet an individuals appetite for the rest of an event, or serve to annoy people who only want to buy their one title. Their main character will often either get shoved to the side so the issue can develop an overarching plot, or will have to drop what they were doing to go help other characters. The way this issue handles the tie-in element is beautiful; Catwoman and Spark are continuing to go about their business exactly as they would if Night of the Owls WASN’T happening–the only difference is, since there’s a crazed group of assassins running around Gotham city, and one of them happens to be targeting the same man they’re trying to rob, they have to deal with him. It’s as simple as that. There’s a new element introduced to the environment where these characters live, and they react to that element in a very natural way. Having read all the tie-ins (with the exception of Tony Daniel’s entries so far), I’m loving how the entire Night of the Owls event is being handled. Selina is allowed to grow considerably in her own title, and the plot device for the crossover, the Talon, is actually the catalyst, as Selina sees herself in his damaged upbringing and helps him restore his honor, even in death.

THE VERDICT: Exactly How You Do an Event Tie-in

I loved Catwoman #9, and so did my wife (though not QUITE as much as I did), so Judd Winick succeeded in creating a book showing the organic nature of Gotham City and the New 52 bat-books, this event giving them a sense of continuity that the first 6 issues of The New 52 really failed to do. The art on this issue is also enjoyable (though the cover is a particularly tasty example of the way comics contort women to show breasts and butts); I was a little disappointed to see Guillem March back on the art after loving how Adriana Melo handled filler-art duties, but March is back in top form and proved my disappointment misplaced. All in all I give this book 4 and a half stars; this is my favorite issue of Catwoman so far in The New 52.

Rating: ★★★★½