New 52 – Catwoman #1 review

So this is what all the fuss is about. Catwoman #1 and Redhood & the Outlaws stirred up a lot of controversy recently with overly sexual themes in their books that was supposedly a slap in the face to the strong characterization of both Selina Kyle and Starfire. I don’t know anything about Starfire outside of what I saw in the Teen Titans animated series. I also didn’t pick up Redhood & the Outlaws because the whole concept didn’t interest me whatsoever. I do, however, feel that I have a pretty good grasp on Catwoman and all of the negative press this book was getting almost scared me away. I’m glad it didn’t. Catwoman #1 is a solid comic.

Are there gratuitous shots of Catwoman’s boobs and behind? We don’t even see her face until page 3! Does it take anything away from the story? Yes. But not as much as the hyperbole flooding the internet would have you believe. Everything I read before picking up this book made it sound like the whole thing was designed to give lonely nerds something to fap to, but that’s not the case. There’s an actual story here that’s interesting.

The characterization is fine, too. Catwoman feels like Catwoman. Smart, sexy, and constantly finding herself in over her head. The story opens with Catwoman hurriedly putting on her costume and gathering as much of her stuff as possible and escape before a few goons burst in to kill her. It could’ve been a more intense scene, but Guillem March never misses an opportunity to draw ample T&A and that’s what distracts a lot of readers and cheapens the experience for some. I got over it. Like I said, there’s plenty for Catwoman to do here. Every scene with her isn’t just about making her pose in an arousing way, she’s just a good looking character is all. Like Jessica Rabbit, she’s just drawn that way.

What we have here is an interesting glimpse at Catwoman’s adrenaline junkie, act first think later lifestyle. The only friend she has to turn to is her fence. She goes to a mob party in disguise to find info on where she can burgle next. And there’s even a scene hinting at a darker past that leads to a very brutal fight scene showing just how tough Catwoman can be.

What raised a lot of eyebrows was ultimately a final scene between Catwoman and Batman who somehow found her (using his keen detective skills, I imagine) and wants to make sure she’s not getting in over her head…again. It should also be noted that in the rebooted 52 launch Catwoman doesn’t know who Bruce is Batman. So it’s back to square one with their will-they-won’t they constant teasing relationship, right? Wrong. I always assumed Batman and Catwoman hooked up but we just never saw it in the comics because, well, it wasn’t important to the story. And finally seeing it happen in the pages of Catwoman #1 ruined an aspect of their relationship for some folks. Not me.

I got everything I wanted from a Catwoman book, really. Was I taken aback by the quick glimpse of Batman and Catwoman’s love-making? Yeah. As a lifelong Batman fan I’m used to seeing Batman getting teased by Selina only to go home and take a cold shower. Was it necessary for Judd Winick and Guillem March to show us Catwoman straddling Batman in full costume? Not really, but it’s nothing to get up in arms about in a T+ comic. Would panning to a crackling fireplace or cutting away to a train entering a tunnel have made this comic any better?

There’s no controversy here. Just a good comic that I’m glad I bought. I can’t wait to read next month’s issue.

SCORE: 8/10