As the dust of The Gotham War settles, we enter a new era for Catwoman… almost. Tini Howard remains the writer on the series going forward, though other members of the creative team have changed. Selina is now presumed dead and has decided to leave Gotham and take down some criminals that she always wanted to deal with but couldn’t justify risking her life in pursuit of. What has changed? Well, now she has nine lives!
There are a few major changes to the status of this series. The most obvious being the new artist and old costume. I’ve never liked the armpit costume Selina has been wearing since 2018 so it’s a nice change of pace to put her back in the Jim Balent costume (albeit with different gloves). I hope a new costume design is in the cards sometime soon but until that happens I’d much rather see this costume than what she’s been wearing.
Howard also seemingly used this issue to distance Selina from her recent history. She’s looking for closure and says goodbye to some of the supporting cast of Howard’s run which makes this seem that much more like a new beginning. I’ll be happy if characters like Valmont get left behind going forward. He’s dead and wasn’t a good character to begin with so seeing Selina start fresh with no baggage is smart. From what I’ve heard the reaction to Howard’s run has been generally negative and, in my experience reviewing her segments of Gotham War, that may well be justified but this arc is a chance to redeem herself and surprisingly I think she’s heading in the right direction. Not only is the slate being wiped clean but Catwoman has been given nine lives. The negative side of this: She gets these lives via exceedingly contrived means. Apparently, the meteor (ugh) from Gotham War could do anything the writers wanted it to. The positive side: I think this is a pretty cool story concept. Her decision to burn through her lives to achieve justice that she otherwise couldn’t without a permanent death (well, as permanent as anything is in modern comics) is compelling to me and I’m hoping to see her make epic use of these deaths. I also like that these lives give the story a sort of ticking clock element which should help ratchet up the tension.
As far as the plot goes in this particular issue, I’d say it kept me entertained. It’s a stock plot about Selina bringing an evil woman to justice but the dialogue is pretty snappy and everything functions like a well-written story should. It won’t be something that sticks with me but I definitely didn’t mind reading it. Catwoman’s characterization is also working here. Gone is the weirdo from Gotham War and in her place we have a Selina who isn’t necessarily on the right side of the law but still seeks justice in her own way. She acknowledges her love of Bruce Wayne as well and hopefully, after this, we can put their “war” behind us and never mention it again.
Stefano Raffaele is the new artist for this title. I first became aware of him through some fill-in art on Detective Comics this year and I have to say I didn’t expect his gritty style to suit Catwoman so well. It brings out that old-school noir crime feel that often lingers in the background of the character. The art isn’t always as polished or consistent as I’d like but rarely is it distracting.
These panels are a good example. The forms seem lacking in definition and are blocky. In fact, the lack of precision reads more like a sketch than finished art. The majority of the art here is far better than this thankfully, so it’s not a big deal right now but as months go by and Raffaele has to keep up the pace of a monthly title, I wonder if it may become more noticeable.
- You’d like some grit in your Catwoman
- Gotham War is over and you’d like to jump in and see the title’s new direction
- You dislike the armpit suit as much as I do
This issue was a pleasant surprise after giving such low scores to Howard’s Gotham War segments. The art is attractive and stylistically suits my idea of Catwoman though it isn’t always as consistent as I’d like. Meanwhile, the writing was enjoyable but rather slight. The new status quo has my attention as well so, all in all, I’d say I’m excited to see what the next issues have in store for me. Because I haven’t had positive experiences with Tini Howard’s writing before I’m still cautious but as of now, I’m going to recommend giving this story a try!
DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.