Advent Review #1: Catwoman #36 (Comics Review)
Last month Genevieve Valentine and Garry Brown began their tenure on DC’s Catwoman, in a strong effort to shepherd the title and the titular character through a new phase in her life as she takes over Gotham’s underworld as Selina Kyle Calabrese, following some some relatively recent events in Batman: Eternal where she is revealed to be the daughter of Rex Calabrese, the man who ruled Gotham before Carmine “The Falcon” Falcone. This bold new phase also sees some strong storytelling and art both on the series, unlike before, and I’m loving the new direction.
Catwoman #35 was, for me, an incredibly good issue. It is also one of the extremely few issues on the title that have seen a strong positive interest and reaction (one of only four altogether, as far as I’m concerned). Following the events in the last issue, Selina continues to solidify her presence as the top gang boss in Gotham and she has to make some tough decisions this time around, including fighting off a copycat Catwoman, which was an interesting touch. And the art by Garry Brown and Lee Loughridge is even better than it was last time.
Last month’s issue was fairly incredible, and this month things get even better. If last month’s issue was an introduction to the new Catwoman, then this month’s issue is all about Selina continuing to lay down the foundations for her rise to power. And this week we see that drugs are involved, an ill that Selina doesn’t want in the streets, but is going to use to rise higher into the Gotham underworld. She is already at the topmost position anyway, with lots of other gang bosses now answering to her, but she isn’t a full-on player yet, not like her father Rex Calabrese or her enemy Carmine Falcone used to be. That’s where the fun of this issue really comes in.
There’s a certain delicious nuance to Selina in this issue that I just loved. This time, we see how Selina brings the other gangs over to her side, how she manipulates everyone around her, no matter who it is, whether another gang boss or one of her lieutenants or even cops. She is quickly becoming a force of power in the city, and that’s what this issue really showcases. And Genevieve Valentine’s execution rocks the concept up and down without pause.
The best bits in this issue come when Selina is confronted by a copycat Catwoman who is all fired up with the supposed role of Catwoman. That’s where the character’s duality really comes in and provides some of Selina’s best moments in comics, of all the ones that I’ve read. The thing about this issue is that it is very low on the action and much heavier on straight-up character development. Each page is filled with tense and exciting character interactions that really make you feel that what you are reading is part of a greater whole, one that is being slowly teased out.
And I’m all fine with that. I love the long arcs approach and I think that works well for the new Selina Kyle. She can’t become the top crime boss in Gotham in a flash. She needs time to do what she wants, to be sure that she creates a good legacy when she is gone. There’s a particular bit of dialogue from her that encapsulates her approach: “I’m going to do what I think is safest. For Gotham”. The sentence break is an interesting nuance for sure, and I like that she isn’t someone out to screw Gotham, but someone who is going to take care of the city, even given the position she is in.
Garry Brown’s art and Lee Loughridge’s colours really elevate Genevieve’s story. The moody, dark tones, not to mention the particular pencil-work, it all lends to a bold new Catwoman where the characters are the central objects of the visual story, rather than anything flashy that perhaps does the characters disservice. I like Garry’s Selina. She is so different from how she used to be before, and now she stands tall and confident, alongside some really good supporting cast members. The suspense and tension of the story are built up really well and I couldn’t be happier really.
This book is too damn good right now!
Posted on December 1, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged Advent 2014, Advent Calendar, Advent Calendar 2014, Advent Reviews, Advent Reviews 2014, Batman, Batman: Eternal, Catwoman, Comics, Comics Review, Crime, DC Comics, Detective Comics, Female Warriors, Female-Led Comics, Garry Brown, Genevieve Valentine, Gotham, Lee Loughridge, New 52, Review, Review Central, Rex Calabrese, Sal Cipriano, Selina Kyle, Taylor Esposito, Thieves, Warrior Women, Women in Comics, Women in SFF. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.