Catwoman Annual #2 (Comics Review)

Selina Kyle’s world has changed greatly of late. She has given up her identity as Catwoman and embraced that of Selina Kyle-Calabrese, the daughter of one of the most feared and respected of Gotham’s old mob bosses, Rex Calabrese, who now languishes in Blackgate Prison. And along the way, with a new creative team behind her, Selina has picked up a whole new supporting cast to help her (and fight her) transition into the world of mob politics that run rampant through Gotham, and this supporting cast will either make or break her.

Hot on the heels of a recent issue where she had to… deal with a cousin who secretly a snitch for the Gotham PD, we get Catwoman Annual #2 where we get to see the details of one of the more prominent members of Selina’s new supporting cast, Eiko Hasigawa, the daughter and potential heir of the Hasigawa family which is currently being courted by Selina as allies in her bid to secure power in Gotham for the Calabrese family. Genevieve Valentine writes a pretty thrilling issue with a woman who wants to break out of the bounds of her family and make her own life on her own terms, and the art is pretty damn spectacular all the way too.

One of the many subplots (or even the main plot, depending on how you look at it) running through Genevieve Valentine’s run on Catwoman is how Selina secures her way to the top of the Calabrese family and how she secures power for it as well. These two things go hand-in-hand and what she does with one affects how things work in the other as well. This is the space that new cast-member Eiko Hasigawa inhabits. Previously, we’ve seen her bonding with Selina on some level as they both get to know each other given their perhaps-impending alliance of families, and such has been rather interesting to see.

In this issue, we get a very, very detailed look into who Eiko is as a person, what her motivations are, where she fits into her father’s criminal empire, what kind of value she has for him, what her own goals and dreams are, and so on. And making an annual issue the place for such a story gives it a lot of breathing room as well, which the character definitely deserves. She is very complex and it shows in the story on every page.

And furthermore, we get to see Selina through Eiko’s eyes, which proves to be rather fascinating indeed. Till now, Genevieve’s Selina has only been seen through her own perspective, not that of any of the other characters. So the change now makes for a good twist, and helps expand the meta-story even while delivering something punchier with a narrower focus.

In the end, we see that Eiko isn’t just any kind of a supporting character, but also an in-development foil to Selina directly. Whether Selina is newly come into her heritage and new role, Eiko has been in that environment since her birth, and she knows the highs and lows of the kind of life that she leads, that her father wants her to lead. Eiko’s use of the game go, one that her father is extremely proficient at when compared to her, as a metaphor for her life, and her relationship with Selina just goes on to establish further the East-Asian roots of the character and gives her a much more unique feel as well. Not really exotic, no, but something much more… flavorful, let’s say.

The art here is by Pat Olliffe and Tom Nguyen with John McCrea, with colours by Lee Loughridge, letters by Travis Lanham and the cover by the awesome Garry Brown. And this issue is pretty much a visual knock-out. Eiko’s introduction, the scenes with the… other Catwoman, the dark and seedy look at Gotham’s criminal underworld, everything just works so well together, and the art team really must be commended on what is a job extremely well done. Pat and Tom are pretty good artists of course, and I’ve seen their work before, so getting the two of them together is basically a done thing.

A superb diversion from the main story which stands on its own and also contributes to the greater whole.

Rating: 9.5/10

More Catwoman: #25, #27, Future’s End, #35, #36, #37

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Posted on December 30, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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