Catwoman #39 (Comics Review)

Not much of a secret of late that ever since Selina took over as the Head of the Calabrese-Kyle family that things have been heating up between the various crimelords of Gotham. She is a completely new element thrown into the picture, someone who never worked well with any of the others, being a lone wolf of sorts, but now she is suddenly at the head of the entire pack. Since taking over from the previous writer, Genevieve Valentine has been crafting a pretty incredible tale with the “former” Catwoman, and artists Garry Brown and Lee Loughridge have clearly enjoyed going to town with the new status quo of the titular character.

With all that Selina has been through of late, there are still plenty of challenges ahead of her and this past week’s Catwoman #39 presents one of the many ways in which she has started to bounce back after all the setup of the previous issue. This time, she takes Roman Sionis head on and even attempts to influence the Hasigawa family. Her enemies are all converging on her, and Genevieve shows that Selina is at her best with her back to the wall. This issue also presents some new opportunities to the artists, and they deliver quite well on the expectations.

For me, Catwoman stands as one of the most fascinating of all of Batman’s allies/enemies. She inhabits a space in the mythology that few others do, and even then she is fairly unique. Perhaps it is her strong sense of individualism, even when she is “tethered” to Batman as some stories might portray her. Perhaps it is her care-free attitude. Or what have you. I’m sure that there are many, many more arguments to be made on that topic. And so, for me, it was important that when Genevieve got her start on the character last year, that this would all come out.

And come out it has. This new issue from last week makes plain a whole lot of different things and it promises much more. The internet-savvy among you might already be aware, but for the others, here’s a major spoiler: Selina is openly shown to be bisexual. Yes, there’s that infamous and somewhat problematic scene in an earlier issue from the launch of the New 52 in which Selina and Batman have sex on a rooftop. That kind of random titillation is completely separate from what can be found inside these pages.

In an age where there’s often politically-correct BS going on at the Big 2, or when some minorities are pushed out in favour of the overwhelming majorities, or when senior editors make decisions that put off readers, or what have you, it is really nice to see that there are some positive steps being taken nonetheless. And the scene in this comic with Selina kissing Eiko, the latter dressed up as Catwoman no less, is something that is bold and forward-moving. It establishes an independent tone for this series that I really, really like.

Of course, there’s the whole thing going on with the different crime families. A certain… attempt is made on both Selina and Roman Sionis, and that pretty much means war in Gotham. They have too much power between them and we already know that they don’t like each other. For Gotham, it is time to choose sides. For Selina, it is time to finally commit to the legacy she has been given, to see it flourish or see it wiped out. The whole double-meaning thing that Genevieve does can be found in spades in this issue, and it all adds a whole another level to the meta-story, which keeps surprising me at every turn.

Garry Brown is the artist here, with Lee Loughridge on the colours, Travis Lanham on the letters, and the duo of Jae Lee and June Chung on the cover. One of the really striking things here is how the Black Mask has been portrayed. He is usually quite… evil, but in this issue he seemed to be positively demonic, perhaps because of the turn the story took, but I think that the artists really did a number on him this time around, and I like it. And the scene with Selina and Eiko is also tastefully done and it puts you right in the zone to appreciate that you are privy to a very personal moment. Again, no titillation here.

Another fantastic issue.

Rating: 9.5/10

More Catwoman: #25, #27, Future’s End, #35, #36, #37, Annual #2, #38.

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Posted on March 4, 2015, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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