Art by: David Messina and Lee Loughridge
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: June 10, 2015
I don't care what you think of the new direction of Catwoman (actually I do, but bear with me), Genevieve Valentine must be commended for taking a character and a book that was becoming a joke and turning it into a smart, thrilling crime drama. I was worried at first, but I was won over fairly quickly and this book has been rising up my pile ever since. That's why, when Selina put the catsuit back on at the end of last issue, I surprised myself by getting worried once again about this book. Valentine has sold me on the pantsuit crime boss Selina so much that I'm not sure I want the "real" Catwoman anymore. Is this issue the best of both worlds? Let's find out...
I'm going to tell you guys right off the bat, if you haven't been reading Catwoman since Genevieve Valentine took the book over, this is not the issue to jump in. In fact, while most of the books have taken a reader friendly approach post Convergence, this book jumps right into the fray and the fray includes more characters and backroom dealings than you can shake a stick at. It even takes a bit for returning readers to get back into the flow of things, but once you do, it's awesome.
Valentine has turned this book into a gripping crime drama by focusing on character and that continues here. Everybody in this book has their own agenda and most are just waiting to stab someone in the back. One of those characters is Selena herself and the issue begins with her setting up an interesting future for her and the Calabrese family at the expense of Black Mask. This just might be the best of both worlds after all.
We get some more character moments with Oswald Cobblepot, Black Mask and Keyes and Alvarez and while it's all good, it's also all setup. Setup seems like such a dirty word in the comic biz, but it doesn't have to be when it sets up something awesome. I can't see the future (yet), so I can't tell you if everything Valentine sets up here is great, but I will go out on a limb for one development. Selina finds out Batman is dead and it's the best scene of the week, the month and maybe the year so far. When she finds out the news, she keeps appearances, but when she is alone... I'll admit it, my eyes got a little misty. With everything else going on in her world, Selina vows to find out what happened to Bruce and if in fact he is dead. This felt so natural and powerful. I can't wait to see it play out.
Finally, we get an outstanding move for Antonia fans, Nick finding out a little too much and Eiko still fighting the fight as Catwoman as well. In a book with little to no action, Valentine uses everyone and everything at her disposal to keep readers glued to the page.
I said it earlier, but it's worth repeating...this issue is mainly setup. Really interesting setup, but setup all the same. I was hoping for a new arc and while the death of Batman feels fresh and exciting, the rest of the issue felt like an extension of last issue than a brand new arc. Valentine is giving us a slow burn crime story and while I'm all in, I don't know how someone showing up to look around will fell. It's a shame because if they leave confused, they will be missing one of the better written books in the DCU...I mean DC YOU.
David Messina's art is really good and fans of Gary Brown should feel right at home. It doesn't hurt that Lee Loughridge's dark and mood color work has been a backbone of this entire run and continues here. I must be hard to keep a book this interesting with such little action going on, but Messina and Loughridge do it with ease.
Bits and Pieces
Genevieve Valentine continues her reshaping of Catwoman and while this issue is mostly setup, it is very emotional setup. Selina's reaction to the news of Batman's death was one of the best scenes in a long, long time and it looks like it will springboard this book in a new direction as well. Whatever happens in the future, I'll be there since this book continues being one of my surprise favorites. Recommended for returning fans...newcomers should go back and read from the start of this run.