Art by: David Messina and Lee Loughridge
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: August 12, 2015
I feel like I have been one of Genevieve Valentine's biggest supporters since her Catwoman run started, but that's not anything to be proud of. Why would I say that? Because this book has been so good, that's why. I'm not going out on any ledge, putting my award winning career (I have a lot of "Q's", remember) on the line by saying that Valentine yanked a beloved character out of the Gotham Underground where she had been languishing in for far too long and made her legit once again. Under Valentine's guidance, Selina Kyle has become a strong and smart crime boss who is one step ahead of everyone, except maybe herself. The only thing that this book has lacked recently is some straight up action and throwing Spoiler in the mix and having Eiko train her seemed to promise just that. So, how was this issue? Let's find out...
The issue begins with a cool little scene that showed that while Selina is the head of the Calabrese Crime Family, she still thinks like Catwoman. As she struts through a party, she stakes out the joint, but instead of looking for diamonds and security cameras, she's interested in corrupt judges and dirty cops. Her world has changed, but she hasn't completely. The scene ends with her telling Ward that him and Antonia are in charge for a bit. She's got things to do Catwoman things.
Valentine then shifts to Black Mask. He's the big bad of the book and while I was never a fan, he is such a great character under Valentine's pen. He is brutal, conniving and...just awesome. Like the book itself, his plan has been a slow burn affair, but unfortunately for him, it's starting to unravel. Families are jumping ship and heading over to Selina and the Calabreses and this issue shows that Sionis will not stand for it.
He heads to the Hisagawa training facility to discuss business and I don't know about you, but every time I see the Hisagawa army training, it reminds me of a scene from a cool ass kung fu movie (like American Ninja, perhaps). What's better than seeing men train in the deadly arts, however, is seeing Eiko. While it's great that she's training her father's warriors, it's even cooler that she's training Stephanie Brown. After last issue, I loved the concept of this, but Spoiler just seemed a bit off. She came off as too young and bratty after seeing her in Batman: Eternal, but Valentine gets her back on track this issue. The two play off each other so well and seeing them patrol was something I could get used to going forward.
That's when Valentine ripped out my heart, fed it to me and then ripped it out of my stomach and hit me in the face with it. I will not spoil it here, but it was such a game changer and I wish with all my heart it isn't true. That being said, it makes sense for the story and will propel this book to some awesome storytelling in the very near future and beyond. I still am upset, though.
After I picked my jaw off the floor, Valentine showed the reader that even when the Penguin isn't at the top of the food chain, he just bides his time and waits for any opportunity to stab someone in the back. It's no surprise that that someone is Selina, but it's a bit shocking who he tries to convince to do it. Again, because of Valentine's meticulous storytelling that lead up to it, everything seems so natural and organic to this story.
Unfortunately, the major Selina/Catwoman part doesn't have that feeling. Catwoman goes off to continue (start?) her quest to find Batman and she succeeds...just with the wrong one. Robo Batman attacks her and while she escapes too quickly for my tastes, it leads to her...finding Batman! Actually, she runs into Bruce Wayne. While I liked how the details tied into the main Batman book, the scene itself felt forced. I don't know if was just a wink at the reader or Valentine trying to show the new status quo, but I didn't think it worked well here. The issue ends with a crazy cliffhanger featuring a fan favorite character that again, doesn't necessarily feel right in this kind of story, but promises to up the action quotient next month.
This issue elicited a lot of emotions from this reviewer. I can't believe what Genevieve did while at the same time understanding it fully. In a book where Selina's life was already packed to the gills with complications, things are about to get even worse. The best part is is that I can't wait to see how, when and why she reacts to each development. Valentine showed this issue that nobody is safe and it looks like the bloodshed is just beginning. If you were avoiding this book because of lack of action, it might be a good time to jump on the trolley. The shit is about to hit the fan.
As far as the art goes, I seem to like David Messina's art more with each issue. If you ask me, he didn't want to upset the apple cart when he replaced Garry Brown and tried to mimic his style a bit to ease himself in. Now that he's firmly planted on it, the book hasn't looked better. Kudos to Lee Loughridge whose colors have been great the entire run.
Bits and Pieces:
Genevieve Valentine ups the ante this month and shows the reader that nobody is safe. This issue sets into motion so much of what Valentine has been building and it only looks to get more intense from here on out. While it's still a smart crime drama, I really enjoyed the action and while I thought the Selina/Bruce Wayne bit felt forced, I loved seeing Selina in the catsuit. David Messina's art was really good and I continue to enjoy the hell out of this series.