After her tragic encounter with Raina Creel, Catwoman is back to doing what she does best, stealing expensive things. However, Gotham comes to Villa Hermosa in the form of The Penguin, murderous as ever.
Catwoman had a rocky first arc that struggled to tell a compelling story, while also tying back to Selina’s mindset during this period her life. When the series was able to show Selina as the regretful woman that she was for what she did to Bruce, while tying that into the story being told, the series excelled, but really that was only one issue out the entire first arc. The rest was devoted to things and characters that simply weren’t that interesting as Catwoman and because of that, each issue was dragged down.
Thankfully though, much of that is rectified in this issue though with the first truly great issue of the entire series so far.
What this series does incredibly well, especially in regards to Joelle Jones’ writing, is get Catwoman’s characterization near-perfect. Jones has consistently added layer upon layer of Selina as a character, making her even more fleshed out than she has been in the past, and that’s no different here.
The opening scene alone does so much to show why Selina is one of the best thieves in the DC Universe without anything actually being done in the way of the plot. It’s just simple character work that builds the character and makes everything that is going to happen seem more plausible.
Image by DC Comics
This isn’t to say that Jones only understands the Selina side of the character though, because she understands the Catwoman half too. Much of this issue is dedicated to Catwoman’s reaction to the collapse of a Ferris wheel at a boardwalk and Catwoman’s reaction to it. There are so many little things like the lack of hesitation to go straight toward the disaster to the look of shock on her face to how great of a fighter that she is, pretty much entirely without dialogue, that makes reading this issue so enjoyable.
As well as Catwoman, there is also some really interesting work with The Penguin in this issue. Coming off the back of his most recent appearance in Batman, he seems like the perfect person from Gotham to interact with Catwoman. His appearance in this issue is unsettling and terrifying due to his quiet nature in this issue and his actions.
A lot of these little things that enhance the character of Catwoman and Penguin though are down to the art that is on display in this issue. Elena Casagrande and Fernando Blanco share art duties in this issue, which is all the better because their styles, while different, adhere very well to each other. There’s a bright, vibrant look to a lot of the Catwoman scenes that really bring out the emotions and body language of the character. This is a Catwoman who is beginning to be happy again and that can be seen in the art.
For the Penguin though, the opposite can be said. His colors are muted and very shadowed which brings out the brutality and mindset that Penguin is in at this moment in time. During the last third of the issue as well, these two coloration styles begin to mix, giving a great indication of worlds about to collide.
Catwoman begins to look up with an old villain set to disrupt Catwoman’s new life in Villa Hermosa.