Review – Catwoman #1 (DC Comics)
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer/Artist: Joëlle Jones
Colours: Laura Allred
Lettering: Josh Reed
Release Date: 4th June 2018
[WARNING: REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR BATMAN #50]
In principal the idea of Joëlle Jones, one of my absolute favourite artist-slash-writers of the last few years, taking the helm of a brand new solo Catwoman series should fill me with an almost giddy level excitement. However, given everything that’s going on in Selina Kyle’s personal life at the moment, I’ll admit that I did feel a tiny amount of trepidation that this could become yet another Bat book where the Dark Knight’s frequent cameos end up overshadowing the main character.
Well, if you’ve already read Batman #50 (and if you haven’t, GET OUT NOW!), you’ll know that Miss Kyle put that particular concern to bed in a fairly emphatic fashion.
The three intertwining narrative threads at the start of the issue allow Jones to hit the ground running, throwing in a pleasing bait-and-switch and allowing us to get a brief insight into at Selina’s current mindset. Catwoman has always been a character who plays her cards close to her chest, and her reaction here is no different as she bottles up her feelings and leans into her vices. Jones also introduces a fascinating new villain along the way with an absolutely stunning single-page sequence, and the final page definitely offers up some interesting possibilities for this fledgling series.
Unfortunately, the main niggle I had with this issue is that I just didn’t feel it, particularly in the wake of Batman #50. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a “how could you, Selina?!?” criticism, as I’m more than confident that Batman writer Tom King knows exactly what he’s doing. It’s just that, given the massive, character-altering outcome of the “Bat and Cat” wedding, it feels almost callous for Catwoman to head off on her own and start another adventure with a villain in the wake of such a monumental rug-pulling.
That said, Jones at least tries to acknowledge the effect that the jilting is having on Selina, turning her into a quasi-insomniac gambling addict, but with the exception of one particularly masterful page where she receives a package from Alfred, I just didn’t feel the same level of emotion that the shocking events of Batman #50 should perhaps have warranted.
Visually this is absolutely stunning stuff, as you might expect from a multi-Eisner nominated technician like Jones. Slick, polished layouts, wonderfully expressive female characters and a fantastic sense of energy in the action sequences echo the strengths of Jones’ Lady Killer series, with colourist Laura Allred adding some extra depth with a colour palette predominantly made up of blues and purples – as you might expect.
Jones’ track record is stellar, and for me at least, the further Batman #50 gets in the rear view mirror, the better this series is likely to become. I’m not naïve enough to think that Bruce won’t at least show up in these pages somewhere down the line, as there’s clearly still a massive amount of story to be told there, but I’m definitely looking forward to seeing one of my favourite creators stamping her mark on such an iconic character.
There’s no denying that Catwoman has had something of an uneven comic book history in terms of quality writing and artwork, but in the hands of Joëlle Jones, it feels like Selina Kyle is finally going to get the solo focus she richly deserves.
The writer of this piece was: Craig Neilson-Adams (aka Ceej)
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