Holy fan service, Batman! DC’s most famous femme fatale has returned, but while Catwoman #1 takes off at top speed, this oversexed issue struggles to humanize DC’s favorite feline.
Starring in her own ongoing title for the first time since 2008, Selina Kyle begins this new chapter right where we expect to find her – waist-deep in trouble. The first few pages are a whirlwind of action and close-ups as Selina races to don her Catwoman suit and escape her apartment before a group of thugs bursts in. She leaps out the window, half-dressed and clutching a crate full of her cats, stopping only to watch her apartment explode and burn. If that opening doesn’t grab you by the throat, I don’t know what will.
Even as Catwoman barely escapes certain death, writer Judd Winick tries to keep the tone light. Selina maintains a very flippant attitude as she watches her home burn, even cracking a joke to herself and focusing on the fact that she just needs to keep moving. She seeks help from a friend, which, in and of itself, seems out of character. Selina herself comments on how odd it is for someone like her to have an actual friend. The internal monologue, as well as the actual exchange between the characters, emphasizes the loneliness that Selina experiences every day, a theme that will more than likely be the focus of this arc. Judd Winick looks to be laying the groundwork for some honest-to-goodness humanity in the fiercely independent criminal/anti-hero. Follow that up with some detective work in a Russian mob bar, a flashback to Selina’s youth, and top it off with her brutally beating a man in a bathroom, and we are reminded that Catwoman is still a predator at heart.
The issue closes out with a very surprising encounter with the Dark Knight himself. Not unlike Superman’s appearance in Supergirl #1, Batman shows up right at the end in what seems like an effort to remind the reader that we’re still in the same universe. We get it. However, the real surprise comes when the lonley and frustrated Catwoman throws herself at Batman and the two end up knocking boots. Shock value? Yes. Necessary? Probably not. It’s the capper to an issue that definitely wanted to reestablish one of DC’s most sexually charged characters.
While the overt sexuality might seem excessive, you have to hand it to artist Guillem March for pulling off both amazing action and gratuitous fan service. The best example of both is Catwoman’s half-dressed leap from her exploding apartment. But if this book expects to earn a following, the creative team will need to work a little harder to get the readers to care about Catwoman again.