I remember when the New 52 started in September and a lot of people were really excited about finally being able to get into DC comics. A lot of these people in particular were girls, and with so many female-associated titles they were doubly excited. Then I began to hear rumblings, things like “They’re treating the female characters as objects” or “Their sole purpose in these books is T&A.” This had me worried. None of the books I was reading (save Suicide Squad) were treating female characters this way, so which ones were? So now comes the part in the story when the New 52 graphic novels are starting to come out. One of the first ones to come out that I was really interested in was Catwoman but before buying it I thought, what if it’s sexist? Do I burn it and throw it away? I decided to be logical and read the comic before I judged it.
I had heard good things before about the writer Judd Winick so I had high hopes, but the pinup girl cover left me a little lukewarm about what I was going to read. The first issue in the trade is the only one that skates the boundary of objectification and it feels like once that is out of the writer’s head, he can move on to the story he’s got planned.
Winick is a very clever story teller and it shows in this book. There aren’t a lot of villain themed books in the New 52 but I can say with ease that this is probably the best one. We get to see a side of Gotham that we’ve been getting glimpses of in all of the other Batman books but never quite this expansive and certainly not from this point of view. The voice of Catwoman is so spot on with the character that you would never guess a man wrote it, except for the sometimes gratuitous body shots.
Being the master thief that she is, this is certainly the kind of story that we would expect from the character and its damn entertaining. What’s even more impressive about the character is the way she comes alive through this story. Even though she is a top-tier Batman villain part of me still wasn’t expecting such depth and personality to her.
Guillem March’s art is beautiful in this. It has a very special quality to it that never diminishes during the entire book. He makes every aspect of the story look good, the action, the exposition scenes, hell even when people are just standing around or sitting by themselves and crying. But the most beautiful aspect of this art are the sequences of running/jumping/flying through Gotham. These moments may just seem like typical pictures you’d ask for in Artist Alley, but they’re breathtaking. March is certainly the best candidate for drawing this book for all the reasons listed above, and also because he has a firm grasp on drawing the female form. This might be a selling point for you on purchasing the comic, and that’s fine, but I’ll tell you this: you might buy it for the sexy pictures, but you’ll love it for the story.
I got mad when I finished reading this trade, not because of the content, but because I hadn’t been purchasing this from the beginning. Catwoman is a fantastic graphic novel, it has great character moments, a compelling story, and stunning artwork. It also features many a tussle with everyone’s favorite bat. The best part about the trade in my opinion is that it doesn’t read like it was written for the trade (much like Justice League or Batman), yes it has an arc but it also reads like comic books should read.
Rating: 8 / 10