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    Review: Catwoman #1

    By | September 24th, 2011
    Posted in Reviews | % Comments

    Written by Judd Winick
    Illustrated by Guillem March

    Meet Catwoman. She’s addicted to the night. Addicted to shiny objects. Addicted to Batman. Most of all, Catwoman is addicted to danger. She can’t help herself, and the truth is — she doesn’t want to. She’s good at being bad, and very bad at being good. Find out more about what makes Catwoman tick in this new series from writer Judd Winick (BATMAN: UNDER THE HOOD) and artist Guillem March (GOTHAM CITY SIRENS)!

    Let’s start this off with the truth: the internet hates this book. It’s been pretty much analyzed, commented and destroyed to death, to the point that I half expect Guillem March to be in an unmarked grave somewhere while Judd Winick writes his scripts on camera to make sure he doesn’t have any more scenes featuring Selina Kyle performing gymnastics popping out of her bra.

    But is it really that terrible? Find out after the jump.

    When I picked this book to review, I deliberately did so because I had a feeling it would be a rather controversial one, as well as a good counter-point to Blue Beetle (the other book I was solo reviewing). Sure enough, it was, but I want to start by saying something: the controversy, to me, is a little out of control in terms of a review standpoint.

    Sure, the beginning was gratuitous – the open was far too focused on certain…aspects of Selina Kyle. Unnecessarily so.

    Sure, the ending was a little on the side of fan fiction and frankly, a little disturbing and poorly rendered.

    But in-between those moments was actually a semi-not horrible comic. That isn’t exactly high praise, but this book is getting straight up murdered in reviews that unfairly focus on singular (or whatever that word would be if you extended it to two…) moments of the book.

    This is a book with no sense of subtlety or grace whatsoever, but hasn’t Catwoman forever been a character that has a) been heavily sexualized (Jim Balent, anyone?), b) been dominant, and c) been all over Batman whenever she can be? I mean, Grant Morrison had Bruce and Selina sleeping together in an issue of Batman, Inc. within moments of his return from his wonderful adventure through time, but no one called that out. Granted, it was depicted with tact and wasn’t near-porno, but this is Guillem March we’re talking about. His background is tied to softcore (and occasionally surpassing that) porn comics, and that is an approximation of what we get here.

    But the actions of Catwoman are not as wildly out-of-character as people are portraying it to be.

    The book itself those is littered with solid moments. The discussion between Selina and her fence is well written. The mission in which Selina is off dealing with a litany of Russian gangsters is a fun time. Her response to nearly getting blown up by assassins (and the saving of her cats) is a blast. It’s not without positives.

    Guillem March himself is someone who actually is pretty talented amidst the cheesecake. His art is sharp and detailed, and the conversation between Selina and her fence is well choreographed in particular. As a particular article from Newsarama points out, this guy may make some pretty cheesecake-y art, but it’s often very attractive work that is effective at visual storytelling.

    I definitely have problems with this book because the beginning of the book is completely unnecessary (couldn’t the art have been directed to focus on…I don’t know, her whole body or her face?) in its focus, and that the ending was just straight up filthy (and super messed up looking on March’s part). It’s about eight of twenty pages that turn me off big time.

    But really, it isn’t that wildly out of character, and in the reading of the book, the ending is Selina dominating Bruce. Is it guilty of being written by a man and reeking of fan fiction ridiculousness? Yeah. But is it consistent with tellings of the character? Sure.

    When talking about this book on our video podcast last night, my co-host Brandon brought up the idea that this was unnecessary because the character has been represented better in the past, specifically by Darwyn Cooke.

    Continued below

    That is absolutely true. Darwyn Cooke’s representation of this character is far superior to what we get here, and it doesn’t fall into the pits of overly sexualized crap. But what creator doesn’t fail when compared to the greatness that is Darwyn Cooke?

    Will I be buying the next issue of this book? Absolutely not. Were parts of it unnecessary? Absolutely. But was it some sort of comic book holocaust, setting gender relations back twenty years in the process? No, and it’s a shame that it is being treated as such.

    There is genuinely solid storytelling in this book, and it covers about half of the story. That’s the reason why this book doesn’t earn a “Buy” from me. I don’t care that the intro and the conclusion were borderline smut. I care that those sections were poorly told and filled with thoughtless decision making from both writer and artist. That’s why this book is earning what it does from me.

    Final Verdict: 5.0 – Pass

    David Harper

    David Harper mainly focuses on original content, interviews, co-hosting our 4 Color News and Brews video podcast, and being half of the Mignolaversity and Valiant (Re)visions team. He runs Multiversity's Twitter and Facebook pages, and personally tweets (rarely) @slicedfriedgold. By day, he works in an ad agency in Anchorage, Alaska, and he loves his wife, traveling and biscuits & gravy (ordered most to least, which is still a lot).