Catwoman #39 – Tini Howard, Writer; Nico Leon, Artist; Jordie Bellaire, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: Creative team switches are always tricky, especially when they bring with them a radical change in tone. Ram V’s run cast Catwoman as more of a hero than she has been in years, bringing in a collection of street-kid allies and even having her pull a collection of Bat-villains over to the side of good temporarily. Tini Howard’s new run goes the exact opposite route—sending her out of Alleytown and deep into the world of Gotham’s seediest crime lords. It’s very noir-accented, but more in a gritty modern noir vein. Even the art reflects the change—Nico Leon’s realist style seems to take notes from the glossy Tim Burton Catwoman. Much of the action takes place inside a strip club where Selina crashes a meeting of Gotham’s top crime families—three dirtbag guys, and one woman. That’s right—Selina’s ex-lover and former Catwoman Eiko Hasigawa is back and bringing lots of drama with her.
Points to this book for making Selina’s bisexuality a key part of the story, but it doesn’t look like a reunion is in the offing any time soon. Eiko seems dedicated to leading her father’s former empire and playing with the big boys, although she does give Selina a bit of help covertly when needed. Add in a mysterious new masked thief stalking Selina, a new home base that puts Selina amid the wives and mistresses of the city’s most powerful criminals, and a mysterious new cat, and we’ve got a promising start to this run overall. I did, however, think that going back to the main villain here already feels like it’s treading on old ground and the tone of the run feels almost overwhelmingly grim at times. It’s miring Selina in a world that it mostly feels like she’s left behind, and I’m not sure if it’ll build on the work the previous run did. Still, as a down-and-dirty guilty pleasure, this run has potential.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.