SYNOPSIS: All of the sacrifice-all of the broken bodies and shattered relationships-was leading up to this: Selina Kyle standing in front of the Batcave, desperate to know the secrets inside it, secrets once thought to have died with Batman. But you should never open doors you can’t close-especially if opening them requires opening the gates of Hell and setting all of Gotham ablaze!
Catwoman: Lonely City is Selena’s The Dark Knight Returns.
That’s a bold statement, I know.
Think about it. It’s written and drawn by one person (or in this case, written, drawn, colored, lettered, you get the idea…). It’s a story set in the future. Gotham is in chaos (well, when is it not?). There are climactic battles throughout. The tragic loss of loved ones.
But there’s humor here, too. Love. Life.
And while Selena deals with her advancing age and the physical deficits that come with it compared to her youth, she also gets reinvigorated by the conclusion, with a support system behind her, ready to help in whatever her new mission or job may be.
Folks, this story is quite simply the whole package.
We finally see the full devastating events of what was dubbed “Fool’s Night” ten years ago, intertwined with the present day for Selina. By doing this, the tragedy and stakes hit closer to home and are elevated as we learn what it is exactly that Selina is fighting for. Also, the Bat Cave under Chiang’s pencil feels massive. While the battle for Gotham’s soul may be fought underground, it feels no less epic due to the scale seen within. There’s some great Indiana Jones-style action as Catwoman attempts to breach Batman’s decade-old defenses.
The supporting cast continues to be top-notch. Ivy, Etrigan, Riddler, Two-Face, Barbara Gordon, and even Batman seen via flashbacks are vital to how this story plays out. Everyone gets their time to shine. There is even a literal show-stopping cameo that was fun, offering a nice character beat.
While there are many tragic aspects to this book, Chiang’s color palette brings it vividly to life, causing the reader to not get mired in depression while reading it. The pastels make the art pop when it needs to and bright buildings at the end offer the right closing note. It’s a superb-looking book.
Chiang’s art is a feast for the eyes. This bo certainly took its time being released, but let me tell you, it was worth it to get his singular vision achieved. It is clearly a labor of love and dedication, one detailing a quest for a current identity amidst social chaos. Under another talent, it could have devolved into a fascist dystopia, but the story never feels bleak, even at its lowest. Chiang makes a strong Selina Kyle, one as resolute as the man she loved.
This is a BLACK LABEL book that you need in hardcover for your personal library, plain and simple. Chiang pays off the secret of “Orpheus” and delivers a thrilling finale as Two-Face and the GCPD confront Catwoman and Co. It is both epic and intimate and something I know I will revisit often. This is a triumph for Cliff Chiang! – Javier E. Trujillo