CATWOMAN #51 Review

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SYNOPSIS: CAT IN A CRATE. Never cage her. Never chain her. Never try and keep her down. After the explosive events in Alleytown…the Cat wants out. But with Selina Kyle locked up while under investigation for murder, there still has to be a Catwoman on the streets of Gotham to keep the mob families behaving under the Cat’s claws…it’s a good thing Eiko Hasigawa has a Catwoman costume in the back of her closet that’s just waiting to be put on again!

And now for something completely different.

I felt writer Tini Howard was going on a certain trajectory with this book, a trajectory that took a sharp left turn in the last installment. Howard continues on that path, exploring new avenues for Selina Kyle and her current supporting characters.

After the end of the last issue, Selina Kyle finds herself incarcerated for killing Valmont in order to stop him from murdering Batman. Selena has been to Gotham County Corrections before and knows how that particular world works. So why is she at the bottom of the food chain?

Howard takes us through a day in life in lockup as Selena gets acclimated to the current population there. What surprised me about all this was how low on the prison food chain Selena was. Being Catwoman seemed to carry no clout, nor do I think a criminal of her stature, in there for murder, would be casually in GenPop, but I fully admit I’m not well-versed in the intricacies of the Gotham prison system. I still have the memory burned in my mind of the last time I saw Catwoman locked up when she was accused of murdering 237 people during Tom King’s run on Batman. Different circumstances, I know. It still left me feeling that her current situation wasn’t right.

Howard spends a fleeting moment letting the reader in on what Eiko, now as Catwoman, and Dario, now going by Tomcat, are up to. They’re supporting characters and that’s just what they do in this issue-support Selena. I appreciate that Howard has them doing just that, letting Selena’s new environment get the chance to breathe and get established. We might be here for a while.

Sami Basri handles the art and I continue to enjoy his very clean style. Nothing is breaking the mold in terms of layouts, but they are effective at telling the story with compositions that I find pleasing to the eye. Characters look unique and stand out from one another with expressions that get across what they’re feeling. The colors are far more vibrant than what I would expect for a story mostly set in jail, but that’s not a bad thing. This is a great looking comic.

I think I still need some time to sit with this. It’s not a bad issue by any means, but I am still trying to wrap my brain around why Catwoman killed Valmont and how…common she seems as a prisoner. This is CATWOMAN! Where’s the respect? This whole shift still feels to me like it came out of nowhere and I need to read the next issue or two to see what the plan is here. There are some insights into Selena’s past and I love seeing her ingenuity, but I remain skeptical about these developments. Javier E. Trujillo

GRADE: C+

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Javier E. Trujillo was a Batman fan long before the 1989 blockbuster opened on his 12th birthday. After following BATMAN-ON-FILM.COM -- the "Dad-Gum Original" -- since its inception, he started to write for BoF in 2019, covering Batman's 80th anniversary. He's a lover of all eras and aspects of The Dark Knight, but artist Jim Aparo will always be how he pictures him. When on the internet, odds are it's because he's talking about Batman or James Bond (or MAYBE Wally West). He resides in the "Live Music Capital of the World" (and also the genesis of Adam West's Bat-Boat), Austin, TX. You can follow him on Twitter @JaviTru or on Instagram @TheBondIsNotEnough.