SYNOPSIS: Looks like cat is the new black in Gotham jail as Selina quickly finds herself clawing her way up as the queen cat behind bars by making friends with all the wrong types (which are of course also exactly her types). Meanwhile, Eiko Hasigawa continues to prowl the Gotham streets as the Catwoman keeping the mob bosses in check, with a little help from…Tomcat.
“Rise and Revenge, part 2” continues to explore Selena in jail while Eiko and Dario prowl the Gotham alleyways as Catwoman and Tomcat!
Let’s start with Eiko first. She spends the issue trying to convince the Gentleman’s Club, particularly Black Mask, that she’s on their side, not allying with Catwoman. I appreciated the nuance in her bluff-that you’ll never see her next to Catwoman. Speaking of, I’m really starting to dig her version of the Catwoman costume, what very little we see of it. Black mixed with gray is always a good combo.
Dario for his part is no slouch standing up to people, either. While he’s nowhere near as capable as Eiko or Selena, I think it was important that we saw him standing up to his former flame, Noah. After his betrayal of Dario to get ahead, it was good to see Dario letting him know where they stood and that he couldn’t be pushed around.
This brings us to Selena. I really enjoyed what Howard did with her in this issue. I expressed my concerns last time with how she was seen as being at the bottom of the prison food chain-that being Catwoman held no sway. Well, Howard’s plan becomes a little more clear, putting meaning behind this story’s title.
Selena’s lockup seems to be serving a larger purpose beyond her contrition. Howard gives us more insight into the inmates, who are more than they appear at first glance. Perhaps it explains their attitude in the last issue? I loved seeing how Selina, while an inmate, has everyone right where she wants them, manipulating the system to her advantage.
My favorite part of the issue was easily Bruce’s letter to Selina at the end. It serves as evidence of his feelings about her, providing support when she needs it most. As Selina wound up in jail for saving Batman’s life, it’s fitting that he’s there for her now. A dream Selina has about Maggie also bolsters my feeling that Howard just gets Selina.
Sami Basri returns on art, continuing to be a solid choice for visuals. I was going to critique his depiction of Eiko being very similar to a longer-haired Selina, but, well, she is filling in for Catwoman and that just strengthens her disguise in costume. The closing splash page was a fantastic way to conclude the issue, showing Selena in all her glory and strength.
With Catwoman #52, I feel like I’m coming around again to what Howard is doing in the book. She has definitely got me intrigued with what Selina is doing in jail and I’m happy to see the mob element with Black Mask come back into the mix. The art team is very reliable, producing a great-looking book and a creepy mask for Black Mask. I finished the issue looking forward to next month’s! – Javier E. Trujillo