SYNOPSIS: Things have gone from bad to worse for Selina in Villa Hermosa. Her new city has taken away what little she was able to carry with her from Gotham, and her rap sheet offers scant protection when local crooks frame her for murdering two police officers. The law has caught up with her and Catwoman is in the clink, giving her time to reflect on her life and all the things that led her to Vila Hermosa. Turns out she didn’t choose the move randomly or just to get away from the Batman. This special interlude issue takes us back in time to explode some previously unknown truth bombs from Selina Kyle’s past. BATWOMAN artist Fernando Blanco joins Joëlle Jones to explore a couple of the early versions of Catwoman’s nine lives.
I’ll just get to it: this is a great issue.
Catwoman #3 ended with Selina reuniting with a woman in a wheelchair. This month, we learn everything about that woman. Her name is Maggie, and she is Selina’s sister. She is in a mental hospital and sits mute in a wheelchair. Through flashbacks, we learn Maggie has had a tough life, and Selina may or may not be responsible (just ask Black Mask)
I don’t know that we’ve ever been led to believe Selina has/had any siblings. At first, I wasn’t sure of the idea other than it was just filler. But writer/artist Joelle Jones does a great job peeling back the important layers of their relationship, showing us how Selina’s move to Villa Hermosa may be more intentional than we thought.
Jones continues to play to her strengths, and that’s in the pacing. This book took me maybe 10 minutes to read, and I flipped back to page one and started again. Not because I didn’t get it, but because it was just that good. We are only in the fourth chapter of her Catwoman story, but every issue reads at lightning speed. There isn’t a lot of action here but it doesn’t matter. Her dialogue is so snappy, you don’t even notice. Maggie also becomes the strength of the issue, as we immediately start to feel for her after witnessing her struggles.
Fernando Blanco steps in to split art duties, handling all of the flashbacks. Though I’m usually not a fan of multiple artists on an issue, this was seamless and effective. The two styles are much like the sisters themselves: different and stand on their own, but definitely look like they’re related. I hope Jones can go back to doing full issues next month, but this was an entertaining changeup.
Last month’s issue was fun but not up to par with the first two. This month we kick it up a notch with an emotional 20 pages that reel us back into the heart of Selina Kyle. Catwoman #4 comes highly recommended if you’re on the fence. – Ryan Lower