Review | Catwoman #1

Another retcon befalls a popular character with Catwoman, as the is-she-or-isn’t-she pendulum swings back to the dark(er) side. To my mind, she’s one of the Bat-rogues who, like the Riddler, works best as conflicted hero, which is a far cry from the sex-and-violence version we’re served up by Judd Winick and Guillem March. (To read one of the best takes on the character, check out the unsung run from a few years back, thankfully collected in trades, written by Rockford journalist Will Pfeifer.)

Today’s Catwoman is presumably no longer a mother and more than an occasional thief. Fair enough. But (spoiler alert), Selina never used to kill—yet this version sure seems to go for the jugular in a sudden revenge-motivated attack perpetrated on a Russian mobster while dressed in a bra and fishnets, which shockingly occurs two-thirds of the way into this issue. That’s before writer Winick gets to the “Wow!” climax, no pun intended.

It plays out like this: When our favorite cat burglar returns to the penthouse she’s staying in—after her own pad gets firebombed and she spends the first few pages jumping across the rooftops with one tit hanging out of her costume (and I only wish I were making that up)—who should be there to greet her but Batman. It’s a rule that he has to appear in every one of the New 52. (I’ve decided that mysterious hooded woman who’s also popping up in all the issues is just Batman in disguise.)

He wants to talk about the bombing, but she jumps him. And wouldn’t you know, they end up doing it right there on the carpet, barely taking time to undo the utility belt. The final shot—a full-page splash!—shows Batman and Catwoman, still (mostly) in costume, immediately post-rut. According to her first-person narration, Bruce is apparently a little quick on the Bat-trigger. Who knew?

We’re sex-positive here at Time Out Chicago, so the scene in and of itself doesn’t bug me. Taken on its own, I much prefer this modestly drawn shack-up sequence to the explicitly depicted violence in most of the other new DC books these past three weeks. But the thing that makes me dubious is the context: Artist March has gone out of his way to make this a T&A-fest, starting with that soft-porn-alicious cover of our protagonist dripping diamonds on her bountiful half-exposed bosoms. I’m all for confident sexuality, but I’m skeptical when Selina is driven to lust immediately after putting someone in the hospital. That’s pretty skeevy.

In other news: Alan Moore is making history as the first human to successfully complete time travel. He just read Catwoman #1 and was inspired to go back to the mid-'80s so he could parody this sex scene in Watchmen.

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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)