Review: 'Catwoman' #1 Is Exquisite and Absolutely Essential

It's safe to say that the comic book community has had a pretty interesting few days ever since the big reveal of Batman #50 was essentially spoiled online. Even if you've already written the plot off, even if you can't fathom what could happen next, Catwoman #1 proves that there's way more than meets the eye.

If you don't already know the plot of Batman #50, and would prefer to not be spoiled, turn away now.

Catwoman #1 picks up a week after the wedding issue's events, with Selina put in a fairly complicated set of circumstances. Between living in a storage locker and gambling her way through a Mexican town, Selina is accused of committing two murders that she does not remember. From there, things spin out into a much larger conspiracy, one that could put Selina to the test in a completely new way.

This general premise proves to be a positive for the issue, creating a story that simultaneously feels timeless and unbelievably timely. If a Catwoman ongoing series with this sort of premise was published five or 10 years ago, it probably wouldn't have felt out of place. But there are so many little things that make it work now thanks to Joelle Jones' approach to Selina.

It's pretty clear that Batman #50 set both Bruce and Selina on new paths, which have the potential to manifest in some pretty unique ways. Regardless of whether you're a fan of what happened, Jones definitely doesn't shy away from how the aftermath of it is affecting Selina. As Selina puts it in the issue's opening sequence, her mental state has become static, "one that is everything and nothing simultaneously."

To an extent, this sense of duality has been a fixture in much of Catwoman's DC Comics tenure, as she blurs the line between hero and villain, and between her civilian and costumed personas. If this issue is any indication, this series will cause Selina to face that duality head-on, and see what effect it could have on her legacy.

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(Photo: DC Comics)

As with Batman #50, this issue really hammers home the idea that Selina is so much more than who she is when she dons the mask. Sure, it's a superhero story that's sort of been told time and time again, but it's always interesting to see how it's approached with a female character at the center. Thankfully, Jones crafts this particular telling with a sort of understated grace, putting Selina's agency and choices front and center more than ever.

Another standout facet of the issue is Jones' art, which meshes the world she's already created for Selina within Batman with the sort of beautifully chaotic, feminist frenzy of Clean Room. There are countless pages of Selina -- whether in street clothes or in her Catwoman costume -- that are legitimately striking to look at, and which all radiate a sort of kinetic, but also genuine and authentic, energy.

Laura Allred's colors are also just as breathtaking, giving Selina and her new world a sort of dark pastel aesthetic that will arguably be iconic for years to come. And Josh Reed's lettering brings a sort of playful energy to certain line, while also fitting the emotional breadth of others.

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(Photo: DC Comics)

Regardless of your thoughts on Batman #50, or even if you don't care about that issue's events, you absolutely need to add Catwoman #1 to your pull list. This debut issue is a breathtaking, intriguing start, one that equally works as a standalone story and as a larger part of a greater love story. Jones' graceful narrative and art could very easily stand the test of time, and definitely give this iconic DC character the ongoing series she's always deserved.

Published by DC Comics

On July 4, 2018

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Written by Joelle Jones

Art by Joelle Jones