Catwoman, Volume 1: The Game

Catwoman, Volume 1:  The GameSelina Kyle, aka Catwoman, may think she has nine lives, but she is human, after all, and one of these days her luck might run out. From messing with the Russian mafia, to a terrifying run in with a super villain they call Bone, to some metahuman lady named Reach who has the power to throw you into orbit, Selina’s got a lot to deal with in this, her first book in the New 52 Universe.

Written by Judd Winick and illustrated by Guillem March, Selina’s crime-ridden ways are brought to colorful life as she prowls the streets of Gotham. She’s the best thief there is and she’s got enough games running all over town to keep her bank accounts flush, but when she messes with the wrong group of criminals, she finds that she doesn’t just care about money – she cares about her friends, too. And when Selina’s misdeeds are taken out on them, she finds she can be just as vicious as a momma cat hellbent on defending her cubs. Plus there’s Batman, who always seems to show up at the right place and time. Selina says she doesn’t need him,  but maybe she’s just fooling herself into thinking that she’s an island. Oh, yeah – and there’s that metahuman that can send you into orbit. Let’s hope that Selina steers clear of her and the dangerous men she’s working for. All in all, it’s just another day at the office for safe-cracker extraordinaire Selina Kyle, and like that old saying goes, she always lands on her feet.

This story of love and lust, thievery and honesty, is a pretty good introduction to Catwoman. Judd Winick writes an enjoyable story and the mysteries that unfold as the story moves from one dangerous situation to the next are engaging and intriguing. As a reader of a lot of the New 52 books, I was caught off guard by a pretty hot and heavy sex scene between Batman and Catwoman. For me, it broke up the flow of the book and I thought it took away from Selina’s story. I’m not against her having a relationship with Batman, it just seems in the Batman titles it’s a component of his story – it’s just one part of his life. Yet, the full story we’re reading, be it the Court of Owls or any other Batman arc, isn’t broken up by an inserted sex scene. The way it’s portrayed in the Catwoman book just seems a bit out of place in relation to other Bat titles. I would have liked to see more of her capers and interactions that have to deal with the main storyline as opposed to a drawn out interaction with Batman.

The illustrations by Guillem March are good. I love the work he does with Selina’s eyes – they are intensely green and show so much expression. He does a good job of showing emotion and expression throughout the book with all of the characters, but the eye work he does with her is really enjoyable. There are times when I think her body is drawn in ways that aren’t necessary for the story. Of course, she’s Catwoman – she’s in a skin tight suit and is a thief who has a penchant for getting out of tight situations. I know she uses her sexuality as a way to get what she wants, but I think the amount of crotch shots and boob shots – especially during times when she’s fighting or in positions of submissiveness – were unnecessary and a bit shocking just to be shocking. There were times when this characterization or way of drawing her totally fit the situation and there were times when I thought it was overused. I liked the use of bigger crowd shots as panels; Guillem use of  paneling is pleasing to the eye and a nice change to the plain old 6-8 panels per page. The coloring was really vivid and great to look at. However, I didn’t really feel connected to Selina, and maybe that’s because she’s a thief and won’t let people in, or maybe it’s because she wasn’t very well developed as a character. As compared to other people in some of the New 52 books, most notably Animal Man and Swamp Thing, I thought her development was a bit arrested. I’m hoping we’ll get to know her a bit better in upcoming books. Not one of my favorites, but I’m willing to give Volume 2 a shot because I like Catwoman in theory.

Catwoman, Volume 1: The Game
by Judd Winick
Art by Guillem March
ISBN: 9781401234645
DC Comics, 2012