Since taking over CATWOMAN, Genevieve Valentine has helped steer Selina Kyle in a new and exciting direction. Trading in her catsuit for more formal attire, Selina has been controlling a mob family and is heading into a big mob war. It hasn't been easy but Selina is shaking things up in Gotham City.
We talked to Genevieve about what's been going on up until issue #39, that one moment everyone's been talking about, and what's coming up after Convergeance.
COMIC VINE: Now that you’ve been in Gotham for a few months, do you feel you’ve settled into Selina’s world?
GENEVIEVE VALENTINE: In some ways I do; I've been working on this arc for about a year behind-the-scenes, so I've had a chance to work on building this world to be as complex and textured as possible. It helps, I think, to have jumped into a storyline that started with her in a slightly different place – literally, in some ways, like having her living in the amazing Calabrese townhouse positively stacked with studies and meeting rooms! But it still feels surreal at times; sitting at the Bat-Summit being the official representative of Catwoman, I felt the weight of my responsibility to the character.
CV: How’s it feel to be the one exploring all the different mob families in Gotham?
GENEVIEVE: Ha! Sometimes it feels a lot like pulling up Gotham maps and wikis and emailing the editors to making sure I'm not introducing a mob family that was totally obliterated by a meteor and is therefore out of commission. Luckily I'm not alone – the BATMAN ETERNAL crew is also working to flesh out some of the families and coalitions that are causing trouble – and luckily, as we all know, there's always room for one more family of nasties in Gotham.
CV: Selina’s been through some tough times since moving in this direction. Is there any hope she’ll find some happiness?
GENEVIEVE: It's been a rough gig, right? I think she had to know going in that becoming the head of a mob family means you're selling your soul in exchange for that power, to some degree, and I think Selina was absolutely prepared to make certain concessions. But being in that chair is the kind of thing that turns boulders into gravel, and Selina has been faced with some really awful choices. I think that what she says in this issue – about being reckless when cornered – is something she considers a weakness at this point, but that can just as easily be a strength. People tend to underestimate someone like, to their peril, and you just know she has something up her sleeve. Not that it's of much consolation to her in the moment, though; she's still trying to figure out how to have a conversation with Antonia that doesn't involve rescuing her from gunfire as a sign of family loyalty!
CV: That being said, what can you tell us about the possible relationship between Selina and Eiko?
GENEVIEVE: I think that part of what's drawn them together is definitely the intensity of their current situation; at a time when there's no real trust elsewhere in either of their lives, someone confiding in you or looking out for you carries a lot of weight. They're both very intelligent women who feel a little lost in some ways, and having someone as the calm in the storm can be so necessary. But of course, they are in really rocky territory here – on different sides of a mob war – and once things start to get ugly, they'll be facing a lot of conflict!
CV: Was creating this tension all part of your plan when you first introduced Eiko?
GENEVIEVE: We definitely wanted to make her a believable foil. It wouldn't occur to most people to take up the Catwoman cowl out of nowhere just to run your underworld errands, so there's definitely something within Eiko that's more than meets the eye; there's something about this identity that means something to her, and we're beginning to see glimpses of that. She's someone who challenges Selina – and Selina appreciates anyone with that spark of anger at the world. But it's also something of an off-kilter mirror; there are a lot of unanswered questions between them, which is its own tension.
CV: How explosive will things get in CATWOMAN #40? Is Selina going to fight for control of the underworld?
GENEVIEVE: Selina is absolutely going to fight. I think there's a chance that at first she took this on thinking it would be a long con and she could get out with minimal damage, but if this was ever a game to her, I think we're well past that now. Despite the facade she sometimes puts up in the faces of people like Batman and the cop, she has a keen sense of injustice, and when she threatens someone abusing a position of power, like Black Mask is now, she tends to be stone serious. Sacrificing some short term control for the chance at a longer game is a really big risk, though, and not a decision she's made lightly; for things like that she tends to have more plans than anyone knows about.
CV: Is there anything you can tell us about what’s coming up post-Convergence?
GENEVIEVE: Well, as often happens when entropy sets in a delicate situation, people start coming out of the woodwork, so we're going to be seeing some familiar faces (allies or enemies, who can say?), and there are some seeds planted in this issue with some relationships and some larger mysteries that we're going to see take root a little in the post-Convergence arc. And of course, one of those seeds is that Gotham might need Catwoman as much as it needs Selina Kyle...
CV: David Messina is taking over on art? Have you seen any pages yet?
GENEVIEVE: He is! We're still in the sketches stage, but I'm really excited; his Selina look ready to wage war, and there's something about reviewing designs of superhero costumes that's just amazing!
CV: What’s been your favorite part of writing CATWOMAN so far?
GENEVIEVE: Honestly, it's all been amazing. She's a character I've loved since childhood, and this setup is one of the best I could have imagined for my first time writing her – these high stakes that bring her back sidelong into the Gotham fold, in some ways, but still introduce her to a new circle of potential family, which for Selina is such a huge deal and something she still doesn't quite know what to do with. And there are such great opportunities to explore the nature of the business – that sort of obligatory villainy that still has real people behind it; even Black Mask, in this issue, is touched by the use of his real name. It's all been a blast, and I'm thrilled to be writing for her.
CATWOMAN #39 is now on sale! Don't miss out on the excitement. Issue #40 is on sale March 25, 2015.