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Thoughts on Catwoman #1

First of all, if anyone is expecting a rant about gratuitous cheesecake and bras and cleavage, I'm sorry, you won't find it here. It's not one of my hot buttons. In fact, given a choice between a sexy Selina in a two piece bathing suit courtesy of Tony Daniel vs. those dowdy prison togs she wore while chasing missing dogs in Sirens, I would pick the former hands down.

What I liked:

1. Supporting cast:

a. Lola

I like Lola. This former showgirl seems like a cool level-headed customer. I'd like Winick to tell us more about how she operates as a fence and how she transitioned from showgirl to fence.

I'll admit when I first read this page, it was a little jarring for me to see Selina so much more spontaneous and vulnerable. Her relationship with Lola is not unlike the one Holly had with her. And Winick pretty much gave it away with this interview, they are rebooting Catwoman.

IGN: Will Holly be featured in the book at all?
Winick: I love Holly Robinson. I always have, but no. This is a fresh start, and Holly is not part of it. Let the griping begin!
The truth is, Holly doesn't fit into this persona of Catwoman. Selina is younger. She less dependable. And I don't see her playing big sister to anyone. For me, that's what Holly always was: her kid sister. And I loved that. But we're going elsewhere now.

The only problem is she looks the same. I wonder if that's what's causing the dissonance and confusion with the readers. Perhaps DC should have just given her costume a total overhaul (preferably one without goggles and not designed by Tony Daniel) so we have the proper mindset coming into this book. On second thoughts, maybe not.

2. Cats

Say what you will about March and his boneless human bodies, these cats are damn cute. I like that he took the time to give each and everyone of them a personality. Now, I'm not sure if they will appeal to DC's target market (i.e. males 18-34 year olds who read Maxim), but I'm glad they threw this one in for me.

3. Language Skills

Right around the time Batman Inc #1 came out, I was complaining about Gotham City Sirens on the CBR Batman forum and why it didn't just use the Batman Inc Selina as the template for the character. In just one issue, Grant gave her a valuable social skill that had nothing to do with being physically sexual. What a novelty.

Well, now she knows Russian. I'm glad my rant didn't fall on deaf ears.

4. Disguises

While I like that Winick's employing them, I think it would be interesting to see more prep on how she does her intel--i.e. how she chooses what goes into a disguise and some insight behind it.

Any case, I'm glad Winick skipped the more obvious route of having her pose as one of the girls. Bartender is a neutral choice.

5. Introspection/Quiet Moments

It's a shame that these three panels got buried under all the controversy about bras and sex because they're really quite sweet, showing us a glimpse of what she's like in private.

What I'm on the Fence About:

1. The Flashback

In his interview, Winick was playing coy about her origin, saying we'd see little glimpses of why she is what she is. Is this the same version updated for the 2000's? I hope not. Let's see something more in line with her being a thief instead of propagating Miller's fantasy.

What I disliked:

1. Selina's Revenge

Again, let me repeat, I have no issues with the panel showing her purple bra exposed as she tries to mock seduce Renald. Reason being, it's not her. She's in disguise. And if she thinks opening her blouse and showing that bit of thong (which most of the ranters missed) is the way to get this guy's attention, I'm not going to second guess her.

My problem's more that I don't like Selina this deranged.

Someone at the DC Boards had a very good analogy about this scene, i.e. like a cat toying with its prey, viciously slapping them around before they kill them. Well that's one way to go about it, but I'd like to see her execute her revenge with a little more panache. A physical beat down doesn't make her look smart, just out of control. While I'm not a fan of Heart of Hush, its one redeeming point is how Selina employed her network and rogue connections to empty Hush's bank account. I give that one to Dini.

2. Winick's Batcat

Let me preface this by saying I love the BatCat pairing. Nothing makes me happier than seeing these two interact. However, I'm also picky about it.

For me, the mandatory elements of a good batcat story are:
a) a level playing field -- i.e. she's his equal. Stories where she moons over him are a skip for me. That's Talia not Selina.
b) banter -- quality banter, not the trite innuendos about batarangs in his belt.

Sex is optional.

Batman Inc nailed all three points perfectly.

What did I get in Catwoman #1?

A one sided conversation with Batman uttering three lines of dialogue which irked me no end. Why is he talking to her like she's a child? And when does Selina have nothing to say?

Looks like I just got optional. And an awkwardly drawn one at that. Next time, please get input from Mark Chiarello.

What I'm Hoping For:

1. A heist. Let's move on from all this distraction and get to the meat of it.

2. Tone down the sexy/dirty stance. Let's not get into an arms race of trying to top this last publicity stunt. It's eroding the Catwoman brand and bound to annoy Chris Nolan.


Will the real Selina Kyle please stand up?

This week was a busy one for Selina Kyle. She was featured in no less than four high profile Bat books: Batman - The Return, Batman Inc, Batman, and Streets of Gotham.

Reading all four of them, I've come to the conclusion that this character has a multiple personality disorder, probably the result of one mindwipe too many.

Here are a few permutations of her:

1. Batman: Visually, Tony Daniel's Selina is a stunner in this one sided pale pink chiffon gown. I would never have thought pink was her color, but Tony makes it work.

At a DC artist panel, he said he learned to draw women by copying his mother's Vogue magazines. I'm sure that's why he takes every opportunity to put Gotham's finest females in formal wear. No complaints from me. I love this elegant Selina.

However, personality-wise, this is Selina at her haughtiest. In one panel, she tells a prospective contributor to her charity that his hands smell like wet socks and, in this one, she's equally nasty to Dick. I'm guessing she resents the new pecking order in Gotham, i.e. being told off by a kid she watched running around in pixie boots and shorts while growing up. And that remark about Bruce! Something tells me their reunion would be more like War of the Roses if Daniel were ever to write it. Not sure I'd want to see that.

2. Streets of Gotham: Dini/Nguyen's Selina has spent the past year or so keeping a low profile and making sure her room mates stay out of trouble. While Bruce was 'dead', she's done nothing really remarkable except chase missing dogs and the like.

This Selina, who's clearly still in love with Bruce, has her romantic reunion with him in her work-out wear and in the presence of a bed-bug bitten Harley.

3. Batman The Return/Batman Inc: Morrison/Paquette's Selina acts like she hasn't had her heart cut out in the past year or had to depend on two other villains as a crutch. She confidently maneuvers down a cable to Dr. Sivana's lair where she cracks a safe in no time and steals a shiny bauble that's apparently worth more than a diamond.

She's full of verve and sass while fighting along side Batman. During downtime, she lounges around in his suite swigging a bottle of the best Domaine Paquette-Lacombe in nothing but a sports bra, bikini and black lace-up knee high boots. Perfect attire for work-out and/or play.

By the way, she also doesn't blink an eyelash when he calls to tell her he's back from the dead. Nothing fazes this woman.

I hope this Selina is here to stay.