The Wight Witch Cometh: Reviewing ‘Catwoman’ #36

by Scott Redmond

Overview

All the pieces have been set up as all roads have been leading here, Catwoman and her allies and the forces of the Magistrate are clashing with the fate of Alley Town at stake. One of the best definitive runs that Selina Kyle has ever had is going strong as the finish line is very nearly in sight, promising to finish strong and continue to make a mark on this character and the DC Universe.

Overall
10/10
10/10

This current run of Catwoman has been very slowly and wonderfully building up a great many characters, concepts, and situations and with only two issues left things are ramping up towards an epic conclusion. The Magistrate’s iron grip upon Alleytown during this Fear State is tightening, but the queen of Alleytown one Selina Kyle/Catwoman has one last con to pull that could save everything.

Ram V continues to master engaging storytelling and at all levels of character work within this book. This is very much Selina’s book but every character, even the ones that feature into stories in the most minimal of ways, feels fully fleshed out and has their moments to shine and is important to the story. Every page is so packed that the entire issue feels like it could easily be double the number of pages it actually has. There is nothing extraneous here, everything that has come to bear in this run has played a part or still has a part to play.

An example is the character known as the Wight Witch.

Debuting in Catwoman #29 as an enforcer of Simon Saint sent to clean up loose ends that included Edward Nygma/Riddler, which brought her to blows with Catwoman, the character hasn’t featured in the stories since. There has been a lot going on. But here she is right back into the thick of things in a way that makes perfect sense, and we even get a whole new wrinkle with the character at the end of the issue that is beyond intriguing. Hopefully, this is a character we see far more of even beyond the conclusion of this run.

Seeing Selina take back control after she lost so much recently and took so many blows, she’s still very heavily wounded from her fight with Father Valley and doing what she can to protect Alley Town and what she’s built is just perfect. It’s here that all the various characters, including the villains led by Basil Karlo/Clayface who are trying to reform and do more, play their parts in the big con that is being pulled to get Poison Ivy (at least this one aspect of Ivy) out since Saint/Magistrate is still gunning for her.

Consistency in the writing and art has helped this series fly so high, and that doesn’t change here. Artists passing the baton within an issue can sometimes be a clashing moment, especially with very jarring styles, but they make it work quite well here. Nina Vakueva kicks things off and keeps up the very noirish style vibes that Fernando Blanco brought to the book previously alongside the vibrant colors of Jordie Bellaire. There is a ‘roughness’ to this style of art that brings that noir-like vibe but also speaks to the street level and gritty setting.

One of the many neat things about Bellaire’s coloring is how she gives entirely different color palettes not only to different scenes but to individual characters and their scenes. Blues for Penguin, a more natural like green for Ivy, and a more neon dark green for Riddler. While the city is very orange right now as it’s on fire and danger is everywhere, full of shadows and darkness.

Those colors remain the same yet are quite different at the same time when it comes to the pages of the book done by Laura Braga. The art is very similar in style to Vakueva not losing those noir/street vibes but it’s got a smoother quality to it in many ways. In a way, it adds a smooth flowing nature to the action scenes and stands as a solid companion with the other pages. As noted, Bellaire’s colors remain true to the varied palettes shown on the other pages but also take on a smoother/brighter nature with the different art style, showcasing what range she has just within these 20 pages.

Both artists play so well with paneling, not afraid to use a variety of panel/page styles in quick succession, all depending on what they need to get onto the page. Also, both of them keep true to the sort of out-of-synch nature of the artwork when it comes to Wight Witch’s powers being put to use, which is a bit of a trippy visual.

There is a ton of fantastic lettering work done by Tom Napolitano as usual through this issue. I got some real giddy comic book fan joy when it came to some of the more action-packed scenes and the really awesome big in your face can totally hear them as they happen style SFX that he dropped in there. There has been recent online discourse about no place for SFX in comics, but I’m very much on the team pro-SFX as they are part of the DNA of books and can be utterly fantastic and fun.

How can you not have fun with an orange and pink ‘Krnch’ when Harley Quinn’s bat smashes a Magistrate soldier’s helmet? The answer is you can’t, it’s just pure fun.

Catwoman #36 is now on sale in print and digitally from DC Comics.

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