Long Live The Queen: Reviewing ‘Catwoman’ #38
by Scott Redmond
Catwoman’s current run has come to an end in the most emotional, fun, beautiful, and hopeful way that it can which is befitting the character and perfectly describes this entire run. Truly this run is certain to go down in history as one of the best starring Selina Kyle and needs to be read by every person that calls themselves a Catwoman fan. Selina Kyle is a force of nature and this series helped firmly entrench her at the levels she deserves to be at within the echelon of DC Comics characters.
Selina Kyle, the Catwoman, has been prowling her way across Gotham City and the DC Universe for over 80 years at this point. The character has made the leap from comic books to various media adaptions on the big and small screens as well as video games and so much more. There is little doubt though that in the comic book realm the current run from Ram V, Fernando Blanco, Jordie Bellaire, Tom Napolitano, FCO Plasencia, Juan E. Ferreyra, John Paul Leon, Nina Vakueva, Evan Cagle, Kyle Holtz, and Caspar Wijngaard will easily go down on the list of best for the character and become one of those easily referable classics.
This run that has been brought to life by a variety of talented and amazing individuals has come to an end, and it falls to Ram V, Wijngaard, and Napolitano to close it out in a style that is befitting the former queen of Alleytown.
With the siege of Alleytown over and ‘Fear State‘ a thing of the past, Ram V turns all the focus onto Selina as she speaks to the police and in essence delivers a narrative montage epilogue to this book. Often the end of a run is one where the creators try to finish by putting all the toys back in the proverbial toy box so that the next creators have a blank slate. At times that blank slate can mean that what came before fades away and almost didn’t exist. Here though we get a lot of firm looks at the fact that this run very much did happen and it mattered, and the emotions and lessons and advancements made won’t be forgotten by those that went on this journey.
At the same time, he makes sure that this leads right into the open road for the next creators who are picking up with the very next issue. While there is no telling whether we’ll see the strays, Lian “Shoes” Harper, the reforming villains led by Clayface, or anyone else from Alleytown anywhere in the near future we’re left here with a conclusion to their current chapters that doesn’t feel empty. Like some of the best conclusions to any type of series or story, we’re given one where this part of the story is done but the characters will continue doing what they do even if we no longer get to peer over their shoulders to watch it play out.
This has been a run that has seen so many compelling artists take a turn at Selina’s story, and it’s been a true delight to watch it all play out. Wijngaard closes it out with some truly gorgeous artwork, and it’s a shame that we are not getting to see more of it within this series. There is just such a magical quality to his work, especially with the colors that he chooses to bring it all to life. Just like much of this book’s life, there are a lot of uses of some more neon-like colors at times, striking hard to really make an impact on certain panels or moments.
There are a lot of flashback montages here, as mentioned above, and those retain the same look like the rest of the book but are appropriately dulled down a bit like they have a filter, to help differentiate them as memories or in some cases imagined moments. Since this issue is very much Selina telling a story herself, the artwork fits so perfectly because it’s as whimsical yet sharp just like the character.
Just like this run’s writer, Napolitano has been here since the run began handling all the wonderful lettering work. Just like all the previous issues, there is a ton of energy behind the words we see on-page, that just makes things fun and pop in the right ways. Little changes in fonts for characters, little colored bumps for bubbles and caption boxes, and all the personality-filled SFX-type fonts.
There is a moment here where Selina is miming the fight between Ghost Maker and Wight Witch and the art sells the moment but the little sounds, she’s making in the bubbles take it up a whole notch. Both because of the way they sound when read but in the way that they are displayed, it brought a good chuckle. Much like how on the very next page in a caption box the word “drama” is dramatized itself in a font that is bigger and bolder and more formal looking than the rest of the box font. Every issue it’s just clear how much fun everyone was having on this book, even when things were heavy and emotional, and that helped make this even more fun for those of us along for the ride.
It’s beyond fitting that this last issue of this run on Catwoman was as emotionally powerful as the rest while providing such a gorgeous and fun and even uplifting final note on the character and her world. Here is hoping we get a full collected edition of this run that can sit perfectly on a shelf to be read and shared for many years to come.
Catwoman #38 is now on sale in print and digitally from DC Comics.