The Cat Strikes Back: Reviewing ‘Catwoman’ #40

by Scott Redmond


Selina Kyle’s new era continues to show that it’s a Catwoman world and we’re all just living in it. Everything about this book is just clicking as it has been through both the current & previous creative teams, giving a lot of other Gotham books and other comic books in general a run for their money.


Any time a book goes through a creative change, there can often be a moment or two where it has to find itself and get on a solid footing to really show off the new direction that can be different than what came before. Catwoman is a series that has avoided this as the new creative team not only came on firing on all cylinders but they took the foundation that came before and kicked it up to the next level.

Tini Howard and Ram V are entirely different writers in almost all aspects, and both put their stamp on Selina Kyle and her world. Yet, while Howard’s version feels very much like the character would with her style of writing we see that what Ram started is still in there and very much still informs a lot of what is going on in the book. Selina tried to be Queen of Alleytown but that didn’t work out, but it has not been forgotten and gets namedropped in this second issue just like the first, so now she’s back to her roots in Gotham proper for a very slick and sexy but also dangerous and powerful story.

In just two issues all the new characters being introduced feel fleshed out and real in so many respects, and the challenge that they bring to the table is so well presented. One thing that Howard excels at when it comes to writing is making every single issue, no matter the page count, feel like it’s far more packed and longer than one would think at first glance. There isn’t a ‘wasted’ page here, as all things matter and are given the room they need to breathe.

The pairing of Nico Leon and Jordie Bellaire is inspired as they make this portion of Gotham look so perfectly gorgeous and absolutely noir-like in every respect. Leon has a very distinct detailed and stylish style and has top-notch paneling instincts that make the pages flow smoothly. Putting that with Bellaire’s penchant for bright and in-your-face but still grounded and shadowy color palettes bring out something more.

Not only are the backdrops and foregrounds and action pieces stunning to behold, but the emotional facial, and body language work is being put in for sure. We can see how these characters are feeling in the moment, feeling every bit of it as we delve into this adventure alongside them. This is a book that easily can be described as fun, slick, sexy, dark, energetic and so many other adjectives that are all true at the exact same time.

Another aspect that has carried over is how well the lettering compliments the style of the book, thanks to Tom Napolitano’s work. All of the dialogue flows along the page properly and allows breathing room for everything else on the page without being minimized or pushed to the side. All the caption boxes are some of my favorites because they have all the same energy and personality of Selina in every way, which makes them a joy to read through. He also has a flair for more realistic lettering dialogue styles, which by that I mean whispers are clearly whispers and yells are clearly yells all done by just simply changing the size or style of the font to depict these as truthful.

Cannot forget all the great SFX that can add so much to any given scene. Here we get a ton of them that have their own energy and personality, but what works so great is how they are integrated into the moment. Many of them are right there in the middle of the moment and very much in the thick of things or find a way to meld right into the artwork. A phone ring is right there connected to the spot where the phone is meant to be, gunshots are as dark and blended into the night sky, etc. It’s just great and fun and adds so much to this created world.

Catwoman #40 is now on sale in print and digital from DC Comics.

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