‘Catwoman’ is such an intriguing series full of great character depth/development with stunningly gorgeous artwork and a storyline that has brought new life to a portion of Gotham City and those that reside there. With this issue, the series continues its year and a half long streak of being one of the best books being published by DC Comics and one of the best comic books on the shelves period.
When one crosses and messes with the cat, they should never be that surprised when they inevitably will get the claws. After multiple issues of finding her way through this current situation and building allies as well as making enemies, Catwoman takes the fight right back to them and takes down a huge villain.
When it comes to Gotham City and books in the Bat-line, everyone expects that Batman will be multiple steps ahead of his foes and will catch them off guard at some point. Those that don’t expect that from Catwoman are making the biggest mistake of underestimating the master thief, who knows exactly how to put together a plot and heist that will leave her foes hanging. This is something Black Mask learns quickly and won’t be able to forget or get over any time soon.
There will never be a time where it’s not a great time to gush about how gorgeous and colorful and amazing this book is each and every issue so far. Nico Leon and Veronica Gandini are their own dynamic duo of art. Leon’s artwork is so smooth and detailed and has such an inherent noir-like quality to it which just radiates off the pages in waves. Gotham City looks slick, beautiful, and deadly all at the same time which is just how one imagines parts of this city to be.
All the facial expressions and emotional moments hit as they should and it’s clear, right alongside the heavily kinetic and flowing action scenes. Intriguing and varied paneling choices bring a whole other level to the scenes and guide the focus in such interesting ways.
Part of what makes things even more beautiful are the colors that Gandini brings that bridge the worlds of the natural, the shadowed, and the bright popping colors. At the beginning, the bright neon-colored outfits of Eiko’s Kobun are right there popping out but at the same time, they do not feel out of place alongside the dark more natural night colors of the apartment or the black outfits of Catwoman and Dario.
One of the elements of this run that carried over from the last was the wonderful work and energy brought to the letters side of things by Tom Napolitano. This issue though Napolitano isn’t here, but Simon Bowland brings all the same sorts of energy and power to the letters. All the usual fantastic caption boxes have the same personality and energy of Selina within them and there is still the great usage of emphasizers to differentiate the tone/volume of any given bit of words.
It’s always great to see similar energy in such things, but also seeing differences that showcase what different artists are capable of doing. There is a great similarity in the SFX of how they hover right there with the actions and are varied and part of the scene, but there is a bit of different stylish touches in the SFX this time around that are cool. It just fits very well, as this series hits a lot of the same notes no matter who is rotating into any of the given creative roster spaces.
It’s hard to believe that this run is only four issues old at this point because every single issue just feels so tightly packed with events and development and growth. Tini Howard fills every bit of space that she can, and it’s led to some great things. A plot like this with such volatile elements should move with a steady speed and it meets that expectation here while going even further. I did not expect at all for the part of Black Mask to be dealt with so early but it was a fantastic surprise especially since it is fully within Selina’s character to make her strike back at someone like this ASAP with extreme vigilance.
There has been such a ton of life given to this portion of Gotham and the characters within very quickly, to the point that it feels like they’ve all been here in books forever. Back in the previous run of the series a ton of work was done to move Selina forward and bring out the best of the character, and Howard took all that and ran with it and brought her own energy and ideas to the table. Often creative team changes feel like a book goes in a wildly different new direction, but here it’s all been a natural growth and extension of what came before and it feels nice to see that happening again.
Also, seeing a quick glimpse of Holly and seeing that bit of Selina’s past again was a welcome addition. Hopefully, we get more of that sort of stuff, just like Onyx’s return last issue, as we go forward. It’s going to be quite a lot of fun to see where this all keeps going, especially since we’re throwing Harley Quinn into the mix next issue.
Catwoman #42 is now available from DC Comics.