Things get a lot more complicated and even more allies and enemies are brought onto the playing field as ‘Catwoman’ continues to delve deep into the character and escalate her war on the mob elements plaguing Gotham City. A handful of solid action scenes accompany a really interesting character-heavy issue that addresses a lot of what Catwoman is going through as she tries to have her foot in numerous worlds at the same time.
Things have a habit of moving rather quickly and compounding within the world of Selina Kyle/Catwoman, and elements from her old life and her new life are coming together just as the threats she faces are expanding.
As the second issue of this three-issue arc, this one falls into the category of setup by some metrics. While it’s heavily setting up all the threats that Catwoman faces and all her allies and introducing Punchline/Royal Flush Gang into the mix, it does so in a way that keeps developing and dealing with character/relationship moments.
Truth be told, I was not expecting the Dario kidnapping to be handled so quickly (nor for Catwoman to get back to Gotham so quickly) but it was handled well and moved swiftly to give us some right-off-the-bat action before slipping into more personal/character work. Tini Howard continues to juggle a lot of characters and narratives here, ensuring that even if antagonists or others don’t appear on the actual page, their presence is still felt in various parts of the issue. It’s a whole lot of stuff, just like the previous very packed issue, but reads pretty smoothly and doesn’t feel like there is too much going on.
As I’ve noted before, this run started in a way that acknowledged and kept acknowledging the run that came before and her time in Alleytown, which pays off here. It was good to see her back there and have at least one of the Strays show up, with promises that the others might be showing up now that Selina is going to try and free her old stomping ground from Punchline’s influence.
Whether there is tons of action or plenty of character plot-building moments, Nico Leon and Veronica Gandini make it all look great. Leon’s style is very smooth slick and sexy in execution, with tons of depth that makes all the spaces feel huge and like an actual realistic spaces. Since there are tons of character moments that means we need to see a lot of easy-to-follow and identify facial expressions and body language, which he delivers all the time. Many of the paneling choices accentuate the action or character moments, helping us to follow what is going on but also adding a lot of style and variety to everything.
This is complemented by the power of Gardini’s colors which bring in a mixture of more middle tones alongside bright vivid ones and plenty of deep shadows. Those more middle tones help establish the realistic aspects of the world from the setting, allowing the brighter vivid ones to hit home that this is a book set deep in a world of heroes and villains wearing costumes of varying power levels. All the shadows and darkness bring more depth and life to things, some of them are smooth while others are appropriately rougher, and keep the darker/street-level/crime tone that the story needs.
We get another lettering change with this issue as Lucas Gattoni returns after tapping in a few issues ago. Gattoni carries on the same energy that Tom Napolitano and Josh Reed have brought to the pages previously. All the dialogue flows naturally across the pages and personality can be felt emanating through the words thanks to all the little emphasizers and changes done to the font & style for everyone. Such as the big bolds that come with a raised voice, making sure that the volume change is very apparent to a reader.
Catwoman #49 is now available from DC Comics.