Breaking The Most Sacred Of Rules: Reviewing ‘Catwoman’ #50

by Scott Redmond


‘Catwoman’ #50 continues to rock the title characters world in massive ways as the series hits a milestone issue, and prepares itself to enter the second year of the current creative team’s run. Every bit of this issue shows just why Selina Kyle is such a powerful, popular, and long-lasting character and why her title has run so long when others have been relaunched or rebooted well before this milestone.


These days a superhero comic, either primary or secondary title, reaching the milestone of 50 or 100 issues is quite rare. Most are relaunched within a year or two of issues, the longest-running ones getting a momentary renumbering to showcase a cumulative volume milestone before returning to previous numbers. Selina Kyle always stands out from the pack. 

Catwoman celebrates its 50th issue by not only wrapping up a lot of the plotlines that began at the beginning of the year but also throwing a monumental status quo shift in Selina Kyle’s life that alters her plans and many of her relationships. Now is the time to look back if you clicked on this review before actually diving into the issue, don’t worry I’ll wait for you to come back. 

Okay, you’ve read it, right? Good, then you know that Selina Kyle/Catwoman is now in jail because she is being charged with murder. In particular the murder of Valmont as well as the villain Amygdala, who actually was killed by Valmont. 

Since taking over this title at the start of the year, Tini Howard has been building toward this by showcasing the network that Selina has been building and how dedicated she is to stopping the crime bosses but also protecting Alleytown. Just like Bruce Wayne/Batman, who she points out is the only one that can understand it about her, she is dedicated to protecting Gotham in her own way. 

Across the twelve issues that she’s written, Howard has brought in a pretty big supporting cast that includes characters from the previous runs but also ones that were created and introduced during this current run of issues. All this time Howard has juggled this cast quite well as we saw things like the crime boss Eiko standing in as Catwoman while Selina is gone (a deal they have in place) and Dario Tomasso (the son of Don Tomasso the crime boss) coming into his own as her friend and ally, as well as Selina being caught between her love for Batman (they are on a break) and her romance with the assassin Valmont. It was only a matter of time before some of the spinning plates came crashing down. 

This was a really tense issue as the well-laid plans of Catwoman hit snags she didn’t anticipate, like Amygdala’s presence, and while she stopped Punchline’s plans to keep selling drugs in Alleytown she has to pay the consequences for a rough choice. Howard has played the love triangle of sorts in this story quite well and Selina making the choice to break Batman’s one rule in order to save him from Valmont who was certainly going to kill a vulnerable Batman takes things to a whole new interesting level. 

Selina in prison with Dario becoming the new vigilante Tomcat alongside the injured Eiko who will take over as Catwoman and a whole lot more dealing with the crime bosses promises an exciting second year of this series. As the opening of the issue pointed out titles going this long is rare, and Howard helps showcase why this one is so strong as Selina is a powerhouse character but also this moment is one that is built upon all the previous issues of this series. It would have been easy to just carve out her own area as the new writer, but Howard did that while also pulling from and respecting everything that came before, which is a great way to go. 

Nico Leon and Veronica Gandini tackle the first half of the issue artistically. Leon’s style is just so perfect for this series because it’s so smooth and slick and sexy with so much movement and energy on every page. There is an openness to much of the work, when we see parts of the city proper, giving them a life of their own with all the depth and detail that goes into every panel. Those panels are laid out in a variety of styles that all keep the eyes moving where they need to go but in intriguing ways rather than just standard side-to-side panels. Often they effectively frame faces that showcase how well Leon is able to showcase expressions and body language to allow us to feel with the characters the entire time. 

Just as slick as Leon’s art are the bright vivid but also realistic colors that Gandini brings to the page. There is weight to the colors as they really make a lot of the elements around the superheroes pop even more, able to bring in more darkness when necessary to add to the tension and darker aspects of the story. On some pages, they go into the really vivid greens and pinks and other hues that are almost like a filter over the art or stand in for the background, ramping up the fantastical energy that permeates stories like these. On other pages, like when the factory is burning, those types of colors take a backseat to a more natural color palette that brings a realness to the danger that is being faced, before sliding back into the far more colorful realm during a super battle. 

Lettering in the first half falls once more to Lucas Gattoni who carries on the beyond-solid lettering work that this series has enjoyed for years from a variety of people. Making sure that all the dialogue flows nicely and fits into the overall spaces is easily accomplished, with a lot of flairs that take things up a notch. Plenty of big bold lettering, some words or utterances slipping into colorful fonts, different fonts for different characters, and plenty of colorful loud SFX to bring moments home alongside other great additions. 

The second half of the issue deals with the aftermath and turns to Inaki Miranda to draw the first few pages and then Juan Ferreyra to pick up the rest. Overall the changing artists works great since they are handling different sections with different characters, in different circumstances than what Leon was handling in the first half. Miranda has a very interesting style that nails the facial work and has a bit of a smooth but also rough nature to it in some spaces, foregoing a lot of background detail in order to keep our focus on the characters where it is meant to be. 

Ferreyra is similar in a sense meeting a lot of that roughness with a bit of smoothness, just flipped around. Every panel is powerful here and deliberate in what it showcases, bringing a lot of emotion and tenseness even from just a shot of the phone being picked up by Selina. The first few pages are just Bruce and Selina sitting on opposites of prison glass talking in a confined space and Ferreyra plays into that, with the panels forming bars with the borders and taking tight focus right on the characters letting their pain be our focal point through the main pages. It doesn’t change once Selina is out in the jail common area and ends up getting herself purposefully put into solitary confinement. 

Coloring these two sections are Lee Loughridge and Ferreyra. In both of the sections, the colors are far more muted than in the first half of the book, fitting the darker less superhero-centric moments that are happening. Characters are at their lowest, preparing for what comes next, so the colors match. There are still pops of color, such as a lot of purple and blues in the first section that fits with the overall lower light setting that Dario and Eiko are in. Within the second one, the colors are also darker because of the prison space, with a lot more dark grays coming into play which allows for some bigger pops of color in that story, like the prison jumpsuits standing out from the gray. 

Letting both the second half sections is Deron Bennett, from Andworld Design. Bennett has lettered quite a few of the Bat-books in the recent past and has the right touch to meet the energy that many of these books require. There are no superhero-colored words or logo shout-outs here, just mostly straight dialogue and some usually quieter, but still colorful, SFX in places. It all works though cause Bennett knows how to make it flow around and how to make the personality and tone of characters show up in their words. We can see when they are quieter or louder, following their emotions, and it tugs at the emotions just like it should. 

Catwoman #50 is now available from DC Comics. 

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