Two Cats For The Price Of One: Reviewing ‘Catwoman’ #52

by Scott Redmond


Behind bars and out on the streets provide their own complications as ‘Catwoman’ #52 continues this runs deep character development and highly emotional focus in a jam-packed but smooth reading issue. There is just such a sustained feeling to this series as it has moved through the past few runs, doing a lot of great and interesting things with the title character and her supporting cast(s).


Superheroes all over live double lives so that they protect those they love and their lives from villain retaliation. Clark Kent had it easy, he just had to keep one of the greatest reporters from discovering his secret (until he told and married her). Eiko Hasigawa must continue to be a vocal enemy to Catwoman while also prowling the streets as the vigilante (while Selina Kyle is in prison) so that the murderous Gotham ganglords she works alongside don’t find out and add her to their pile of bodies. 

After taking time to establish Selina, and her situation, in prison with the previous issue this one is able to spend a bit more equal focus on the two Catwomen and what they are going through. Tackling various plotlines and spaces or characters is not something that is that strange in most comic books or really most storytelling mediums. 

When a writer is good and is very keyed into the story being told/the characters it’s such a smooth process where not a single bit of the multiple stories feels short-changed or not as developed or explained. That’s the case with Tini Howard as a writer and in this book especially. 

Even as we bounce back and forth between Selina and Eiko, and also Darrio as well, the moments feel well represented and developed, with a weight and emotional anchor to them. Enough is given to stretch the moment out as needed before moving to the next and then slipping right back into where we were with the first moment. This allows Howard to pack every issue full of tons of stuff that makes it feel like a double, or even triple-sized issue despite being normal-sized. Howard knows these characters through and through and we feel and see that on the page as their voices and personalities radiate off the page. 

There is a perfect blend of heavier action set issues with ones that are quieter, in the sense that they are more about character moments and building than fights or heists or the like. This one is one that fits nicely in the second category as there is a bit of wider action but the vast majority is more contained and building as well as pushing emotional buttons. That message from Bruce/Batman to Selina was some super emotional makes your eyes get a bit wet type of stuff. 

A lot of that comes from the ways that Sam Barsi and Vincente Cifuentes bring us depth and focus in this world. There is a smooth sort of slickness to the artwork here but it has great weight and power to it, plenty of detail especially when there are so many tight closeup style shots to be found. Such views are perfect for showcasing emotional moments, or vulnerable moments period, but also it allows us the reader to feel like we’re right there on the ground with the characters because visually it appears that way. This is a street-level style comic book series, quite literally in many cases, and these visual choices make sure that we know and feel that with every panel we let our eyes move across. 

We spend giant swaths of this issue in the mostly colorless prison space or the streets in the darkness of night or sparsely decorated/colorful spaces. Taking spaces that inherently are not going to be as colorful and finding a way to make them pop and stand out with flashes of great color is something Veronica Gandini handles quite well. There are lots of grays/whites and black shadows all over but Gandini uses that in order to make the other actual colorful elements pop and stand out far more. At the same time, those colors are somewhat toned-down in order to give things a more realistic sort of feel in the moment rather than the more fantastical sort of approach for straight superheroic type action stories. 

Character-heavier issues mean there is often more dialogue that also needs to carry much of the weight in conveying the emotional or tonal qualities of the story. That’s proven not to be even close to an issue with Lucas Gattoni handling the lettering work, easily bringing the energy and personality to every bit of lettering on any issues that have his name attached in this series so far. Just all the right stuff is done to make sure we hear the voices as they are meant to with changes made to make louder or quieter or heavier dialogue perfectly clear as we move through the issue. Also making sure it flows around the page in logical impactful ways that accompany the artwork, often helping keep our eyes on the right track as we follow along. 

Catwoman #52 is now available from DC Comics. 

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