After the failed wedding of Batman and Catwoman there are a lot of questions as to where DC Comics goes from here with Selina Kyle. That is something that we don’t have to wait to be answered as DC has tapped Joelle Jones to write an ongoing Catwoman series. While I am not familiar with Jones work as a writer I have always enjoyed her artwork. Tackling a Catwoman series will be a good way for Jones to build credibility with fans who are only familiar with her artwork. Given that there is a lot of material Jones can use with the failed wedding and other events to explore Selina Kyle’s character in a way we haven’t seen before. Now with that said let’s see how things begin in Catwoman #1.
Writer and Artist: Joelle Jones
Colorist: Laura Allred
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: In Villa Hermosa “Catwoman” shoots a cop and runs away from the others chasing her. She is able to avoid being captured shooting the other cop chasing her.
Meanwhile Selina Kyle gambles at a local casino.
At the same time a journalist is broadcasting an interview with the Lady of Villa Hermosa, Raina Creel, about the scrutiny she has been under since her husband became Governor. She talks about how the news tries to paint her and her husband as terrible people and points to what she has done to improve the community.
When Selina leaves the casino she is surrounded by the Villa Hermosa Police Department who all know she is Catwoman. When they try to arrest her Selina fights her way out and escapes through the subway.
Elsewhere Raina finishes her TV interview she goes into her own private room with her assistants and doctors. While the doctor is preparing a blood transfusion Raina’s assistants go over her schedule.
Raina takes parts of her face and calls her sons into her private room. Raina asks how things could have gone wrong tonight. One of the sons tries to explain things but Raina doesn’t want lies.
She calls in the woman who is masquerading around as Catwoman and demands to know how things went wrong while she has her blood transfusion.
The VHPD captain asks a detective, Will, if he is okay since he saw Catwoman kill his friend from their academy days. Will says he wants to be involved in the case as he does not trust the detective on the case, Simmons, takes too much time to find out who is involved.
At a local pawn shop Selina says hi to the owner and her son. After getting a package she goes up to her apartment.
Inside she is greeted by all her cats. While listening to the news on the “Catwoman Incident” she opens the package she was given. Inside is her Catwoman costume with a note from Alfred that reads:
“I took it upon myself to forward your belongings as I am sure they will be missed. – Pennyworth”
Selina breaks down and throws the package against the wall.
Fed up with how things are Selina puts on her new Catwoman costume and goes out to figure out what is really going on.
Catwoman finds one of the fakes running around in a copy of her old costume. Catwoman captures the fake with her whip. While making a sarcastic comment the fake elbows Catwoman and runs away.
Catwoman runs after the fake. The chase ends up with Catwoman entering a building where she finds a room filled with other people wearing old versions of her costume. End of issue.
The Good: After leaving Bruce Wayne at the altar it was a big question as to what DC Comics and Joelle Jones would do with Selina Kyle. That is a question that still isn’t answered with Catwoman #1 but a tone has been set by placing Selina in a brand new location. That tone is one that is unknown. Unknown for who Selina wants to be moving forward. Unknown for where Selina actually wants to live. And unknown what Catwoman will represent.
Not knowing who Selina Kyle will be outside of being Catwoman is a good question to base a series around. There is a lot of story possibilities that Jones opens up as she opens up the world to be Selina’s playground. That tone is set by immediately taking Selina out of Gotham City and placing her in Villa Hermosa, a Mexican city that does not have a history of being a location used in the DC Universe. Having this setting in place gives Jones the opportunity to build a brand new cast that does not have a connection to Batman in any way.
With this new setting Jones is able to shape Villa Hermosa as a city that can fit into who Selina is. Having the first time we see Selina be inside a casino showed this as she is already going back to shady places that she can just lose time in. This further points to how Selina’s current mindset is to try to keep her mind off what she just went through by doing things like gambling. And it was good that Jones does this without actually trying to tell the reader this with thought bubbles. It is all done by visual cues that is much more effective than doing it through dialogue.
At the same time Jones does a very good job having the results Selina leaving Bruce at the altar still be something that weighs heavily on Selina. That is something that we see right away with how Selina breaks down after getting her old gear delivered to her from Alfred. There is a clear emotional toll that Selina’s decision has on her. Even if it was the only the time we see her deal with this the burst of emotion does show that Jones will be exploring this sub-plot further during the course of this new Catwoman series.
It was also interesting to see the tone Jones had Alfred take with the letter that was included in the package he sent. There was a clear sense of disappointment and anger as Selina left someone Alfred sees as a son without actually talking to him. Alfred ending the letter by signing it as “Pennyworth” drove that home as it was something that showed contempt with. This also perfectly sets up a future story involving the Batman Family. Selina will have a lot to deal with whenever she cross paths with Batman Family.
While that won’t be dealt with right away it is good to see how Jones set-up a story that specifically targets the public knowing that Selina Kyle is Catwoman. Having that as a well known thing makes it easy to see how in the world we live that others would want to take advantage of the Catwoman identity. And by having the fake Catwomen connected to the Lady of Villa Hermosa it gives the reader something to instantly hate about her. The fact that Raina Creel clearly paints everything she does as extremely shady, even if it is not clear what her endgame for doing this is.
Similarly, it was good to see how Jones set up the cops in Villa Hermosa. During their short scenes Jones shows that, like the GCPD, there is distrust within the cops in the city. Will showing a lack of confidence in the other investigators being able to figure out this Catwoman case puts that over. Making it more effective is the fact that Jones only spends a few panels establishing that. It shows a sense of confidence in the story that there isn’t a long drawn out discussion. It’s also a good showing for the new characters as it shows that Will and the others won’t be messing around with this investigation.
As well handled as the writing was, Jones artwork was even better for Catwoman #1. Jones does an excellent job giving Catwoman #1 a style that is unique to this series. It easily stands out while maintaining the noir-style look fans are used to from street-level comics. I especially enjoyed how Jones crafted the opening pages as it gives a clear idea of all the things that are going on at the same time. She kept Catwoman #1 moving forward and only looked back when it was necessary for characters to figure out what was going on at the moment.
The Bad: The only problem that I had with Catwoman #1 is that Jones does not make it clear why the Lady of Villa Hermosa would use Catwoman’s identity for her shady dealings. It just felt random since it was not clear how long Selina has been living in the city. If it was established that Selina has been in Villa Hermosa for a few weeks than it would’ve made sense why there are so many fake Catwomen around rather than seeing a bunch of other fake villains identities being used. Not making that time period clear does put into question why this is going and could’ve been explained with one quick line of dialogue.
Overall: Joelle Jones gives Selina Kyle’s new ongoing series a solid start with Catwoman #1. From the beginning Jones sets up how Selina is now in a rebuilding mode as she is trying to figure out what she should be doing next. This state of unknown as to what exactly Selina’s future in and out her Catwoman disguise creates a lot of potential for what this series can and will be. For Catwoman fans this is a must buy. And if you have ever been interested in Catwoman from her time in the Batman comics I recommend checking this issue out as a starting point for Selina Kyle’s solo adventures.