After a slow start Joelle Jones has found her footing with this new Catwoman ongoing series. The previous issue did a good job in finally giving us the necessary background on why the Creel Family dominate the city Selina Kyle now resides in the way they have. Now Jones looks to make things even more interesting by bringing Selina’s sister, Maggie Kyle, back into play. Seeing that the last issue ended with Selina visiting Maggie in the hospital there is a lot of potential in how Jones decides to play the sisters reunion. Let’s find that out now with Catoman #4.
Writer: Joelle Jones
Artists: Joelle Jones (present-day); Fernando Blanco (past)
Colorists: Laura Allred (present-day); John Kalisz (past)
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Back in the past Selina and Maggie Kyle do their best to not pay attention to their parents fighting.
In the present Selina, in her Catwoman costume without the mask, talks to Maggie about how she is trying to get used to the city. She goes on to say she wants to understand what happened between them.
Sometime in the past at the church Maggie is working as a nun Selina tells her sister that while she can’t take anything Catwoman can.
A couple years later while talking about how they choose to pursue different lives Maggie introduces Selina to her husband, Simon.
Sometime later Black Mask forces Maggie watch him torture Simon. As she watches this she tearfully asks Black Mask why he is doing this.
Back in the present Selina admits that she doesn’t know if her visits are helping Maggie but after all that has happened she is all that she has.
Flashing back to when they were kids Selina gets some a cat costume for herself and an angel costume for Maggie to wear during the Halloween parade. While enjoying themselves a kid that stole some candy from another kid and bumps into Selina while trying to make a run for it. Selina decides to go after the kid.
Selina, with Maggie right behind her, chases the kids down to a construction site. Seeing the group of bullies still picking on the kid they stole candy from Selina fires her gun in the air. Selina threatens to shoot the bullies. At first the bullies don’t believe Selina would shoot them. Selina gets her gun set to fire, scaring the bullies enough to stop what they are doing.
After the bullies leave the construction site Maggie gets mad that Selina almost killed someone.
Years later Black Mask turns his attention on Maggie and begins torturing her. Catwoman finally arrives and is shocked to see the state she finds Maggie in.
Back in the present Selina breaks down and apologizes for always messing things up even when Maggie was trying to live a good life.
Maggie’s doctor, Dr. Finick, suddenly enters the room. Selina quickly hides in a spot she can’t be seen.
Dr. Finick reveals he has been hired by the Creel Family to treat Maggie. He then prepares a syringe filled with something he says will make Maggie feel like “a whole new person.”
Selina hears all of this from her hiding spot. End of issue
The Good: After several issues of being left in the dark about the importance of Selina Kyle’s new home city Joelle Jones shines light on this with Catwoman #4. That light ends up working well to further get into Selina’s backstory and bring in a key supporting character in the form of Maggie Kyle. With this exploration of Selina’s backstory Jones is able to give Catwoman some of the best character development she has had in a long time.
Given that it has been a while since Catwoman had an ongoing series on the market it was odd that we haven’t gotten an issue dedicated to exploring Selina Kyle’s backstory. Jones quickly fixes that fact by bringing in Maggie Kyle into the series. Through the relationship between Selina and Maggie we get a lot of information on the driving force behind the former’s current state of mind.
While the broken relationship with Bruce Wayne has been key in Selina’s move it was great to finally learn that was not the only reason she chose the city she is in. Having her new home based around where Maggie is currently being treated made the connection to Selina’s new surroundings much more personal. Its an instant connection that the reader can understand why Selina has been acting so off since getting to her new city.
Seeing how Selina and Maggie’s relationship as sisters developed as they grew up was well executed. Though they were obviously close it was the choices that they each made that had them both go down different paths. With everything we see them do together we are shown how Selina couldn’t escape a chaotic life while Maggie did succeed in her pursuit for a positive life.
The clash in those two lifestyle choices made the scenes of Black Mask capturing and torturing Maggie and her husband even more heartbreaking. The pain in Maggie’s face as her husband was killed by Black Mask and then tortured was tough to see. In showing us all this and what state of mind Maggie is in Jones created a long-term story that readers can connect with even if they are new to reading Catwoman’s solo adventures.
This all made Selina’s current state of mind even more understandable. Jones does a great job in using all the flashback scenes to emphasize that Maggie is the last person Selina feels a connection to. Even though Selina is racked with guilt over being responsible for what happened to Maggie at the hands of Black Mask she feels that she can’t lose this connection.
That sense of responsibility made the ending of with Maggie’s doctor even stronger. Now with the Creel Family going after everything connected to Selina Kyle is the greatest motivator for Raina to give Catwoman to take the corrupt family down. Because going after Catwoman was one thing but now bringing in Maggie into the conflict, especially after what we learn about the Kyle’s sisters backstory, is too far. In doing so Jones gives the reader even more invested interest in seeing Catwoman overcoming everything the Creel Family are doing against her.
The artwork has been the strength of this series and Catwoman #4 was no different. Jones continues to knock it out of the park with giving Catwoman its own distinct look. With this issue lacking in action Jones packed in a lot of emotion into each page as she explored Selina and Maggie Kyle’s backstory.
Jones artwork in the present day scenes was made better by bringing in Fernando Blanco to hand the flashback scenes. Blanco’s art style is different enough to have the flashbacks have its own style to stand out from the present-day scenes. Blanco got to explore how different Selina and Maggie were as kids with how they reacted differently to similar events. This in turn made Jones’ present-day artwork stronger.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Joelle Jones does a fantastic job using Catwoman #4 to explore Selina Kyle’s current state of mind. Bringing in Maggie Kyle instantly brought in an extra layer of depth to the current story with the Creel Family and created a long-term plotpoint that readers will be instantly connected to. The artwork for the present-day and flashback scenes made the entire issue stronger as it nailed how emotional Catwoman #4 was.