Writer: Tini Howard
Art: Nico Leon and Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Tom Napolitano
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: January 19th, 2022
Catwoman’s new era begins in Catwoman #39, as Catwoman protects Alleytown, one of the seedier sides of Gotham and the place she calls home, from four crime families who threaten to slice it up for their own. Along the way, she runs into a new mystery figure who may or may not become a thorn in her side.
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It’s great to see Catwoman back in Gotham again as Catwoman #39 opens. It never feels right when she’s in some other city or country, her home should always be Gotham, cartwheeling on that razor edge between the heroine and criminal and occasionally rubbing shoulders with Batman and his nemeses.
The story this issue is straightforward, with Selina taking on four of Gotham’s crime families who are invading her territory. Simultaneously, a far more interesting side story has a masked master thief character confronting Selina. The character is a member of a thieves guild that wants Selina to join them and piques Selina’s curiosity after the two fight. The character has an interesting design, with arm bracers and their eyes covered by a bandana. It made me wonder if the character is blind, almost akin to Daredevil, and I’m sure as this series continues, we’ll see more of the character and learn their motivations.
Selina is written as savvy and streetwise as ever, and it’s fun watching her gather information on the head of each crime family, then use it against them in deft ways. She prefers to avoid combat, but as we see during a couple of great fight scenes, she’s perfectly fine with fighting too, using dizzying gymnastics and strikes in combat. These fight scenes are dynamic and leap off the page, and as much as I love Selina achieving her goals quietly through spying and manipulation, I would have loved to have seen more scenes of her in heated combat. The surprise villain that appears at the end of the issue, who Selina won’t be able to manipulate so easily, promises that things are going to heat up a lot in the issues to come.
Nico Leon’s art for Catwoman #39 is vibrant and stylish.VIn action scenes, panels overlay and flow into each other, making the action feel furious and immediate. In quiet scenes, Selina’s fashion is beautiful and edgy.
One page has Catwoman perched on the column of a building, and Nico’s art, combined with Jordie Bellaire’s coloring, makes her costume look like it’s glistening in the moonlight.
On another page, Selina hit the streets of Gotham to gather information on the crime families and looks sharp in a sleek black dress that complements her spiked black hair. Each panel makes Gotham’s people and architecture come alive, and it’s fantastic work.
Catwoman #39 is a great first part of Catwoman’s new era, putting her back in Gotham and giving her a whole new cast of enemies and friends. The ultra-cool art and Selina’s savvy attitude, coupled with some great John Wick-style action scenes, make the book a fantastic ride.