New 52 Review: Catwoman

Catwoman #1, Judd Winick (w), Guillem March (a)

THE PITCH: Sexy thief who dresses like a cat is sexy, and also, sex.

HOW WAS IT? If you look at the cover of this book, I think it’s pretty clear what you’re in for: a sexy good time, of sexual proportions. Also? Catwoman.

Okay, to get a little more specific, and talk about the unequivocally good: Guillem March draws some sickly slick comic book art, full of repulsive gangsters, sexy women, and some of the clearest, most dynamic action in comics today. If you read Gotham City Sirens, you’re already pretty aware of his talent with the villainesses of Gotham City, but I imagine this issue – being part of the New 52 – will win him a ton of new fans. At least, I hope so: not that Judd Winick doesn’t bring anything to the table, but as far as this reviewer is concerned, March drawing Catwoman is the main draw (no pun intended).

It’s also pretty clear that Winick is writing for March, amping up the inherent sexuality in Selina Kyle, and bringing her back to a basic approach we haven’t seen since Batman Returns. The plot, as it were, involves Selina getting attacked in her own home, grabbing all the bras and pussies she can (cats, you guys), and jetting out of there. Then, she’s hot on the trail of a new job, which takes her face to face with a man from her past. And then, before the night is done, she’s face to other parts with another man from her past.

I think – and I don’t want to make a generalization here – but Winick is the wrong writer for this series. Or maybe he’s the right writer, and it just isn’t apparent. I don’t even remotely share the hatred about fifty percent of comic fandom seems to show the author; I’ve actually loved a fair amount of what he’s written, and even in this issue, he writes a fun story that moves briskly, and introduces Catwoman’s new/old status quo through action… Something many of the other New 52 titles have forgotten about. Guy is a pro, is my point…

…But he’s not a woman. I know, I know, but Winick writes Catwoman the way a dude would write a sexy lady: like a sexy lady who acts like a dude. I get that Catwoman is the aggressor here, she’s a wild card, sexy as all get out, and able to kick arse in a tight leather suit. She doesn’t take guff from anyone, and as an anti-hero, doesn’t have the qualms about beating shady dudes within an inch of their life that other characters might have. But at the same time, she also doesn’t even remotely come off as anything other than a male comic book reader’s literal wet dream.

Is this a problem if you’re a male comic book reader? If you’re a thirteen year old boy – well, first of all, don’t read this book, it’s way too R-rated for you. But if you do happen to read this book, and you are thirteen, I’d imagine this will series will take up a fair amount of space under your mattress.

That, I think, is the inherent problem: this is not a mature take on Catwoman, a progression we’ve seen on the series for about eighty issues before this. Like with Batgirl, this is a regression of Selina Kyle into a male sex fantasy. Will Winick take her to some places that challenge her, and provoke her to grow up a bit? I mean, I hope and expect so. But in this first issue, at least, this book acts as care free – and therefore almost as careless – as Selina herself.

BEST BIT: Man, I love pussy. Cats. The pussycats in this issue are really well drawn by Guillem March. [NOTE: This is how you back up your point about an issue being immature, by making super clever puns.]

WORST BIT: The… Position… The end of the book could honestly have benefited from going a little more graphic, ironically. I understand it’s not a porn book, but looking at it, it doesn’t make much sense.

EASTER EGGS: So the DC Pink Lady likes shadily hanging out at mob parties, huh?

ACCESIBLE TO NEW READERS? Surely. This is the take on Catwoman probably most people are familiar with.

WILL YOU BE PICKING UP ISSUE 2? Probably! Art is great, and I’m curious to see whether this is Winick suckering you in with the sex, and then hitting you with the characterization he’s known for.

RATING: 37/52

Related Posts:

New 52 Reviews: 'Green Lantern Corps,' 'Red Hood and the Outlaws,' 'Nightwing,' and 'Blue Beetle'

Interview: Writer Brian Azzarello on Wonder Woman, 100 Bullets, and Spaceman

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