The parade of “Zero Year” tie-ins continues this week as we take a look at the early days of one Selina Kyle as she attempts to prepare for the worst storm in Gotham’s history.
We take a break from the insanity that has been Ann Nocenti’s run on Catwoman this month, with John Layman stepping in to write this “Zero Year” tie-in. With the change in writer comes a decidedly different tone, which is actually beneficial to the issue. Gone are the underground psychopaths and Gotham Underworld General Catwoman, in steps the Selina Kyle most of us fondly recall.
This is a street-smart thief who does her best to take care of her neighborhood and the people in it. She’s always looking for the next score and using the tools available to her to get the job done, usually relying on only her wits to see her through. Layman manages to capture who Selina is better in one issue than Nocenti has in most of her run. The issue also serves as a partial origin to Selina, due to her having not become Catwoman yet, and given the way it reads and lays out the story they probably should have had Layman write Catwoman #0 as well, as this does a much better job of it.
More importantly, this is a “Zero Year” tie-in that actually fits. It doesn’t feel like a tie-in; it feels like a day in the life of early Selina Kyle. There’s no need to create some scenario to get her to Gotham; she’s already there. It makes one wish DC would set up all their tie-ins to only feature characters whose appearance would actually make sense.
Aaron Lopresti’s art is spot-on as well, and brings a nice, dynamic feel to the book. The action feels fluid and clean, and he manages to make Selina appear beautiful enough to enthrall without making her seem over-sexualized.
It’s tough to find a negative, but if there is anything wrong with this issue it’s the use of far too many cat puns. The references to cats are prevalent throughout the entire story and almost feels like we’re being beat over the head with it, sort of a “hey, get it? She’s Catwoman and they said it’s raining cats and dogs!”
Other than that this is a very strong issue from Layman and Lopresti.
Layman and Lopresti absolutely knock this issue completely out of the park. The team will certainly be missed when writing duties switch back to Nocenti next month but you never know, maybe they’ll take the reins on the book in the future.