[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Joëlle Jones
Art: Fernando Blanco
Colors: John Kalisz
Letters: Saida Temofonte
Asking the question, “Who is Selina Kyle?” has gotten folks hurt in the past…but this time it’s Selina asking about herself. Meanwhile, the disgraced Creel family are marshalling their resources to make a return to Villa Hermosa and claw their way back to the top.
Blanco’s art provides that pastel feel that’s been missing since Joëlle stopped providing interior art. His panel-by-panel coverage of the auction is very cinematic and has a nice flow. Jones makes up for the break last issue by throwing us immediately into the action while reconnecting it to her situation with Penguin. Having Raina make a cameo appearance with her resurrected son Adam once again establishes her connection to the mystery surrounding the relic. The boy’s current zombie-like physical state parallels with Maggie’s catatonia; the fact that Raina sees nothing wrong with her boy shows the level of insanity her grief has driven her. Beyond her long list of sins, it’s no shocker Raymond has distanced himself from her. But getting back to Maggie, as a caregiver, I can understand Selina’s frustrations. She’s trying her best to help her sister in ways that won’t trigger a painful memory. The reader needed a reminder of what Black Mask put her through in the last series and how horrific it was. Without providing the exact details of her trauma in the issue save for those words, Jones brilliantly gave the reader incentive to go digging for what happened to Maggie. It provides Selina with an additional level of guilt as well as the level of love she has for her sister. She was willing to kill Black Mask for what he did to Maggie, and she is taking her care completely on her shoulders. Having the narrative provided by Selina’s unofficial “Guy Friday” Carlos was a way of bringing a common man’s perspective into this situation. He has no special powers and is no master thief; he’s just trying to help his friend get answers and possibly help the pawn shop’s lights stay on with extra money. And Jones is apparently trying to get Carlos’s hands dirty by revealing his knowledge of people like art forgers. She’s trying to put Carlos in the role of a protégé for Selina, something she’s never had before to this reviewer’s knowledge.
First and foremost, the cover is misleading and has zero to do with the main plot. While levity is necessary, this feels like the kind of composition you’d find on a Harley Quinn cover. The placement of the flashback also feels too abstract; Joëlle should have put it on the first page instead of five pages in. While it picks up after the “Ocean’s Eleven” interlude in the last issue, those who were hoping for some kind of resolution regarding Holly and the Bane influence are disappointed. While Blanco’s art is fine, his conveyance of Selina’s escape from Penguin feels too stiff. He doesn’t know how to take full advantage of Catwoman’s acrobatic skill. The issue is also a little too fast-paced; there are points where you feel inclined to go back a few pages to see if they missed anything.
While the art is an improvement from last issue and the cliffhanger offered some resolution, there are a lot of disconnections and missed opportunities. If Blanco is coming back next week he has to work on his animatics in conveying Selina’s flow of motion. Cover art quality is good but lacking in relevance to the interior pages. Good points on showing Maggie still traumatized and paralleling that with a Pet Semetary-esque Adam Creel. I feel that Joëlle should get back to the interiors because the initial artwork established a tone. While Fernando tries to capture it, it’s still a different style. This book has promise, as does its plot, but the eyes tend to wander a little too much.