Connect with us
'Catwoman' #32 is a multifaceted tour of Selina Kyle's life
DC Comics

Comic Books

‘Catwoman’ #32 is a multifaceted tour of Selina Kyle’s life

This marvelous issue creates a portrait of Selina Kyle from the people who have briefly entered her world.

Some of my favorite Batman stories are ones where he barely appears. For a character that popular, whose shadow is as long in popular culture as anyone, sometimes all a story needs is the hint of his presence.

In this issue of Catwoman, writer Ram V gives Selina Kyle the same treatment. Across varying vignettes, Selina’s pursuers — Gotham City police and the mysterious assassin Father Valley — are treated to stories of her past.

Listen to the latest episode of our weekly comics podcast!

The stories are not only lessons on Selina’s chameleonic character — kind and resourceful, unforgiving and selfish — but chances for guest artist Evan Cagle to show off his own diverse skillset.

'Catwoman' #32 is a multifaceted tour of Selina Kyle's life

DC Comics

The first page was not Cagle’s best showcase. Valley is interrogating one of Selina’s former associates, but the bland, monochromatic backgrounds and lack of detail were not encouraging.

But if you have seen one of Cagle’s covers or glanced at his innovative webcomic, Dark Tropic, you would know this page is hardly representative of the detail in his work. Throughout the issue, Cagle draws sprawling vistas as varied as the Gotham underground and coastal Sicily. Like a basketball player who heats up most in the second half, Cagle saves some of his best moments for smaller panels.

I especially love a close-up shot late in the issue of Selina as her eyes peer through a masquerade ball mask. That moment presages a brutal final page, the kind arriving at such a precise, emotional note that is far too rare to spoil.

'Catwoman' #32 is a multifaceted tour of Selina Kyle's life

DC Comics

For a comic whose plot has advanced quickly since the end of Future State, this issue is a necessary come-down. V hints at the Magistrate program, which has become a more important force in the Batman books, but mostly lets his characters tell tall tales about Selina.

The cumulative impact of their tales — some positive, others quite negative — gives Selina the the aura of a larger-than-life legend. I was reminded of Marauders #20, which featured a similar structure built around stories about Storm. That story functioned as a tribute. This one is more of a warning: mess with Selina at your own peril.

V’s choice of perspectives is instructive here. The people reflecting on Selina are not her best friends or teammates, but people she’s either saved, worked briefly with, or abandoned. Each has their own perspective, but none of them knows Selina well enough to view her as anything but a force of nature.

Catwoman often keeps its focus tight on Selina. V leans on her narration to move the story forward. This issue rewards the ones that came before by showing Selina’s impact in other, more indirect ways. Her absence is what animates this issue and, even when she appears, it is filtered through other people’s eyes.

The title, “Everything You Know About Selina Kyle,” is strangely appropriate. Ask a bunch of people about someone and see what they say. You’ll often hear garbled, contradictory things. No one is a monolith, least of all an antihero like Selina.

'Catwoman' #32 is a multifaceted tour of Selina Kyle's life
‘Catwoman’ #32 is a multifaceted tour of Selina Kyle’s life
Catwoman #32
Who is Selina Kyle? Writer Ram V and guest artist Evan Cagle answer across varying vignettes as Selina’s pursuers are treated to stories of her past.
Reader Rating0 Votes
0
Ram V smartly chooses characters from the periphery of Selina's life to spell out the impact of her choices.
Father Valley remains a delightfully weird — and haunting — villain!
Evan Cagle's art won me over with its impeccable detail and splendid outdoor vistas.
For a comic with a lot of plot threads, standalone issues like this can slightly halt its momentum.
8.5
Great

Like what we do here at AIPT? Consider supporting us and independent comics journalism by becoming a patron today! In addition to our sincere thanks, you can browse AIPT ad-free, gain access to our vibrant Discord community of patrons and staff members, get trade paperbacks sent to your house every month, and a lot more. Click the button below to get started!

Comments

In Case You Missed It

AfterShock First Look: Cross to Bear #1 AfterShock First Look: Cross to Bear #1

AfterShock First Look: Cross to Bear #1

Comic Books

Captain Marvel #30 Captain Marvel #30

‘Captain Marvel’ #30 ups the ante

Comic Books

X-Men Monday #115 - Valerio Schiti Talks Art, Inspirations, Inferno and More X-Men Monday #115 - Valerio Schiti Talks Art, Inspirations, Inferno and More

X-Men Monday #115 – Valerio Schiti Talks Art, Inspirations, ‘Inferno’ and More

Comic Books

Moon Knight 1 Cover Moon Knight 1 Cover

‘Moon Knight’ #1 review: All parishioners welcome

Comic Books

Connect
Newsletter Signup