Tini Howard has taken over on Catwoman with artist Nico Leon, and they’ve brought Selina Kyle back to Gotham. In the first issue of the story arc, Catwoman made it clear to the main crime bosses of Gotham she means business. In part two, out this week with Catwoman #40, Catwoman makes it very evident she needs to be respected.
The first issue didn’t quite win me over, but this second issue really shines through what it’s going for be it Catwoman’s heroic nature, or her ruthlessness. The issue opens with Catwoman discovering a woman murdered in bed, reeling from the fact that she could have prevented it. She’s on a bit of a rampage in the issue, showing crime bosses she has access to their safest, most sacred safe spaces. Watch out.
Work needs to be done to gain leverage, which we get to see as she pinpoints a gangster who has inspirations to rise up. If you like gangster movies, you’ll probably love how Howard plays out the machinations of influencing entire mob families.
Plus, she looks incredibly cool flying her motorcycle into a room of drunk gangsters! This scene alone makes the book worth checking out thanks to Leon’s great art and Jordie Bellaire’s colors. The pink lighting within the motorcycle really pops in the darkly lit room and Leon plays with Catwoman’s acrobatics and the weight of the motorcycle crushing a bad guy. This scene also has great use of silhouette to show Catwoman’s speed and viciousness. She’s letting off steam — and letting herself get carried away.
Cut to the next scene which features the mysterious stranger who gave Selina a new cat in the last issue. Howard has Catwoman peruse a museum just for fun, but this character appears to mix things up. There’s a cat and mouse game going on here, and definitely some kind of sexual tension. It’s also interesting to see how Howard brings in the mysterious character’s gender, which adds a wrinkle to their developing relationship.
Environments look incredible in this book, too. Pairing Leon’s sharp, detailed lines with Bellaire’s great lighting and atmosphere effects make for a book that practically looks photorealistic. The shine of Catwoman’s leather costume is also constantly drawing the eye. Backgrounds are well detailed too, and there’s a good mix of visual ideas outside of the main figures that draw your attention.
As with the first issue, though, the captions can be too much at times. It’s not quite as prevalent here, but it does pop up. The internal monologue of Catwoman is a great idea and it works here and there, but when the caption boxes start piling up on top of the art it can get cluttered and slow things way down.
I wasn’t a believer at first, but Catwoman #40 has made me want more from Howard and Leon. This creative team really fires on all cylinders here as it mixes in action, mobster drama, and sexual tension. Catwoman is stylish, sleek, and offers an intelligent crime story under a layer of tight leather and claws.
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