Catwoman #4 – Joelle Jones, Writer/Artist; Fernando Blanco, Additional Artist; Laura Allred, John Kalisz, Colorists
Ray – 8.5/10
Corrina: Flashback to Brubaker’s Run
Ray: Joelle Jones’ Catwoman run finally starts to hit its stride with this issue focusing on arguably the most painful part of Selina Kyle’s past – her tragic relationship with her sister Maggie. While Maggie and Selina grew up together in an abusive home, the direction their lives took since couldn’t be more different. Selina vowed to never be a victim again and became Catwoman – which tragically set Maggie’s torment into motion. Following the murder of her husband and her torture at the hands of Black Mask in the famous Brubaker/Cooke run, Maggie has been catatonic in a mental institution – which is where Selina finds herself when the issue starts. After all she’s lost, Selina’s pain sends her back to where it all began, and a series of flashbacks show how the bond between Selina and Maggie was formed. The timeline jumps back and forth between the present day and major moments from the past, showing how Selina built Catwoman as an armor for herself.
We see Selina and Maggie as little girls still stuck with their cruel parents, and later as teens/preteens on the run. We see them as Catwoman and Sister Maggie later. But the most intriguing segment focuses on the two of them as preteens out on Halloween. This is where Selina’s Catwoman persona is born, as a shield and a mask that lets her fight back against injustice. She winds up playing hero to a bullied boy but takes it way too far when targeting a trio of cruel bullies. From this early age, we see how Maggie is uncomfortable with Selina’s ruthlessness, which drives a rift between them. But in the present day, Selina is unable to reach Maggie and free her from the torment in her mind – but she’s not the only one trying. The shady doctors at Maggie’s institution are about to try an experimental procedure, and those always go great, right?
Bad things are coming for Selina, but this is easily the strongest issue we’ve gotten yet as Jones finds her feet on this title.
Corrina: The last thing I expected from this issue was a flashback to the most gruesome moment in Ed Brubaker’s classic Catwoman run, Black Mask’s torture of Selina’s sister and her brother-in-law. It was a turning point in that series, one that had Catwoman murdering Black Mask in revenge. That’s why this was an odd flashback for me because, in that series, Selina definitely commits murder, a turning point for her. Comics being comics, Black Mask lived again. But if he was alive, that Selina would have made certain to destroy him, so why isn’t she doing that?.
But my questions don’t mean this issue is bad. It’s very good. Aside from that blip in continuity that ruined one of Selina’s seminal moments, (which is not the fault of the creators of this series), this is the story that put Jones’ series completely on track.
Selina moping about her plot-induced break-up with Bruce did not work. Selina trying to reach her catatonic sister is heartbreaking, however, and emotion drips from those pages dealing with her memories. (As does revulsion from the torture.)
I’m suddenly very interested in the shady doctors and our overall villain. Will Black Mask be showing up?
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.