Review – Catwoman: Lonely City #1 – The Ninth Life

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Catwoman: Lonely City #1 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Catwoman: Lonely City #1 – Cliff Chiang, Writer/Artist

Ray – 9.5/10

Ray: It’s become easy to make fun of the Black Label line for being all Batman, all the time. But there is a lot to explore in Gotham City, and a lot of characters who are perfect fits for the mature readers treatment. A perfect example is Catwoman’s first time in spotlight, written and drawn by Cliff Chiang. This is Chiang’s first time writing a comic, I believe, but you wouldn’t know it. While we’ve had a lot of dark futures for Gotham City, I don’t remember many being as instantly compelling as this first issue. Selina Kyle is being released from prison after ten long years, having been convicted of her role in Batman’s death. Gotham City has outlawed masks, and has trended towards high-tech surveillance state under Mayor Harvey Dent.

The long walk. via DC Comics.

Yes, that Harvey Dent—scar and all. The former Two-Face claims to have gotten his issues under control and redeemed himself rescuing a child during the night that claimed Batman’s life. Now a law-and-order politician running for re-election against Councilwoman Barbara Gordon, he’s seemingly reformed—but no less Machiavellian. Selina, meanwhile, is still carrying a lot of secrets but struggling to adjust to life back in the free world. Little changes, like the new technology that’s seemingly everywhere, baffle her, and even her own body betrays her at times. It’s a less dramatic, more compelling and realistic version of what it would be like for a superhero or antihero to just get old.

The costumed heroes are gone, with most of them dead and Barbara in a wheelchair, but the villains’ fates have been mixed. Penguin has become the head of a powerful casino, but seems hesitant to back up Selina’s final score. Killer Croc has softened with age, now spending his time as a barfly who wants to help Selina but doesn’t know if he still has it. And Selina, as flinty as ever, has one last mission to complete for Bruce, and one last epic break-in. The last page reveals who the main villain of this story might be, but it all comes together into a fascinating story of someone dealing with lost time and lost love. Chiang said his inspiration here was the Brubaker/Cooke Catwoman run, and this might be the best spotlight for Selina since then.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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