Review – Catwoman #42: Escalation

Comic Books DC This Week
Catwoman #42 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Catwoman #42 – Tini Howard, Writer; Nico Leon, Artist; Veronica Gandini, Colorist

Ray – 8.5/10

Ray: Until now, this run of Catwoman has been fairly low-key, settling Selina into a new status quo and pitting her against an old enemy—Black Mask, the closest thing she has to a true arch-enemy. After several runs that cast her as more of a superhero, this run sends her right back into antihero territory and has her as a power player amid the Gotham mob. Along with Dario, the gay son of a mob scion, she’s become deeply enmeshed in a ruthless plot that claimed a young woman and brought her back into contact with her ex-lover Eiko Hasigawa. But it’s been missing the high-stakes plotting of the previous run—until now. A flashback nicely sets the score of why this random woman means so much to Selina, and calls back to her past relationship with the tragic Holly Robinson. (Might be time to bring her back in present continuity and clean up that mess, IMO). And it also sets her up for revenge on Black Mask.

Lost loves. Via DC Comics.

Watching a well-choreographed revenge plot play out is a thing of beauty. It’s easy to forget that in some ways, Selina is the closest thing the DCU has to a Black Widow-like superspy. This issue sees her feigning vulnerability in a clever way, taking on different identities, and finding out exactly when Black Mask is most vulnerable at an extremely rare moment—before striking in a brilliantly personal way that doesn’t kill him, but totally exposes him and makes him look weak in front of the cult of fear he’s built with the rest of the mob. Of course, with Sionis being a particularly deranged villain, making him look weak might just be when he’s most dangerous and prone to lash out. The way the tension builds in this issue is top-notch, and the emotional coda sells the story very nicely. Aside from Dario, it does still feel like Selina’s world is oddly empty in this run, but it’s gaining momentum fast.

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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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