Saturday, November 19, 2011

Catwoman #3

Writer: Judd Winick
Artist: Guillem March
Company: DC Comics

After the "controversy" of the first issue, not much has really been said about our favorite feline anti-hero. Whether that's because it was written off as a tawdry book who's only reason for existence was to show some skin and have page after page of sexual innuendo or for some other reason, I don't know. For me, Catwoman has fast become the sleeper hit of the DC relaunch. Yes, it's tawdry and unrelentingly dark, but Winick is pulling the threads of a calculated and interesting story together, panel by panel, inch by inch.

The cover, drawn by March, is telling and gives us a quick glimpse of what is to be found inside. The use of
negative space (with added dabs of crimson) is striking, the tears that are streaming down her face creates a great sense of palpable emotion, and then there is the dash of outlandish insanity with the spray painted logo of "Gotham Bats" on Catwoman's weapon of choice. That in a nutshell is what this book is; Crazy, character-centric tales that hit you over the head with great force.

Still, the actual story is that odd blend of horrific and edge of your seat intensity, peppered with a light dusting of War of the Roses (the movie) humor. We begin the issue with Selina captured and tied to a chair, forced to look at the body of her friend lying on the floor whilst a villain monologues. Artist Guillem March ability to capture the fear and anger that she's feeling is phenomenal. There's a sense of almost exaggeration in the portrayal of it, similar to what you would find in Manga, but not taken over the top. It's real and powerful and you immediately hope that she goes all Man on Fire on the lunatic that has done this to her. Still, Winick doesn't make Catwoman into a victim. He explores her psyche throughout the issue, what exactly drives her, and the lines that she's willing and not willing to cross.

That coupled with slick action and a certain winged guest star, and you've got the makings of a memorable story that is surprising.

And then there is the art. March, simply put, is amazing. The movement of his characters, the simplicity of his line work...It's methodical and beautiful. The range of emotion and expressiveness is something I've already mentioned, but he doesn't do that just with his character's faces. It's in their body language and the intensity that they have. The backgrounds that he provides, while simple, frame each panel in unique ways and allow the reader to get a great sense of location. He really has the whole package.

It's true, Winick does have his ups and downs in comics. With Catwoman though, his abilities are turned up to Eleven. I also appreciate the fact that though the story is definitely continuing, the first three issues are a complete story that has a beginning, a middle, and a satisfying conclusion.

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