July 4, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Noteworthy Issues: Catwoman: Lonely City #1 (October, 2021)

An older Selina Kyle gets out of prison and tries to pick up where she left off in a post-Batman Gotham City.

Since superheroes rarely age, it’s always nice to get a story where one did.  Case in point:  Catwoman: Lonely City is a DC Black Label story where Selina Kyle is a bit long in the tooth and still wants to pull off heists after a lengthy prison stay.

OK, that alone has me intrigued.

Issue:  Catwoman: Lonely City #1, October 2021

Writer and Artist:  Cliff Chiang

The Plot:  Selina Kyle just got out of prison after a lengthy stay.  Batman, Nightwing, Jim Gordon, and the Joker are all dead.  Mayor Harvey Dent says he’s cured and runs the city.  But something isn’t right here…

Commentary:  This one here probably hits all my comics sweet spots.  Alternate reality, new rules, familiar characters looking and acting differently.  A spot of dystopia.  And Cliff Chiang drew it?  Ok, Cliff Chiang also wrote it.  I don’t know that I have read anything he’s written before, but this turned out pretty good.

The scenario is a good start.  Selina Kyle was in prison for at least ten years or so after something called Fool’s Night.  On that night, the Joker did something that got himself, Batman, Nightwing, and Commissioner Gordon killed.  Selina was found near Batman’s body and arrested.  While she was in jail, Bruce’s fortune was used to greatly improve the city.  Harvey Dent, possibly cured if still heavily scarred, is the mayor, and he has a special unit called the Batcops that keep crime under control.  Other former Batman enemies are scattered about.  Killer Croc seems to be a pathetic barfly in Ma Hunkle’s place.  Penguin runs an off-shore pleasure palace for the rich and powerful.  Poison Ivy and the Riddler appear to mostly bask in nostalgia of days gone by.  And Selina?  Well, she wants to help Barbara Gordon win the mayoral election whether Barbara wants her help or not.

Part of the fun here is seeing how much Gotham has changed.  Dent may look like Two-Face, but he talks a good game.  Oh, he’s the hero of the city, but Selina doesn’t think so.  Selina herself is a bit more gray, but her main issue is she isn’t as agile as she used to be, and arthritis may be creeping in.  Chiang made the Penguin into an old man, Croc into a man clearly gone to seed, and there are are more subtle things like Ivy’s waistline just being a bit thicker than the reader might be used to.

However, this is still first and foremost a Catwoman story, and that means she’s going to need to break into some places, past the more competent and high-tech Batcops that she’s never really dealt with.  She still has a few tricks up her sleeve, but she can’t get around like she used to thanks to age and (probably) a lack of practice.  And all the while, she’s haunted by Batman’s death, trying to do right by Jim Gordon’s daughter, and distrusting Dent…for what turns out to be good reasons.

So, a very promising start for a mature Catwoman story.

Grade:  A

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