I know I probably said this before, but I do love a good alternate future. Superhero comics so rarely allow their heroes to age, that any chance to see normal heroes older than they usually are is generally alright by me.
It helps when they appear in a story that’s been as good as the Black Label mini-series Catwoman: Lonely City.
Issue: Catwoman: Lonely City #3, April 2022
Writer and Artist: Cliff Chiang
The Plot: Selina Kyle’s plan moves forward, but she’s starting to have second thoughts.
Commentary: There’s this feel to this story that I like. It somehow finds a good balance between the lighthearted and the dead serious. Selina has, for the most part, been having if not fun than at least something like a human connection with the Riddler, Killer Croc, Poison Ivy, and other former associates. Her plan is evolving to include getting a sample from Clayface, and when it gets really tough, finding a heavy-hitter to take into the Batcave break-in.
Meanwhile, Mayor Harvey Dent is really fighting himself to stay, in his words, a “good man”. The series hasn’t exactly set Harvey up as a good man, though. His personal police force in their Batman-inspired uniforms are basically just some hardcore thugs with badges. The city looks to be basically under martial law as Harvey is trying to gentrify the city’s poorer districts, including the movie theater young Bruce Wayne exited with his parents just before they died in Crime Alley, and he isn’t doing it in a way that appeals either to his election opponent Councilwoman Barbara Gordon or the residents. It doesn’t take much to set the city off.
Nor does it take much to see Dent’s belief that he is a “good man” appear to be something where even he isn’t entirely sure if it is true.
However, I think where this issue shines a bit, besides the reveal on who her heavy hitter is, is the general explanation for why Selina is suddenly having second thoughts. Yes, she and Ed Nygma are getting closer in many ways, but the issue recounts why Selina Kyle, especially at this stage in her life, is perhaps reluctant to take on any partners at all. Going back to the night ten years earlier when Batman and a host of others died trying to stop the Joker one last time, and it would appear that Selina has learned the hard way that many of her past acquaintances have come to bad ends. That reveal explains a lot about why she is reluctant to get other people involved beyond the ones she absolutely needs. And even then, she’s sticking to people who have superpowers.
Selina is clearly doing something that, given her age, could leave her if not dead than permanently injured, and while she may be here as something of an antihero, she’s got no patience for the nostalgia her friends are trafficking in, and she really doesn’t want to let Dent win another election. Too bad for her, as he sees the key to his re-election as catching her in the act of breaking into the Batcave. Will she succeed?
I’m gonna guess yes, but I think there’s still at least one issue left for me to read to find out. As for this one…
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