Man, this one was a lot of fun.
Issue: Catwoman: Lonely City #4, October 2022
Writer and Artist: Cliff Chiang
The Plot: Selina Kyle finally reaches her destination: the Batcave.
Commentary: There’s a moment near the end of this final issue where Barbara Gordon tells Selina Kyle that it was a little known fact that her father was hard of hearing in one ear, and that actually meant it was a lot easier for Batman to sneak up on him. That’s the sort of moment that made this series as much fun as it was. It was somehow both respectful of Batman’s mythos while being more than willing to turn it on its ear. Sure, Etrigan the Demon can be Selina’s muscle with Killer Croc dead, but the transformation between Jason Blood and Etrigan always resulted in a pile of bones and blood, to the point where Poison Ivy and Catwoman were both uncertain that the process of bringing Etrigan out didn’t kill Jason when it happened. It didn’t, but the transformation back results in the same gory mess.
By the by, the appearance of Etrigan, a Superman reference, and the briefest of cameos by Zatanna was a nice way to let the reader know the rest of the DC Universe still existed.
But ultimately, this was a Catwoman story. Yes, she’s past her prime, and she can’t really move like she used to, and she only recently decided she can or even should work with others, but there are things Catwoman needs to be able to do, and that’s where her burglary skills come into play. Mayor Dent is becoming more and more Two-Face, and he needs to go down. That he’s going down anyway, both mentally and politically, is beside the point: he’s still dangerous.
And if it’s a Catwoman story, it also means she needs to save the day in a way that Batman wouldn’t, all while staying true to Batman’s core ethics, ethics that she has somewhat embraced for herself. She isn’t exactly Bruce, but she wants to honor Bruce at the same time.
I said this already, but I really enjoyed the hell out of this. Chiang’s story and artwork both conveyed the maturity and the zippy fun of an old Batman story. It told a mature story, one where not all the characters made it out alive in the end, but still never felt too dark. Really, between this, Rogues, and Suicide Squad: Blaze, I am really liking the whole vibe of the Black Label stuff I’ve been reading.
Check this one out.