writer: Justin Gray / artist: Ron Randall / DC Comics
Before I start, I have a small, probably unpopular confession to make: I really, strongly dislike a lot of the selection from Selina’s long history of costumes, and her iconic 90’s purple outfit is no exception (no, really, why do so many of her costumes have purple and/or green? Cats aren’t purple or green. C’mon, DC, we need answers!). To make matters worse, there’s a strange… (Hook? Mistake? Curlicue coming out of nowhere?) object on the very first page that makes it look like Catwoman has a tail in this version and then it’s never seen again. All that to say, slightly irritating aesthetic choices abound (including several classic cases of brokeback pose, among other anatomical curiosities).
The story itself is nothing remarkable, although considering the fact that the last time I looked at a Catwoman comic it didn’t even have Catwoman in it, I guess I’ll take what I can get. Selina gets conveniently trapped in the pre-Zero Hour Metropolis dome after attempting to rob an heiress but must fight off a half-skull-faced roller derby gang instead (I warned you about the aesthetics…). Following that it’s the pretty typical “I’m not a cape but I guess I fight crime” storyline we’ve seen before, only this time instead of Gotham’s East End she’s protecting Metropolis’ Suicide Slum.
Particularly interesting to me is that, compared to many of the pre-Zero Hour characters’ reaction to the dome, Justin Gray writes Selina with a fairly stable mental state despite her relocation, truly showcasing the character’s cunning and adaptability in a way that can be forgotten in favor of eye candy. The chapter is also titled “Schrödinger’s Cat” for some extra nerdy goodness and ends with the possibility of an interesting twist with her other world opponent.
After a comparison with Ron Randall’s previous work, it’s easy to conclude that the art in this comic is channeling some serious Jim Balent Catwoman, so those looking to fill their 90’s nostalgia quota won’t be disappointed. Personally, however, I actually really love and prefer Claire Wendling’s cover art; there’s a playful softness that I find matches Selina’s personality much better than the hard lines and dark shadows found within, and even reminds me a little of Tim Sale’s art on When In Rome. Altogether I’d say this comic is not a bad read and worth adding to any Catwoman collection.