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Catwoman #36

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By Genevieve Valentine, Garry Brown & Lee Loughridge

The new creative team behind Catwoman started off with an excellent first issue and they have delivered another stunning read that is quickly establishing this book as one of the better titles from DC Comics right now. The artwork from Garry Brown is amazing and the script from Genevieve Valentine is just as strong. Lee Loughridge also puts in a pretty impressive showing with the colouring, making this book stand out and be incredibly eye catching.

The storyline presented here is Keeper of the Castle, and it’s very good. We’re still dealing with the after-effects from Batman Eternal and the new status quo with Catwoman is handled very well. There’s even an appearance from Black Mask which makes the prospect of a Catwoman/Black Mask confrontation all the more inviting, especially as Black Mask has been rather underused in the New 52. This book continues Selina attempting to consolidate her power within the ranks of the many mob bosses in Gotham and it’s great to see the various power plays on show here. Valentine is crafting a unique take on Catwoman and it’ll be very interesting to see how this series develops going forward.

Another interesting element is the fact that somebody else is taking up the mantle of Catwoman in this issue, and we get to see them unmasked after the teases that we were presented with last issue. The development is handled well without abandoning Selina Kyle altogether and it’s very interesting with only two issues in, so much is happening that really makes each issue feel incredibly packed and incredibly awesome.

The great gothic, noir feel of Catwoman is highlighted in the stunning artwork from Garry Brown and Lee Loughridge. It’s something that recognisably takes place in Gotham City and is distinctively a Catwoman book. There are several amazing panels and Garry Brown really knocks it out of the park. Lee Loughridge can always be relied upon to produce some quality and consistent colouring and he does not disappoint here. As mentioned above, he helps Brown bring some great atmosphere to this book making it incredibly distinctive with both artists really making their mark felt. The artwork is a little similar to that of Francesco Francavilla, particularly with the fight sequences on the skyscraper towards the end of the book, and that is by no means a bad thing. It’ll be great to see what Garry Brown can come up with going forward.

There are a few problems however. There can be simply the problem of too much stuff going on making it hard to get around in some places, and it might not as it turns out be the smoothest transition if you’re not already familiar with what’s happening in Batman Eternal. But that’s pretty much where the problems this reviewer has with this issue end, rendering it a very good read indeed.

With the major new status quo for Catwoman there’s going to be a few issues to get everything on the right track and the fact that it’s already pretty good right now means that it can only get better going forward. Valentine is crafting a unique storyline for Selina and with some spectacular artwork, and if you’re not reading this book already then you really should check out with #35 as soon as you can. Despite the very minor flaws, it’s still incredibly good.

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