Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale is published by DC Comics under the DC Ink imprint. The graphic novel is written by Lauren Myracle (ttyl), with art by Isaac Goodhart, colors by Jeremy Lawson, and letters by Deron Bennett. The graphic novel follows a 15-year-old Selina Kyle long before her days prowling Gotham’s rooftops as Catwoman.
Selina’s home life is rough as her mother is routinely bringing home different problematic and often abusive boyfriends. School life isn’t much better but Selina keeps sane with two best friends and, of course, Bruce Wayne. Though despite knowing each other for years Bruce and Selina have grown apart.
Selina then finds a stray cat and takes her in. The gives her the courage to confront Bruce, finding out why their friendship fell apart but when Dernell finds the cat and hurts the poor animal, Selina has finally had enough and runs deciding she would rather be homeless on the streets of Gotham than in an abusive household.
Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale offers a take on Selina Kyle’s origin and how she got into the thieving business. Offering readers a glimpse into everything from her upbringing to how she honed her parkour skills as well as the people she met along the way. However, this graphic novel has some very mature and triggering themes including but not limited to bullying, gay slurs (although brief), domestic violence, self-harm/cutting, animal abuse, child abuse, child endangerment, suicide, and sexual harassment.
While most DC Comics are known for being dark and dealing with heavier themes, this book delves more in detail to each character, particularly Selina’s connection to these upsetting themes and moments. Seeing Selina’s cat abused and then killed was incredibly difficult especially considering I just adopted another rescue cat and both of my animals have been abused prior to being in my care.
I do not know if I would have so eagerly have volunteered to read this book if I was aware of how many triggering elements were within it. The book actually ends with three pages worth of resources for if you are dealing with domestic violence, suicidal thoughts, or concerned about an animal that may be in danger.
While I appreciate the honesty within the book and its bravery in tackling these issues, it does not have enough subtly to do it well. The book feels like an episode of Degrassi, everything happens so quickly that no issue is properly given enough time to be explored. Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale also does not really capture Selina Kyle. Even toward the end of the book when Selina should be closer to the character we know now, she still lacks a lot of the charisma and sass fans love about the character.
The one major high point of this book is Goodhart’s art and the choice to make the entire graphic novel be printed in soft blueish tones conveying the theme of moonlight that is heavily present not only in the title but throughout the book. Goodhart’s character designs are lovely and Selina even with long flowing hair, looks like Selina Kyle. Lawson’s colors are spectacular and a stand out in the book.
Overall, Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale is a hard sell for traditional DC fans and doesn’t capture the essence of the character. It also fails in properly exploring the dark themes it wants to and at times feel exploitative and like shock value. I imagine some fans of YA novels will enjoy it, but if you do have issues with any of the triggers I mentioned previously, please be wary.
Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale is available now everywhere comic books and books are sold.
Rating: 2.5/5 cold cans of beans