REVIEW: ‘Batman Catwoman,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Batman Catwoman #1

Batman Catwoman #1 is published by DC Comics under the Black Label imprint, written by Tom King, art by Clay Mann, colors by Tomeu Morey, and letters by Clayton Cowles. When Bruce Wayne’s first love Andrea Beaumont shows up at Wayne manor needing help finding her missing son, Bruce is more than willing to look into it. As he and Catwoman begin searching Gotham it quickly becomes apparent there is more to this situation than a simple missing child.

Much like King’s other current limited series Strange Adventures, this book splits its time across two different points in time. But instead of being in the present, and the past, Batman Catwoman #1 jumps between the present and the future. In the future, the book follows an aged Selina Kyle as she takes a road trip to visit an old acquaintance. Meanwhile, in the present the search for the missing child has Batman and Catwoman turning over all kinds of stones in hopes of finding the young man before he gets into trouble. The stakes get raised though when Selina runs afoul of the Joker and the two have a little chat about every little thing.

At its core Batman Catwoman #1 present the beginning of a possibly interesting narrative. However, it’s the characterizations of some of its key players that has me feeling a little divided about this first issue. This is especially a struggle as the characters in question are the ones in the title.

Before I dive into my complaints I have to acknowledge that yes, I know the Black Label is for non-continuity stories, so it’s perfectly fine if characters behave abnormally. But part of striking the right balance with alternate universes is delivering something different, yet the same. Especially given that, by all appearances, the Batman and Catwoman we are seeing are in the exact spot they are likely to be in after Bruce’s year of figuring himself out is up. That having been said, let’s talk about Bruce.

Bruce Wayne has always had one focus above all others. Namely: Gotham. Gotham will always come first. There is no way anyone dealing with Bruce, who knows the real Bruce, would ever expect otherwise. He will always vanish in an instant the second his city needs him. Yet here we find him wrapped up in Catwoman’s arms, barely able to drag himself away. Mumbling about needing to go, while going back for a second kiss like a love-struck schoolboy. I’m sorry, it’s just hard to picture Bruce Wayne like this. No matter how wonderful, and pure, or deep a love it is, it doesn’t change the nature of a person. And the person in this book doesn’t seem like Bruce to me. Then, there is Selina.

I know Selina is often billed as the sometimes hero, sometimes villain, but it feels like it’s been a long time since she was morally ambiguous enough to just casually chat it up with the Joker. Especially given the fact that it’s made clear that he is aware of the budding romance between her and Batman. Given how much the Joker loves to twist Batman’s life inside out I cannot image Selina being comfortable around him. General moral qualms aside even.

And while these moments may not sound like big enough moments to really hurt a narrative, in this instance they are. Because, like all of King’s big limited series, this one looks like it’s going to be another slow burn. Which is fine, but as plot beats are drawn out, the few we get each book call even greater attention to themselves.

As for the future element of Batman Catwoman #1, that I can say little about without dipping into major spoilers. All I will say is, as of yet, it’s a wait and see. I hope it will come together well as the series moves forward. While my feelings about the writing are strongly mixed, I hold no such reservations where the art is concerned. Mann’s art delivers every scene excellently. Selina is exhuming confidence in every move she makes, and Batman looks every inch the dark night. Even while I wasn’t thrilled with the Joker’s presence in the story, the classic mobster style outfit he is presented in looks pretty slick. The colors also do a great job of building out the tone of the story. There are a few absolutely gorgeous panels, perfectly amplified through Morey’s perfect, and creative, color implementation. Wrapping up the visual presentation we have Cowles’ ever clear lettering work. Every dialogue box is precisely where it needs to be.

When all is said and done, Batman Catwoman #1 feels Ike a bit of a stumble coming out of the gate. While there is certainly enough here to build on, it isn’t the strongest start I’ve read. Hopefully, the story will deliver a worthwhile payoff as it continues.

Batman Catwoman #1 is available December 1st wherever comics are sold.


‘Batman Catwoman,’ Issue #1
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TL;DR

When all is said and done, Batman Catwoman #1 feels Ike a bit of a stumble coming out of the gate. While there is certainly enough here to build on, it isn’t the strongest start I’ve read. Hopefully, the story will deliver a worthwhile payoff as it continues.