No matter where the action is, ‘Catwoman’ continues to focus heavily on the characters and the world that it has created, advancing the story in both smaller and bigger ways at the same time. A new artistic vision adds to the beauty and power that this series has displayed month after month, keeping a similar energy running no matter which people are handling the various artistic elements.
With a series like Catwoman, there aren’t really any ‘quiet’ issues as the cat burglar/vigilante is always involved with some pretty deep stuff that rarely leaves room to take a day off. Even with this being an issue heavily focused on Catwoman and Valmont heading to Europe to deal with things tied to the Gotham families, there is no rest for the wicked.
There is a ton going on here, perhaps a bit too much. Now to be clear, I really liked what was done here and what Tini Howard is doing overall with this series. We get some good action scenes, some big advances in the plot, some more tense moments between Catwoman/Valmont as their relationship is still shaky, and a huge potentially game-changing moment around Dario. It’s all done well, and the characters shine because Tini is just so good at bringing out all the character and emotional moments.
What makes me lean towards perhaps a bit too much was done in one issue is how there is a lot of bouncing around that at times takes a moment to realize that we’re somewhere else, even with the location placards on pages. It takes nothing away from the story, but I do think that some of the moments could have benefitted from a bit more breathing room with some of this may be split into a second issue. That being said, it still works, and I loved every moment we were given.
With these new issues, we get another artistic change as Caitlin Yarsky comes on board to handle the art for this story. Each artist so far has brought their own energy to the book as their styles are all so different, and there is a sort of lightness to Yarsky’s artwork while still feeling like it has weight and depth, and power at the same time. All of the emotional beats are clear and work well just as the action sequences are slick and smooth and dance across the pages.
What has not changed is the great work that Jordie Bellaire brings to this book from the coloring side, once again making changes to her work that fit the work of the artist. It’s still clearly Bellaire’s style, but the use of the vivid colors that work as sort of filters over some art are fewer. That’s not just because of matching style, it matches the fact of the locations the character happens to be in, having left the neon-soaked streets of Gotham behind for wider spaces in Europe. Bellaire’s colors are still smooth and have inherent brightness but are also very Earthy or toned down in quality in many of the panels, leaving space for the pages/panels where bright colors just take over and enhance the mood.
Over on lettering stalwart, Tom Napolitano returns with Josh Reed to help bring the letters to these pages. There is far more dialogue to get through within this issue, but they make it work as it moves around the pages and keeps things pretty clear. In the first pages, there is a little thing done where the font for Catwoman and Valmont’s words are noticeably different, making it clear who is saying what but also a nice change that it gives a visual indicator of how different they sound and talk. Just like how there are plenty of great changes to sizes or fonts along the way to make sure that we can easily read the tone and volume, which is always something that Napolitano has done so well.
No one that has read these reviews before would be shocked to hear how much I like SFX within comic book stories. Especially when they are done so artistically, where they match whatever energy is coming off the page/moment and pay it back, sometimes tenfold. Gunfire SFX that comes streaking into the room alongside the bullet trails, or the loud sound of a snowmobile following the treads of the machine, all the way down to a simple gun-clicking sound. They are powerful and in the moment no matter how big or small they happen to be.
Catwoman #46 is now available from DC Comics.