The Cats Out Of The Bag: Reviewing ‘Catwoman #53’

by Scott Redmond


Things take a huge leap forward for the two cats of Gotham as ‘Catwoman’ #53 moves the current storyline closer to its next chapter, as Selina Kyle must make a pretty huge choice for the future. Deep rich character exploration, solid dynamic action, and a whole lot of sexy fun is the hallmark of this great series.


One can only keep a cat caged for so long before they’re liable to try and find a way to break free. Selina Kyle has reached her breaking point. It’s time for this cat to be free once more, but she will not be going alone if she can help it.

I’ve really enjoyed the direction that Tini Howard has taken in this series. We’ve witnessed a steady progression as Selina found a new mission, made allies, and knocked Black Mask and his allies down a peg, only to run afoul of Punchline and watch all that she accomplished begin to somewhat unravel. At the same time, we’re seeing how Eiko Hasigawa has truly taken to being Catwoman out on the streets, striking back against the other gangsters that by day she sits on a council with.

While this bit of the story was short, Selina seeking penance for what happened to Valmont despite it not being her fault (the man was a killer through and through and he couldn’t stop that even for her) was an interesting beat. Especially since she’s seemingly going to be able to build a crew from the women she met in jail and help them turn their lives around in a way (towards a more ‘honest’ thievery like herself).

There is a ton tightly packed into this issue but all of it balances and flows smoothly, as Howard is able to easily navigate through it all and make sure everyone gets their time. It’s great to get a series where almost the entirety of the cast, counting protagonists and antagonists as well as supporting, is powerful women marking their place in the world and doing what they do. We need more books like this one, especially since this is a book has been so character rich & powerful for quite some time through the various runs since it began.

It’s nice to see Nico Leon back again after a few issues, as the pairing of his art with Veronica Gandini’s colors is always just a perfect match. That’s because Leon’s art has a very slick and smooth sexy sort of feeling to it, with such depth and weight and detail, while Gandini’s colors have that same sort of smooth and slick feeling to them with color choices that allow for bright vivid pops but also toned down more grounded elements as well. Their settings are so rich and deep and feel like lived in spaces with realistic, whether natural or unnatural, lighting effects that enrich any space and make it feel more real because it resembles what we’re used to seeing.

This is a character-heavy series and Leon is so adept at creating the emotional energy needed for that with spot-on body language and facial expressions and showcasing them through creative paneling choices. That’s not just for the emotional aspects or speaking areas though. Leon already has a lot of kinetic energy radiating through the artwork but panel choices that slash across the pages give it all even more of a flowing sort of appeal and move our eyes around the action in a quick-paced way.

Emotion and energy are a large part of the artwork within the series and that is also the same for the artistry that is the letters. Lucas Gattoni once more is behind that element in the issue capturing the voices of the myriad of characters but also making sure to infuse all of that lettering with the right energy to match the moment on the page. For that, I’m referring to changes to font or spacing or size for the various bits of dialogue or even changing bubbles’ shape/style/size all to really hammer home the volume or tone of the moment. Part of that flow comes from the placement too, as it encircles and moves with the other artwork rather than against it so that we can take it all in together. In some cases, the lettering also naturally works as a guide for our eyes, helping lead us through the panels in the way we’re meant to take them in.

Catwoman #53 is now available from DC Comics.

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