These Cats Got Some Sharp Claws: Reviewing ‘Catwoman’ #55

by Scott Redmond


Gotham City’s various cats are on the prowl, ready to make their biggest moves yet against the crime forces they’ve been aiming for all this time. Another gorgeous, sexy, emotionally powerful entry into this must-read series that continues Selina Kyle’s rise to her rightful place amongst the DC pantheon.


The cat’s out of the cage and ready to play. With prison behind her, Selina Kyle returns to Gotham to finish what she started. Forces collide as secrets are revealed, duels have been promised, and the final confrontation with Black Mask moves ever closer.

This is a series that always delivers, one of my favorites each month. In many cases, a status quo change like Selina in prison would be one that we the fans might grumble about being moved past quickly. In this case, though, it all works because Selina’s reasons for being there aren’t gone, even if she left it behind. The phantom of Valmont and the choices she made still plague her. What Tini Howard has been building over the previous fifteen issues gets deeper and more precarious by the day.

Long-form stories in comics are always a tough act to put on. Spending too much time, or too little, anywhere can cause the house of cards to wobble or topple. Because we must wait a whole month between issues, the slower a story is being told the harder it can be to keep the attention. Howard does it right with this series because of the incorporation of smaller arcs and pieces that are part of the whole but also can stand alone. It’s all one story but essentially, it’s been broken into bite-sized always engaging chapters which just works.

Howard throws a ton at us in this issue, and one must make sure to keep up, but it works. None of it drags and really, it’s all about putting the pieces back on the board together. While also setting up the next moves of those characters and the series as a whole. Plenty of the big moments that have been percolating and desired by the characters/fans are nearing fruition. At the same time, we have no real clue where any of it will end up going. Which is super exciting. Having read comics for most of my life, I love it when a writer has me on the edge of my seat.

I’m always in love with the stylish and slick work that Nico Leon and Veronica Gandini create together. Leon’s artwork is very kinetic and smooth, with an air of noir and sexiness, that keeps the story moving as quickly as the characters within. All the facial expressions and body movements are on point, creating a world that truly feels alive in every single panel. Plenty of space is left open for shadows and white space, which is often filled with vivid off-the-wall colors.

Gandini taps into that same sort of noirish and superhero-type energy. Shadows and vivid colors are beautiful dance partners, gliding together from start to finish. It all feels quite dark and heavy, as a crime-type story should, but also so overly bright and colorful. Splashes of purples, pinks, greens, and blues dot the pages while others are far more attuned to ‘reality’ in a sense. It all feels very real but also heightened, just as Gotham City is meant to be.

Together they create something that feels like it has depth and could be a place we could visit. Gotham is a city with such personality and what various art teams are doing lately with it is fantastic. This series’ various creators — it has shuffled at times — have definitely put their marks on this part of Gotham. It has charm and personality that can’t be disputed.

Much of the same can be said of the lettering work that Lucas Gattoni brings to life. It’s energetic and emotional, hitting all the right notes to allow us to feel and hear this. While it’s also colorful and flows through the issue so smoothly. It guides us through the various pages, making sure we follow along while giving us so much from the characters. Colors slide into play with the big bold SFX, but also the delightful purple hues of Selina’s caption boxes. It all has the same noir/crime but also comic book fun feeling as everything else.

Catwoman #55 is now available from DC Comics.

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