In the first issue of a new story arc, Selina has settled into her life in Villa Hermosa, but things get complicated when the Penguin sticks his nose into her town. Is it good?
In terms of plot, there’s not much happening in this issue. As Selina debates which expensive diamond ring will come home with her, the Penguin begins his journey to Villa Hermosa, the town where Selina fled after ditching Batman at the altar. She’s out patrolling when an explosion at the pier takes down the Ferris Wheel, and forces her to take down several henchmen as they try to bring her in to the Penguin’s aquarium lair. There’s a small glimpse of a plastic surgeon’s office, where a horribly disfigured woman demands another procedure, who I am sure will be important in the upcoming story line.
Is It Good?
While the issue is light on plot, we do get some great character moments. The Penguin is picked up by a very chatty driver (everyone’s worst nightmare, right? Not just me?), and shoots him in the face to get him to shut up. Selina’s contemplation of a very expensive diamond ring, and her response to the jeweler’s suggestion that she should ask her husband to pay for it lets us know that while she still not suffering per se, she may be suffering pangs of guilt at her abandoned wedding.
Joelle Jones makes great use of her words, doing a lot of character work in just a few sentences. But the real star of this issue is art, both in the several beautifully choreographed fight sequences and how the art team of Elena Casagrande and Fernando Blanco use different panel layouts and perspective to play with timing and reader expectations. The backdrop of the fish tanks as the characters kick, punch, and crash into the glass makes for very dramatic sequences, well-colored by John Kalisz. Even those Jones is the writer, not the artist, I saw some homages to her style through some sequences, like the ink splatters across page 19.
I also have to give props to the gorgeous variant cover by Ben Oliver. Absolutely stunning colors and I love the delicate, sketch-like quality to the piece.