Catwoman #2 starts with Selina Kyle staring down a group of imposters and it doesn’t take long for the claws to come out! Does the issue continue the hot streak set by the near purr-fect first issue?
Absolutely. Writer Joëlle Jones did not come here to play with us with this series, in neither its brutal action nor its emotional reflection. Jones infuses the opening fight scene of the issue with pathos by framing it as not only relevant, but central to Selina’s current psychological state. As she continues to labor over the choice she made in Batman #50 internally, she literally battles visual copies of herself in waves externally. Having Selina narrate the fight with thoughts of insomnia and regret paired very well with the brutal fight choreography. Jones, who also draws the series, pulls no punches (or bites) when it comes to Selina’s fight. We’re talking grabbing a woman by the cat ears when she’s already down and kicking her out of consciousness across the face. The hard-hitting panels of the fight paired with the affecting narration made for a fight scene that had a ton of weight to it rather than punches thrown to fill page time.
No punches are pulled outside the action either, as Jones continues to build her new villain into a truly ruthless woman. Raina Creel is an excellent concoction of mob boss and Miranda Priestly-esque diva in action, horror movie monster in appearance. Without spoiling anything, Jones shows that Creel will not accept failure and leave the disappointing party intact which made for scene as brutal as the earlier fight even though no actual punches are thrown.
All of this is presented in panels that blend cinematic framing with layouts and compositions only comics can deliver. There are facial close-ups cut off by half by the panel’s edge and panels that fit the pages’ borders followed by slightly smaller panels that zoom in on the characters’ hands. The filmic quality of the composition of the panels elevates Jones’s excellent, consistent renderings of characters and backgrounds which are as packed with detail as the first issue.
Or rather, when there is a background present, they are packed with details. During the opening fight scene, the backgrounds disappear completely with the characters being the only things filling space in the panels. I appreciate that this lets the eye focus on the action and choreography, but there were some panels that just felt a little empty with only colorist Laura Allred’s hues to look at. There are also a number of panels during slower, dialogue heavy scenes that also lacked a background, but it’s less distracting when the panel features a close up on someone’s face or hands which wouldn’t need a lot of background detail anyway.
Laura Allred’s coloring continues the excellent work of the first issue and helps maintain the tone during the fight scene especially well with alternating purples and reds. There is a gorgeous two-page spread with as much line art detail from Jones as an adult coloring book and Allred fills in those little spaces with a lovely selection of purples, greens, and muted yellows. Josh Reed’s lettering work is also as solid as it was in the last issue and continues to help guide the eye along Jones’s layouts.
Overall, the entire creative team of Catwoman #2 keeps up the momentum of the first issue and delivers an action-packed read that’s as affecting as it is exciting. This issue solidifies the series as one of my most anticipated each month and I can’t wait to see what happens next as Raina Creel’s plan begins to unfold!