Other creators involved in the making of this graphic novel include: Illustrations by Issac Goodhart, coloring by Jeremy Lawson, Lettering by Deron Bennett
Content/Trigger Warnings: Domestic violence, alcoholism & severe intoxication, animal abuse/death of an animal, bullying, homophobia, emotional/mental abuse, stealing, child abuse, self-harm, suicide, murder/death
“What I do know is this… I will be stealthy, like a cat. I will be fierce, like a cat. And, like a cat, I will not fear the dark.”
We dive into the world of Gotham with a fourteen-year-old Selina Kyle. Living a life of constant abuse and survival, Selina breaks from the torment after her heart is shattered. Homeless, alone, and heartbroken… Selina will become faced with the fact that she’s now homeless, learning to survive on the streets, and confronting the question of who she is and who she wants to become all while battling her deepest of feelings.
If you thought I didn’t know about this graphic novel then you thought wrong. I love anything that involves Catwoman (and yes, I’m well aware of those comics of her and Batman getting marryied!) or even if she’s just slightly featured in a comic, I am always here for some Catwoman action. So naturally I had to pick up a copy of this graphic novel! I mean there’s cats, important topics, and Bruce Wayne snippets, what more could we ask for?!
“The world is full of monsters. Those girls at school might not know it yet, but I do.”
Okay, friends! I’m just going to start this off by saying I’m of the very, very unpopular opinion. Most of readers in the book/comic community will either hate this or love this book. I have yet to see anyone rate this graphic novel somewhere in the middle (expect for my undecided self, apparently). I actually thought this graphic novel was okay and I will say a strong okay at that. There were plenty of things that I had issues with and I can tell you all right off the bat, I truly understand the hate and negative reviews of this graphic novel, but I also understand why many readers loved this graphic novel. So let me break this down a bit.
For starters, I love that we get so many important topics in this graphic novel. I really liked that this graphic novel didn’t shy away from the homelessness and more specifically homeless children. I feel like this is one of those important topics that isn’t fully addressed in books or graphic novels enough. So seeing this book take that important topic on and not shy away from it really did something to me. Also, this graphic novel doesn’t shy away from domestic violence and abuse. In fact, it pushes those boundaries of showing how abusive people can have sociopathic tendencies. While it may seem strange, I have a deep appreciation to writers/authors who push those borders and really deliver the reality of those points when addressing hard hitting topics.
We also get plenty of scenes with the one and only Bruce Wayne. Yes, it’s true…we actually get full on scenes with Bruce. We even get little glimpses of when he was just a little thing in preschool! It’s so precious and Bruce is as handsome as ever. Even more so, we really get those true vibes of the kind of relationship that Bruce and Selina have. And yes, as a shipper of the Bat and the Cat, my heart was swooning at every moment we had with them together.
Also, I want to take a moment to appreciate the stunning illustrations Issac Goodhart did. He really out did himself. Each page is so captivating, stunning, and makes my heart swoon with love for the characters he’s illustrating. I hope we continue to experience the magic and artwork of Issac for a good while in the comic and graphic novel industry. He has such a talent!
“His hair is as dark as the night, as glossy as the wings of a crow. Not just one crow, but a murder of crows. But without the murder, obviously…”
However, with all the good that this graphic novel had to offer, there were plenty of parts that I had issues with. My biggest issue happens at the beginning of this graphic novel and it’s the most common reason why I’ve seen readers rate this graphic novel so low (even to the point of dnfing). There’s a scene in the beginning where there’s animal abuse that leads into the death of said animal. And later on in the graphic novel, that whole scene is repeated in a memory sequence style or as a flashback. For me, personally, I’m not here to read about animals dying and I certainly don’ want to have to deal with a flashback that happens later on in the graphic novel. It’s like a slap to the face and saying “Oh hey! I’m back!” One time was enough for me and even the first time didn’t sit well with me. So adding that second flashback bit, it felt unnecessary and it’s a great way to put the reader off.
My second issue with this graphic novel is this isn’t an origin story. To all of my fellow Catwoman lovers and comic readers, if you were picking this graphic novel thinking this was an origin story… well, I’m sorry I have to be the one to break your bubble. This is definitely not an origin story. In fact, there’s two questionable, if not three, things that happen in this graphic novel that made me pause and go “what the hell is happening?!” For starters, Catwoman has never gone by the name of Catgirl. EVER. So if the author was trying to do a something similar to an origin story for this graphic novel, I feel like a little more research should have gone into the making of this graphic novel before jumping in head first without knowing about the character you’re writing about. My other issue was the way it seemed like Selina was “given” powers. Once again, I feel like more research should have went into this book because Catwoman is basically the polar opposite of Batman and doesn’t have any powers or receives powers. So that whole scene felt very out of place and I felt it could have been taken in a different direction instead on making it look like Selina receives special powers or a gift.
And those minor things that were a little bit bothersome, but somehow worked it’s way under my skin… yeah, I have to talk about these. Once again, on the topic of the author should have done proper research of Selina Kyle’s character, the author placed her with a group of people when Selina has never relied on anyone and has never put herself in a group. In fact, Catwoman in plenty of comics, movies, t.v. series, and video games has stated she does her best work by herself. While this isn’t a big issue for me, it just feels like the author jumped into a character she isn’t fully aware of or understands. The other thing (it seems like I’m beginning to mention this a lot now) is there is a lot of swearing and drops of how much Selina loves “dick” (even though she’s a virgin). While this didn’t bother me too much, there will definitely be readers who will be turned off by this and this is something that shouldn’t be put in a graphic novel especially when there is an appeal to younger audiences outside of YA reading base. In my opinion, these are things that shouldn’t be put into a graphic novel when there’s a chance an eight-year-old could pick this comic up and read it.
Overall, there were plenty of elements of this graphic novel I loved and enjoyed. Plus, we get so many cats. I mean, we literally get a whole bunch of cats at the end and I’m all about the kitties! I also like that we get so many hard hitting topics especially with addressing homelessness. However, there are definitely parts of this book that will turn readers off completely. Die hard, long term Catwoman fans and animal lovers will certainly not enjoy this graphic novel. Even I struggled to enjoy it at times. However, I thought this was an okay read and I did like parts of it, but there’s definitely room for growth and potential.
“After all, cats have nine lives. I’ve only just begun.”
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