Catwoman: Lonely City #1 (review)

Oct 19, 2021

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Cover A Catwoman Lonely City 1

Catwoman: Lonely City #1

One night can change everything, apparently even all of Gotham City. For Catwoman, it can steal ten years of freedom and much, much more precious things. These are not spoilers. These facts are where Catwoman: Lonely City begins. Selina Kyle has just finished 10 years of hard time in prison after she is mistakenly assumed to be responsible for substantial death and destruction on the infamous “Fool’s Night.”

DC Comics
Writing and Art by: Cliff Chiang

We meet a changed Catwoman; an aged criminal, with stiffer knees, back spasms, and a suit with less cat-like grips on her very soles. She is out of touch with some happenings since that night full of violence and mayhem and unfathomable loss. And thanks to Mayor Harvey Dent, the Gotham City Selina finds is one where robotic police modeled after The Batman rule the streets. It is a city of martial law, digital cameras, advanced facial recognition software, and more — all in the name of lower crime. Masks have been outlawed, sending clear messages to villains and vigilantes. It is not hard to imagine a dystopian future like this in 10 years, even outside Gotham.

There is one thing Catwoman has not lost in these ten years. She has not lost her mind. She has not lost her canny ability to think, well, like the cat she is. Selina is still a creature of survival, instinct, and more fearlessness than most could possibly possess after going through what we learn here. And she remembers everything. It is clear she remembers prison, but she makes it clear immediately that she also remembers every bit of her skill set from before, even if she has forgotten how hard it is to carry it out. And did I mention she has an agenda?

I found it compelling, with plenty of teases and payoffs for a first tale in a series.

Although Catwoman was imprisoned due to the events of Fool’s Night, it does not mean she was guilty of her accusations. She is on a mission to find out what truly happened that night, by any means necessary. She’s not about to let a high-tech Gotham PD stop her from finding out the meaning of a key word whispered to her on that Fool’s Night when it was too late for her to stop the awful events for which she was blamed. She believes Wayne Manor may hold those secrets, for good reason.

The word takes on a magical quality right away. It is the “Preciousssss” of the story. The whispered, enigmatic “Rosebud.” Perhaps the answer to her problems. Her feline curiosity will not be satisfied until she finds it. Using a combination of flashbacks and details from the few days she has been free from prison and trapped in the new version of Gotham City, observed by many, each with their own agendas, this issue is a great beginning to a very promising story.

I found it compelling, with plenty of teases and payoffs for a first tale in a series. I also found it very interesting to experience this elder, slightly hardened Catwoman, with Cliff Chiang, high impact artist for Paper Girls and Wonder Woman, using a full-on arsenal of storytelling and artistic skills like the auteur he is, to give us a mature Selina who can show both her age and her edge, her powerful skills and her humanity. We get to see more of her vulnerability, more of what haunts her.

She believes Wayne Manor may hold those secrets, for good reason.

For me, Selina is the focal point for questions like, what would anyone do in a situation like hers? How would they cope with all of the powerful emotions washing over them and still find a way to literally rebuild their life with so little left?

Like anyone, Selina may feel every bit of her many losses, but unlike most mere humans, she still has a deep well of wit, agility and skill — even with her newly mature physical and emotional vulnerabilities in play. It makes me root for her even with every barrier placed between her and the information she so desperately needs in this new version of Gotham City. I await the next issue of this story eagerly.

I want to know who she can ally with, how far her enemies will go to thwart her newfound freedom, and most of all, what the most memorable word on her mind will bring to her new fight for freedom inside the less obvious barriers that seem to be all over Harvey Dent’s “safer” Gotham City. If I could use my own symbols to create the stars I want to give this story, I would give it a very solid number of Feline Familiars, fighting alongside Catwoman.

SUMMARY

Catwoman: Lonely City #1 is an engaging start to the new story created by Cliff Chiang. It presents many interesting dilemmas and problems to be solved, while giving the reader plenty of good reasons to be curious about this older, perhaps wounded Catwoman, and how far she will go to find out the meaning of the last word she heard before things fell apart 10 years ago on Fool’s Night. There are plenty of reasons to want to see what happens next for Selina Kyle and everyone who seems to have their eyes on her in the new, very different Gotham—this Lonely City.

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