Saturday, September 24, 2011

7 Reasons why New 52 Catwoman Kicks Ass - A woman's perspective

This is a guest article submitted by Shayla Perreault originally published at

I’m not an expert or hard core comics fan (I’m only peripherally interested in superheros). My husband has been dipping his toe in this New 52 relaunch thingy and I’ve occasionally tried a book or two. So when he brought home Catwoman #1 I was curious. She is such an icon that I feel an affinity for the character. Reportedly many fans are upset with her portrayal in the new 52. However, I’m all for it and will keep reading the series. Here are 7 reasons why.

1. The art. Movement, action chaos – I can see speed, facial expressions, variety of body types, consistency and a memorable look for Selena’s face.

2. Conceptual contrast. Should we not allow strong characters their moments of vulnerability? I’m intrigued by a character that can confront a mob boss in his own element, get away alive all the while meting out a brutal ass whoopin’ and then have moments of insecurity around those who know her best.

3. Foreshadowing. Lola confronts Catwoman with: “Someone just tried to kill you, Selena. You’re pretty far from fine.” This raises questions for me. In what way is she “far from fine”? Some of this vulnerability ignites the scene with Batman, but there must be more to come. I’m curious to find out how this will follow.

4. Characterization. While she is written with vulnerability, I don’t believe the author portrayed her as helplessly messed up. She has her redeeming qualities and strengths. I feel I can trust him not to trash this icon.

5. Believable sexual themes. I agree that the last scene was aggressive and felt it was in character. There was no nudity and the bared body parts were kept to a minimum so I didn’t feel it was exploitative but a natural part of the plot. Does 20 years of sexual tension seem healthy to you if it is never consummated?* If so, perhaps you’d prefer sitcoms such as “Who’s the Boss” or “The Nanny”. Wait… those characters had sex and it wasn’t dismissed as a ratings gimmick.

6. Relationships. That panel where Batman kisses Catwoman’s neck revealed complex layers to their relationship. There was a level of tenderness. It’s not a likely gesture during a first time casual hook up but more one of an already established level of familiarity.

While I don’t expect the Bat and the Cat to move in together and become “a couple”, I’m curious as to what they mean to each other. They say women are more interested in character development while men prefer plotting. I don’t know if that’s true in general, but I do know it’s the case for me. This issue has given me plenty to wonder about in regards to characters.

7. Diversity. As a woman I might take offense to DC portraying all their female characters with the same body type, but Supergirl and Wonder Woman have different physiques. Even within this very comic, the artist draws the female form in a variety of ways. Lola – a retired show girl – was drawn with an aging body but she must have been invisible to most critics. Catwoman’s body is in character and I think it would be unreasonable to insist that a woman not have curves. There is no such thing as one acceptable body type and obsessing is probably what causes body image problems.

To everyone their opinion but for my money, Judd Winnick and Guillem March’s Catwoman is a great comic. One that won over at least one woman. Congrats DC, I’m in!

*By the way, Those who interpreted Batman as prematurely ejaculating in the last scene, are perhaps reading into it something that isn’t there because of their personal concern about this problem? Hmmm?
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  1. I agree! One of the best written books of the new 52, although very much not all-ages! :-P

  2. I'm glad to see we're not alone in our like. To read some folks' articles you'd think that this comic is more evil than Satan.