By Andy Frisk
Sep 27, 2011 - 15:57
Writer(s): Judd Winick
Penciller(s): Guillem March
Inker(s): Guillem March
Colourist(s): Tomeu Morey
Letterer(s): Sal Cipriano
Like Herve St. Louis, I wasn’t offended by Catwoman #1. I was highly disappointed though. The story is good enough. Catwoman is the target of some murdering thugs, from whom she barely escapes. She's searching for a new place to stay, since said murdering thugs blew up her old place. She gets a line on a possible job involving the Russian mob from an old friend, who might have been something more at one time. She engages in some righteous bashing of an woman beater and murder, whom she gains access to by using her sexy curves. She continues to pine after Batman.
It is how all of these plot elements are portrayed that's the problem. Selena Kyle/Catwoman is drawn by Guillem March so crazily proportioned and angled into every type of T and A highlighting pose imaginable that she looks almost parodic. She simply can’t keep her shirt, costume, or disguise outfit on. Her barely covered breasts are on display more often than her signature cat goggles. Finally, she engages in a pretty explicit (sans nudity of course) sex scene with Batman. It’s the kind of weird, kinky, fetishistic kind of scene that is more the stuff of adolescent masterbatory cosplay fantasy than complicated mature adult relations. The two are engaging in what can easily be construed as unprotected sex with a stranger. They know nothing about each others identities, or where they've been.
Again, none of this offends me. At this point in my comic book collecting and commentating career I’ve seen just about everything and anything portrayed in order to get a rise (pardon the pun) out male readers of all ages. It’s just rarely have I seen a superhero comic book so blatantly turn what could have been a very intriguing and excellent reintroduction of a brilliant character into what is barely little more than soft core porn smut. There are some great plot and characterization complexities at work here in Catwoman #1. Why couldn’t Winick and March gone with a little more “leave it to the imagination?” Everyone knows that what’s left unseen can be more frightening, or titillating, than putting it all on display. I’m all for a relationship, even a dangerous one, between Batman and Catwoman. I just don’t need the details. Also, showing Catwoman straddle Batman, engaging in sex while “most of the costumes stay on” is not subtle character development constructed around a carefully plotted build up. Cutting to the chase and getting down and dirty on the floor in the first issue is like reading the last page of a mystery novel first…or getting to the point without the foreplay.
Catwoman #1 passes the story telling test with flying colors, but fails miserably in execution. I’m sorry but showing Catwoman beating the living daylights out of a woman abuser and murderer doesn’t excuse the exploitation of the feminine form. I really want to read more of this series, but I can’t support what this book looks like it is aspiring to be: a costumed soft core porn romp.
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