Under the care of writer Genevieve Valentine, Catwoman was brave. So rarely do the first issues of rebooted superhero comics work the way they should. It was a blessing that this series had one of those rare first issues, as it set a precedent for an astounding run. Valentine’s exploration into Selina Kyle’s new world was daring. While the comic started with artist Garry Brown, the comic was eventually passed off to David Messina, who drew this week’s final issue in Valentine’s run: #46. This final issue paid off all the relevant plot threads and featured some thrilling shoutouts and explosions, but there was always something different about Catwoman that made it more than just a mob story with Selina Kyle at the center — Kyle seemingly never lost herself in the corruption of inheriting her own family.
While she occasionally had to embark on morally questionable ventures, Kyle always had a greater plan. I do feel that this series was cancelled too soon and that Valentine ended up rushing the series to a conclusion. However, Valentine played her hand well in this final installment. The last issue of the comic series reflected the poetic nature of the saga well as Kyle leaves the criminal underbelly on her own terms.
Of course, this story always had a surprising amount of additional characters, most of whom were irredeemably devoted to the mob life. Valentine moved them around like chess pieces, slowly but surely. I loved watching these characters incrementally wreak havoc upon Gotham behind-the-scenes. In the last couple issues, the relationship between classic Batman mobsters The Black Mask and The Penguin hit a really nice crescendo.
While I really liked Garry Brown’s gritty approach to Gotham in early Catwoman issues, I was equally impressed with David Messina’s slick penciling style. Messina’s Terry Dodson-inspired style works incredibly well in this final issue, giving a baroque sense of weight to the run’s final scene. His bountiful usage of lines and and strong facial work served the story particularly well. The muted color palette visually distinguished this book from the hundreds that fill store shelves each week. Flipping open this comic and being able to tell that this is Valentine’s and Messina’s Catwoman is refreshing.
Despite the sharp writing and artwork, Diamond Sales Charts spoke, and they were not in favor of the series. It was a shame that the comic did not gain the new traction or readership during the DC You(niverse) relaunch.
Catwoman #46 capped off one of the best series in the new DC launch. It’s grave rests alongside that of walking zombies Prez and Omega Men as well as that of many other fallen Post-New 52 DC books. In the end, like Selina with the cross around her neck, Valentine is off to greener pastures over at Batman and Robin Eternal.
Correction: An earlier version of the article stated that Catwoman was ending. This is only Valentine’s and Messina’s final issue. The series will continue with Frank Tieri on scripts and Inaki Miranda on art.