Catwoman #7 review

#1
Selina Kyle, dressed to the nines, is out and about in Villa Hermosa, trying on some very expensive jewelry as she recalls a past in which she was an accomplish pickpocket – definitely something that translated to a successful career as an adult cat burglar. The ring that she’s shown, while exquisite, isn’t quite what she’s looking for – she's looking for something bigger. She sees one of the associates at the store appraising a pair of earrings, and though she eyes them, the associate suggests that they might be too expensive for her, though if her husband wants to arrange and appointment to view them and buy them... The woman Selina had worked for as a child, Mama Fortuna, had taught Selina that the only thing keeping the scary world from getting to her would be her own ability to scare the world right back. Well, she remembers that advice and uses it against the snobby associate, and ends up walking out of the jewelry shop with the earrings. Given the trio of police cars that speed past her in the direction that she’d come from, it’s possible that she’d just straight out stolen the earrings from the associate.

Across town, at the Villa Hermosa International Airport – VHX for short – a squat, beak-nosed little thing waits for his ride, who is late. That’s right, the Penguin is in town. His driver proves to be a very chatty person, which the Penguin doesn’t much care for, so he asks him to pull over while on the 405 freeway and then shoots him.

In a shady part of a place only described as “elsewhere,” Raina Creel is arguing with a receptionist at a plastic surgeon’s office. There’s a procedure she wants done, but it’s a dangerous one that can only be done once every twelve months, and Raina had just had the procedure three weeks ago. The hapless receptionist offers a Botox treatment to Raina, but the late Governor’s wife is beyond the restorative powers of Botox. She unveils herself to the receptionist – missing nose, designer imposter bags beneath her eyes, wrinkles for years, and a case of alopecia so severe that it could rival that of the golden age incarnation of one Lex Luthor – and warns her that this is what she has to look forward to.

Back in Villa Hermosa, Selina gets ready for a night on the town – as Catwoman. She promises Maggie – who she has moved into her place – that she’ll be back in a bit, she only wants to step out and stretch her legs a bit. Carlos, Selina’s friend, promises to watch over Maggie while Selina’s out. As she swings through the city, heading towards the Villa Hermosa Pier, Penguin waits in an aquarium type area where he gives the mysterious command “Now.” A ferris wheel explodes, and Penguin gives the same command again, sure that he’s caught Selina’s attention. Once the crowds have cleared, a man beckons Selina towards him, telling him that he has someone who wants to meet her. Selina doesn’t follow him, instead choosing to smack him down, but relying on her instincts, she goes the way he had intended her to go, her confident striding eventually stalled by a couple of Penguin’s goons, who Selina is only all-too-happy to fight. Soon enough, though, the fight is finished and Selina finds herself standing across from the Penguin...who is offering her a seat.

Review
Now that the initial arc is over and done with, Selina is firmly established in her new world, with her new supporting cast, and her new direction, which gives Joelle Jones the option to dig into Selina’s past – and Gotham – and bring them into her present. For long-time comics readers, the Penguin may not seem like a classic choice for Selina to fight against – she’s spent more time fighting characters like the Black Mask, after all – but Jones, with her love for Batman Returns, nods to the film again by bringing him in here as a foil for Selina. Whether he wants to work with her or against her will more than likely be explained in the next issue, but it’s an intriguing set-up. This isn’t one of those instances where one character just happens to be out of town and runs into someone they know – the Penguin has clearly come to Villa Hermosa to specifically find Selina. Given that the Penguin is in a town that is clearly now Selina’s own – there’s no one else with a mask or a cape running around protecting it – things could get very troublesome for him indeed, but it will be interesting to see how it all plays out between the three of them.
Maggie is with Selina now, and while that may be a good thing, it could also be problematic, depending on where Jones is going with Maggie’s backstory. Was she ever Sister Zero? Did she ever try to exorcise the demons she believed possessed Selina? Or has Maggie simply been catatonic since the attack from Black Mask? One thing is clear, Maggie is still aware of everything that’s going on around here, and it’s doubtful that Jones will allow Maggie to stay catatonic for this for long – but where the plot is going is anyone’s guess. It’s nice to see Selina letting Carlos into her life a little more by allowing him to watch over Maggie. Solitary creature or not, Selina needs all the help and friendship she can get.
It’s good knowing where Raina Creel is, though perhaps not as good getting an actual glance at her decaying, Cryptkeeper-esque form. She clearly wants to fix herself up and probably get back to attacking Selina as quickly as possible. The scene itself is a strong one – Raina is absolutely unhinged and wild, and with nothing left to lose, the next time she crosses paths with Selina, things could indeed be very, very disastrous.
Joelle Jones takes a break from art duties this issue, with Elena Casagrande and Fernando Blanco stepping in to illustrate the issue. It’s a good-looking book, and their style matches up with the sort of aesthetic that Jones has set up, so nothing seems jarring about the change. John Kalisz’s colours follow the sort of palette set up by Laura Allred in the first arc, and it’s always commendable when a book is able to keep its signature look going. There are details where the art very closely mimics specific details set up by Jones – such as Maggie Kyle’s specific hair and the details of her face – that really helps the book keep its visual identity strong.

Final Thoughts
A decompressed issue that serves as a prologue for what's to come, it's still a very entertaining read that allows Selina to shine in the spotlight. A must-read for any Catwoman fan.
 
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