As Catwoman #6 marks the end of the series first major arc it allows for a chance to reflect on how effective Joëlle Jones has been at making this title her own. There was certainly a major benefit having this launch from the events during Batman #50 due to the sheer amount of publicity that would carry over. The downside however was it could make this book feel more like a companion piece to someone else’s story rather than its own unique entity. Jones has managed to avoid that issue for the most part by shaping a narrative around the core of Selina Kyle.
In the creation of Raina Creel, Jones made the essence of the story something new and exciting. Villains are at their best when they are a twisted reflection of the hero. Where Catwoman presents herself with a hard edge and cryptic mystique, however as we have seen she has a deep sense of empathy for those she cares about. Raina Creel, on the other hand, presents herself as this idyllic citizen. Everything is prim and proper, however underneath is this toxic entity consumed with selfish and destructive urges. With this issue, the clash that has been building for this entire arc finally commences.
What has worked the best for this series so far has been the art of Joelle Jones. In issue six she does some of her best work on the title. There are multiple two-page spreads that are a feat in both concept and storytelling. Catwoman systematically makes her way through Creel’s compound with a tactful prowl waiting for the precise moment to strike. Joelle’s style is perfect for this type of scenario. There is a sense of grace to her movements like a seasoned dancer working through her most perfected routine. When things break down there is chaos and brutality. It is eerily beautiful to witness. Laura Allred colors play a key role as well, especially when it comes to softening the tone when necessary. She utilizes a lot of purpose of muted blues when things get more intimate. Those contrast well against the stark red and oranges that punctuate the more graphic bits of the story.
Where this issue falters is in its closing moments. The desire to end this arc with a major moment while giving it room to continue resulted in a rushed conclusion that was uncharacteristically sloppy. Multiple story elements converted at once in an attempt to build to a proper climax, but it was depicted in such a manner that is was not clear on what exactly what was occurring. It was as if a page was missing to flesh out what exactly was happening. On the positive, it did solidify the overall themes of empathy and apathy conflict it just needed some room for it to breathe.
With Catwoman, Joëlle Jones got her first major shot with DC to show what she can do as both an artist and writer. As this first arc concludes it may not be up to par with her independent work, however, she is bringing a style unlike another else in major comics right now. With her stepping away from art duties for the next run there is no question the book will suffer on a pure aesthetic front. Hopefully, though it will allow her to grow as a writer because if the scripts on this series strengthen it can enter into the top echelon of today’s current books.
Writer/Artist: Joëlle Jones
Color Artist: Laura Allred
Letterer: Josh Reed
Editor: Jamie S. Rich