Catwoman #7 // Review
Selina Kyle’s dreams of escaping Gotham to start a new life in sunny Villa Hermosa are further complicated by a visit from an old acquaintance in Catwoman #7. Writer Joëlle Jones is joined this issue by artists Elena Casagrande and Fernando Blanco with color brought to the page by John Kalisz.
There’s no mistaking it. There’ a short man with an umbrella at a sunny airport. He’s got a monocle and a notorious nose. He arrives in Villa Hermosa only to have to deal with a chatty driver. Selena Kyle is quite unaware of his presence until he makes it known with a few explosions at Villa Hermosa Pier, prompting her to investigate as Catwoman.
This is the first issue of “Something Fishy”: a two-part story that isn’t being drawn by Joëlle Jones, but her writing is as crisp and classy as ever. Moody dialogue and narration reside in a story which cuts from scene to scene with an intelligent pulse. Allowing a scene between the Penguin and a driver to play out over four pages is an interesting decision as it is a scene that will make up roughly 1/8 of the total page count of the two-part story. By the same count, Catwoman’s journey to encounter the Penguin at the Pier is going to have been like...25% of the total page count. (It’s the longest scene in the issue.) Jones’ patience with allowing scenes to play out over many pages maintains a stylishness about the series that Jones was careful to establish in the first 6 issues of the series when she was also drawing it. Her willingness to let moments play out without much dialogue or narration also shows a great deal of faith in the art team that is handling the story.
Elena Casagrande and Fernando Blanco render the visuals of the story with an emphasis on form and movement over detail and emotion. Dramatic interpersonal tension does play across the faces of characters on a couple of different occasions, but the emphasis here is on tone and movement, which are brought to the page with great flare. The action sequence on the pier that leads Catwoman to the Penguin comes across with a clever economy that artistically flies off the page.
There are strangely inconsistent moments of extreme detail that somehow manage to fit in with the rest of the blockiness of the action. The intricate webbing of a falling ferris wheel adds perspective to tragedy. A man crashes through a window pane and every shattering shard seems visible. Those moments of extreme detail don’t feel out of place, though as Casagrande and Blanco are careful to keep the momentum moving until the meeting in the final panel of the issue.
Kalisz’s color is awash in grays and blues at night while paler colors rule over daylight scenes. The inking is heavy enough throughout the issue that Kalisz isn’t allowed much room to work with. Kalisz is clearly capable of much more sophisticated stuff as witnessed by impressively intricate work at the panel at the end of the scene between the Penguin and his driver. Kalisz knows the need to keep color from getting in the way of the action throughout.
Joëlle Jones isn’t going to be returning to draw Catwoman for the next few months, but she’s clearly delivering the same moodiness that she brought to the page in the first six issues of the series. It’ll be interesting to see how she works with other artists in the future as Selena Kyle’s adventures in Villa Hermosa continue.