Catwoman #9 // Review
Joëlle Jones takes a breather from Catwoman to allow London-based writer Ram V. to do something called, “The Two-Step Chachacha,” with sharply talented artist John Timms. As visually stylish as it is clever, the standalone 22-page “Chachacha” is a love letter to everything that makes Catwoman an enchanting character. Catwoman’s secret Villa Hermosa headquarters is broken into, prompting her to take revenge. No problem there for someone with Kyle’s skills. The catch? She’s being tailed by a police detective who harbors no love for a woman with a reputation as a cop-killer.
Selina Kyles’ friend and confidant Carlito briefs Catwoman on the break-in. It doesn’t look good. Whoever it was who robbed her of everything knew exactly what they were doing. All stolen goods in Villa Hermosa ultimately go through a sinister figure known as The Broker. She mobilizes a few old friends to help her deal with the issue only to be confronted by Detective Dean Hadley of the organized crime division. It’s a chilly stand-off, but Kyle is cool. She’s lifted his badge in the face-off. Little does he know that he’s about to go to work for Catwoman.
Ram V puts together a very clever 22-page heist plot with a lot of moving pieces including the small but touching subplot of a stolen bracelet that Carlito was going to give to a guy he was dating. Everything falls into place entirely in a script that features classic heist-genre misdirection, and a quick post hoc reveal of how it all went down at the end of the issue. Ram V’s dialogue is smartly dramatic without ever tipping over into the realm of the melodramatic. The pacing moves the story along brilliantly as action jumps from moment to moment in an enticing rhythm.
Timms is a perfect fit for the story. An artist who is perhaps most memorable for his work with Harley Quinn does a brilliantly classy job of delivering Kyle’s smooth ultra-confidence to the page. Kyle’s cheshire smiles carry an irresistible personality. Catwoman amplifies that personality in action. There’s a two-page action sequence that is rendered entirely in a silhouette that intensifies Timm’s mastery of kinetic action with dynamic form and dazzling, little arcs of black splatter against a red background. Kyle/Catwoman’s unflappable confidence becomes the driving force behind the single best issue of the current series.
With this issue Selina has acquired a talented pair of accomplices in Ram V and John Timms. It’d be nice to see her working with the two of them in more of a long-term relationship. Naturally the dynamic would be likely to change throughout a multi-issue story, but it’s undeniable that Ram V and Timms have done something here that manages to rival anything that Jones had built-up in her initial run writing AND drawing the series. The cleverly concise 22 pages here feel every bit as masterful as Kyle herself in a thoroughly enjoyable issue. Next month Selina saunters back over to work with Joëlle Jones with artist Fernando Blanco to resume the regular chronicles of the Catwoman.