I've never read any Catwoman comics before, but Catwoman Vol. 7: Catwoman Dies was readily available at the local library so I picked it up, and I have to say I'm very happy I did. The first issue or so of this collected edition seems like I came into the series somewhere in the middle—which I did—but writer Will Pfeifer does an excellent job of drawing in the reader regardless of not knowing any backstory. You can pick up this edition and enjoy it from the get-go. By the time I closed the book, I was actually sad for Catwoman and now I want to know more. If I have the opportunity to pick up more issues, I most certainly will.
Some cool positives:
*Catwoman's on hiatus in the beginning, so a friend of hers named Holly is filling the "role." Holly finds she's in way over her head. Luckily, Selina Kyle (the original Catwoman) shows up soon enough to resume her leathers and cat'o'nine tails (translation: whip), pulling Holly's butt out of the proverbial fire.
*We're talking downright vicious villains, Blitzkrieg, an Amazon splinter group called The Bana, and especially killers-for-hire Hammer and Sickle. Talk about mean. None of these villains have any of what us regular folks call "redeeming qualities."
*Catwoman's a mommy. The main thrust of this graphic novel is how Selina is adjusting to life as a mother, and when her identity is compromised, the baddies make it personal by coming after the only family she has, forcing Selina to get personal-er. I know, it sounds a lot like every Steven Seagal movie but, trust me, this is some great cinematic stuff here by artists David and Alvaro Lopez (Lopez art of Blitzkrieg, left).
*Batman. Yes, of course, ol' Bats makes a couple appearances. But Pfeifer does a good job of maintaining that this is Catwoman's title, not Batman's...although I did notice Selina leans on Bruce (and Alfred) quite a bit(Alfred basically ends up as a babysitter through quite a bit of the novel). Gotta say, there's an amazing gentleness about seeing the Caped Crusader cuddling a cooing six-month-old baby. Pfeifer includes an excellent scene to note: Selina is looking on as a smiling Bruce/Batman has his cowl pulled back and is holding her baby. It's 3 am as he stands in Selina's barren apartment, comforting her child, who's little hand is touching his chin. Selina narrates:
"See, here's the thing people don't get about Bruce. They think he's all about beating up badguys or striking terror into the hearts of the underworld. But that's not it. That's not it at all.
"When you get right down to it, when you take away the cape and the cowl and the capital 'T" in 'The Batman'...He's all about protecting the innocent."
Ultimately, Catwoman Dies is a story of sacrifice, and illustrates that Selina will stop at absolutely NOTHING to protect her baby girl. Let's just say it's a good thing the baby is too young to remember some of the stuff that went on around her while she was ga-ga-ing in her crib.
Highly recommended! I give it four stars. Or four cat’s paws. A MUCH better read than Frank Miller's All-Star Batman & Robin the Boy Wonder, which is absolute trash (see my review on Goodreads.com).