This week we get Catwoman 32 from DC Comics. Selina had a simple dream. She wished to turn her old stomping grounds, Alleytown, back into the livable slum that it was when she grew up there. The streets of today were ruled by gun runners, drug dealers and other less than savory folk that made it a nightmare. Alleytown of her day was no picnic, but a bad day meant a run-in with the law, not death. Selina kicked the baddies out, and succeeded in restoring it to some degree, but in the process, she created a noose which now tightens. A multitude of people now hunt her for various reasons and the one question they all have is: Tell me bout Selina Kyle.
Catwoman 32 – Who’s Asking?
Of the people inquiring about Selina, the first, and perhaps most dangerous is Father Valley. He continues to hunt Selina, but his game is the patient type. He will inflict as much pain for as long as possible, and to do that he needs information. Valley starts with one of Selina’s top lieutenants, Leo Carreras. I was really curious how this would play out. Leo does a lot for Selina, and shoulders a great deal of responsibilities for a teen. I never question his loyalty, but being a teen, how could he possibly resist a pro like Father Valley? A show of bluster, more pain, and a broken kid? Not quite.
Leo actually offers up some information. He tells about the first time he met Selina and the job they pulled. A fairly simply story, but what scares me is that in the hands of someone like Valley, even a simple story can offer up a wealth of information. I like the part where Leo tells Valley to shut up and quit interrupting. It really feels like he is stalling, but no one knows where he is. Leo continues the story of Diego Messina, and that’s when I think he slips up.
Selina cozied up to the boss, Frank Baz. Leo thinks he spins a story of vengeance and toughness, but he may have just spilled the beans on Selina’s weakness. Baz does not survive the initial raid, and Leo tells of how Selina mourned his death. He then tells Valley how Selin single-handedly finishes the job and sets Messina up for the legal fall. Valley lets Leo go, just as he promised, but of course with someone like Father Valley, there is always a caveat. With a subtle “sshk” of his knife, Father Valley begins the timer on the end of Leo’s life. If Valley did not know before, he surely knows now how to hurt Selina.
Catwoman 32 – Future State Begins
Another party hunting for Selina shows us the beginning stages of the Gotham we saw in Future State. Mayor Nakano, with the help of Simon Saint, begins his initiative to clean up Gotham. We know how fast this will go down hill, but for now it looks like cops and the new “private security infrastructure” mean to clean up the town, starting with Alleytown. Many of the kids working with Selina get busted for various crimes. They take the kids, but one officer, overly full of himself, says all they really want is Selina Kyle. Thus begins the second tale of young Miss Kyle.
One kid offers up her story of a young Selina Kyle, working for Mama Fortuna. The story of a merchandise movement gone bad showcases the initiative, spunk and tenacity of a teenage Catwoman-to-be. The men in charge become lost in the sewers and in the confusion they lost the map. Young Selina steps up and leads the way out. She memorized the map and explored the tunnels ahead of time. She single handedly guided the merchandise back to Mama Fortuna despite being a plucky little kid. I love the last panel where Selina tells Mama Fortuna her name. The look in those eyes foreshadows all that she will become later.
This detective, of course, lacks Valley’s mind and discipline. The story merely serves to underline how the cops will never find her in Alleytown. Selina knows this area of town better than anyone, and will always remain ahead of the police force. Given what we saw in Future State, this rings true. Selina becomes the one mask the Peacemakers never get their hands on.
Catwoman 32 – An Ally Also Searches
Not all hunters are evil, however. Detective Hadley searches out Maggie in hopes of getting to Selina before the authorities do. Hadley sees the darkness coming, and thinks Selina needs protecting. The story Maggie tells demonstrates quite the opposite. Mags tells of the incident when Black Mask kidnapped her and her husband. They thought they could corner Selina once and for all. Although Selina lets herself get captured, the planning ran well ahead of the game. Selina quickly escapes once Maggie is freed and takes her revenge on Black Mask. Selina never enters into anything without being prepared.
Maggie’s story also backs up what Leo said. Catwoman can deal with every eventuality, except when those close to her get hurt, which they usually do. Maggie’s story was less about Catwoman and more about warning Hadley to stay away for his own sake. Catwoman will always walk away, but those around her seldom do.
Catwoman 32 – Final Thoughts
Three stories. Three examples of Selina Kyle’s strengths, cunning and prowess, but is it enough? The nooses tighten. Valley keeps hunting for more and more ways to break Selina. The Protectorate prepares to emerge and seize control of Gotham, and as we have seen in previous issues, being estranged from Bruce still haunts her. I really liked how this issue used those around Selina to demonstrate her strengths throughout her life, but Maggie and Leo both told of her weaknesses as well. I fear in the pages ahead not all will survive.
What did you think of Catwoman 32? Do the stories help her or spell her doom in the issues ahead? Head on over to DC Fanatics on Facebook and give us your thoughts.