Review: Catwoman #1 / Birds of Prey #1 / Supergirl #1

Catwoman #1

Written by Judd Winick
Art by Guillem March

At first, you see a bra. A pretty bra, a crate full of cats, and Selina’s half-dressed dash to run out of her apartment, having been woken up by armed thugs breaking in to kill her.

As someone who has made the same half-clothed dash out of a burning college dorm at 1 a.m., I’d say that it’s pretty damn accurate.

Catwoman #1 is a book that’s heavy on character development. As far as being a #1 book goes, I think Catwoman #1 does a great job of setting up the characters and the motivations behind them. Who is Selina Kyle? This book sets it all out in plain view.

Selina, for all her faults, is a woman who loves danger, and Catwoman #1 paints her as someone who lives on the edge by choice, and accepts the consequences as they come. We look into her past, and see how she’s changed into the woman she is now.

Yes, it’s sexy, but that’s just a small part of the book. There’s much more devoted to Selina’s relationship with her friend Lola (who I really liked and hope to see more of), performing recon for her next heist, and dealing with the past in the only way she knows how: violently.

I can’t say enough about the flashback scene. You really feel for young Selina, and you see that she’s a criminal with a conscience. Sure, she’s a thief, but she also hates the real “bad guys”. Seriously, if you didn’t feel anything emotionally when you read that sequence, you’re probably dead inside.

Then there’s the ending, which has been interpreted a million different ways. All I’m going to say about it here is that Batman’s abs look weird. Other than Batman’s abs, the artwork is perfection. Even if you’re of the opinion that Selina is merely eye-candy, at least she’s fantastic eye-candy.

The book does have its flaws. There isn’t a feeling of danger to any of the action sequences. It presents her life in an almost matter-of-fact way, something that has turned off readers who aren’t enjoying the “reboot” books, and are instead looking for something more along the lines of Detective Comics #1. However, new DC readers, free of the notions of how Catwoman “used to be”, will probably like this book. I give Catwoman #1 4 out of 5 whip cracks.

Birds of Prey #1

Written by Duane Swierczynski
Art by Jesus Saiz

Birds of Prey #1 immediately gets points taken off by going the Justice League #1 route and omitting cover characters from the story. I purchased the book to see Poison Ivy, and she isn’t even mentioned in the story, and while Katana is mentioned, we only see her in a photograph. It also kills the idea of “getting the team together” when you give away who is going to be on the team.

Birds of Prey #1 has Black Canary and Starling fending off some unknown bad guys who seem to have transparency issues. Who these people are, and why they keep shifting from transparent to opaque, isn’t ever discussed or clarified. While at first it seemed as though they were some sort of ghostly or alien beings, it turns out that they’re just people. Kind of a big let-down. While ninja ghosts sound like something straight out of Scooby-Doo, it would have been more interesting.

Add to the mix a reporter named Charlie Keen (really?), who uses the term “supercriminal hotties” to describe Black Canary and Starling, and those are your epic eye-roll moments.

However, this book has some great moments in the flashback sequences of Black Canary trying to get a team together. While those scenes are secondary to the main plot, they do more to further the story than the main fight scene. A cameo appearance by Barbara Gordon was a highlight of the book, and the exchange between her and Dinah was a great character-building moment.

Also, the “this is how the canary cry works” moment was pretty awesome.

There wasn’t much in this book that makes me want to pick up the next issue, until the ending. The twist ending pretty much saves this book, and piques my interest in seeing how issue #2 is going to begin. However, as a new reader I was not completely impressed by Birds of Prey #1. Perhaps fans of the previous incarnation feel differently. I give Birds of Prey #1 3 out of 5 canary cries.

Supergirl #1

Written by Michael Green and Mike Johnson
Art by Mahmud Asrar and Dan Green

Supergirl #1 was my least-anticipated title this week, and the biggest shock. It is a fantastic book, with suspenseful storytelling and beautiful artwork. It’s a great complete reboot and origin story.

Young Kara finds herself crash-landed on Earth in Siberia, making me wonder if Kryptonians can’t feel the cold since she’s wearing her Supergirl costume. She’s completely confused, unable to comprehend her surroundings or to understand the heavily-armored men who have come to apprehend her.

Her feelings of confusion and despair come though so well in this book. Her denial that what is happening is real, that it’s all a dream, makes her an even more sympathetic character. She has no clue what has happened to her home planet, and her mind constantly wanders back to her family. Add in another layer of confusion as she begins to get her powers, having no clue why this is happening to her. You can’t help but feel sorry for Kara.

The book does suffer from a fight scene that goes on for too long, but it does a great job of showing off her new powers. Also, the artwork, which starts the book off wonderfully, changes style a bit for the fight scene and comes across as a bit inconsistent at times. It’s still enjoyable, but some transitions are awkward.

It all leads to a great conclusion and cameo appearance (I won’t give it away, but it’s an easy guess). I am begging for the next issue of this book. I’m going to give Supergirl #1 4.75 out of 5 eyeball laser beams.

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Mary Knize, Captain Painway, "C-Pain", and formerly Mary Staggs, was Panels on Pages' May 2010 Fangirl of the Month and is a former rollergirl. When she's not busy writing, she's probably playing a video game. She also loves Wikipedia and science.

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Comments (5)

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  1. I actually kinda really liked BOP. I agree on the cover, though, but I’m kinda used to covers not matching the content. DC stole THAT idea from Marvel. 🙂

  2. Spazzy says:

    Awesome.. Way to go Mary.. I agree! and you must tell me about the burning dorm…

  3. Joshua says:

    I was mildly curious, but ultimately indifferent about Supergirl, but now I may have to pick up the first issue. The new costume has certainly grown on me these last few months.

  4. D-Rock says:

    I enjoyed all of the books as well. These will be 3 more titles on the monthly pull list.

  5. John-Michael (Batman25JM) says:

    I liked Catwoman. I wasn’t blown away by it, but then again, I’m not really a big Catwoman fan. I did like it enough to stick with it.

    I skipped Birds of Prey. I LOVE Black Canary. She’s one of my favorite comic characters, but I don’t care about any of the other characters on the team. This just isn’t the BOP I want to read about.

    I dug Supergirl. Not a lot really happened, but it was a very entertaining read, and I’m looking forward to seeing where the book goes. I loved the art, and Supergirl’s costume has really grown on me. I still think the cut out knees are weird though. I had to drop the last Supergirl series because I wasn’t enjoying it. I’m hoping this series continues to be enjoyable because I like Supergirl (the character) quite a bit.

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