Writer: Tom king
Artists: Mikel Janin & Joelle Jones
Colours: Jung Chung & Jordie Bellaire
Letters by: Clayton Cowles
Cover by: Mikel Janin
Publisher: DC Comics
Only Tom King, Mikel Janin, Joelle Jones, June Chung and Jordie Bellaire could make dress shopping this engaging.
The Bat & Cat Wedding is growing closer and we get to see one of the most important parts of the process in this issue. Where other comics may have turned this into a comedy, full of cliches we’ve seen in dozens of romantic comedies, this issue takes a different tack. Much of it is rooted so much in understanding the characters so well.
In this Catwoman focused issue, Selina Kyle goes dress shopping. Naturally, because it’s Selina, it’s not that simple, as she breaks into one of the most exclusive dress shops in Gotham and tries on dresses under cover of dark. The dress shopping (and champagne chugging) is intercut with single page vignettes of the progression of Bruce and Selina’s relationship, from foes, to antagonists, to allies, to lovers.
It’s really impressive what this creative team is able to establish in 21 pages here. King’s story is sparse. On the “dress shopping” pages, the only letters are a clock, showing the hours that it takes for Selina to find the perfect dress. It’s Jones and Bellaire’s time to shine as she gives us the gamut of emotion in just Selina’s face and body language. She goes from bemused, to disgusted, to disappointed, to elated. Even the page that’s just her breaking into the fridge to steal and guzzle champagne is a masterclass in relaying thoughts and emotions without the character uttering a word.
Meanwhile, in the flashbacks by King, Janin and Chung, they tell the story of a relationship. You can see the change in both of them in a tweak of body language, a softening in their face, or a stutter in their dialogue. This issue is more than an intermission on the way to the promised story of the Joker crashing the Wayne-Kyle wedding. This is helping readers understand why this relationship is so special and why this development is the next natural step in the romance of Bruce and Selina.
One wonderful thing King does is nail the character of Selina Kyle. Though I initially didn’t like his take on Selina, King has built her from where we found her at the beginning of the story (a mass murderer in Arkham) to show how noble and well rounded she is (a friend who took the fall for another’s actions, and now the Bat’s true paramour), even if she can’t resist a little breaking and entering. Of course Selina isn’t going to take Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and Lois Lane with her to the various dress shops in Gotham. She’s going to go herself, when no one can bother her, and spend an entire night finding just the right gown.
It’s a great character study and the perfect next time towards the wedding of the century.
Overall: 9 out of 10
Tony Thornley is a Mormon geek dad, blogger, Spider-Man and Superman aficionado, amateur novelist and all around awesome guy. He was born and raised in Utah and has been reading comics since age five. His first comic series was GI Joe and he was doomed from there. You can follow him on Twitter @brawl2099.