For over eighty years, Catwoman has been an enigma in the world of mainstream superhero comics. A fierce femme fatale with a heart of gold, Selina Kyle and the several other women who have held her mantle have straddled the line between hero and anti-hero with ease. This moral status made the promise of her A bad day one-shot, the latest in a series of prestigious standalone stories featuring Batman’s villains, uniquely compelling. As countless Catwoman comics have proven, it’s not particularly hard to make Selina a likeable character – but A bad day manages to be one of the best ever. Batman: A Bad Day – Catwoman is an impeccably constructed, timeless tale that boils down so much to what makes Selina Kyle such a fascinating cartoon character.
Batman: A Bad Day – Catwoman follows Selina in one of her most personal heists yet, as she attempts to reclaim a family heirloom that may be more important than it seems. Even if Selina successfully steals the item, the truth and promise behind it will only get more complicated.
As mentioned earlier, the concept of humanizing Selina, let alone the larger Batman rogues gallery, is nothing new. Years of solo comics and cameo appearances have softened Selina’s mission statement, and that arguably works in this one-shot’s favor, as it doesn’t have to move mountains to make her story relatable to casual readers. Instead, G. Willow Wilson’s script revels in Selina’s unique point of view, telling the story of a woman trying to survive (and perhaps even thrive) in a world that actively opposes her. The end result is simple yet endlessly effective – even Selina’s family history, something that has been revamped over and over in comics, feels fresh in Wilson’s story.
On top of that, Batman: A Bad Day: Catwoman feels revolutionary because it has fun with the A bad day publication concept. The story is unabashedly a one-shot – one with something to say and some intimate character development to produce, but no other commitment or pretense. These pages give a hearty dose of characterization that has occasionally been brushed aside in recent years cat lady, which have largely (and understandably) focused on throwing her from one larger-than-life scenario to the next. While there are still comic book antics in this issue — classy outfits, real-world resonance, and dynamic action sequences — the main takeaway is Selina’s own story. There are also some delightful nuggets of Selina and Bruce Wayne’s dynamic scattered throughout the second half, whose earnest presentation feels like an oasis after some of the recent Bat/Cat drama.
It cannot be overstated how amazing Jamie McKelvie’s art is Batman: A Bad Day – Catwoman, which gives a beautiful nuance to every image that is displayed. From a small but meaningful change in facial expression, to a fresh take on Selina’s now-iconic costume, to the kinetics of an action-packed fight scene, every element of the issue is beautifully rendered. McKelvie’s colors are also incredible, bath panels in masterful shades of purple and gold. Clayton Cowles’ letters are versatile, but perfectly suited to what’s in the story, adding an extra touch that only makes Wilson’s dialogue more engaging.
Batman: A Bad Day – Catwoman easily proves the concept of the initiative can work – but not by telling another grimdark, kill joke-like story. Instead, this one-shot applies a heartfelt and sentimental take to Selina Kyle’s adventures, creating a story that doesn’t radically change her character, but enhances what’s already there. The craft on display, from G. Willow Wilson’s light-hearted script to Jamie McKelvie’s flawless visuals to Clayton Cowles’ seamless lettering, all come to a head to show what mainstream superhero comics are capable of these days.
Published by DC comics
on January 24, 2023
Written by G. Willow Wilson
Art by Jamie McKelvie
Color through Jamie McKelvie
Letters through Clayton Cows
Cover Jamie McKelvie