Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale by Lauren Myracle, Isaac Goodhart

Rating: WORTHY!

This is from an advance review copy for which I thank the publisher.

Illustrated beautifully by Isaac Goodhart, and written by Myracle, this graphic novel began for me in a disappointing way. Retreaded origin stories for super heroes/villains are so five volumes ago and are so common these days that they're tedious to say the least, but before I could become completely disllusioned with a world where robotic reboots are more common than original stories, this one turned around and drew me in. The characters were realistic and realistically drawn, and the main character wasn't any guy's simpering plaything. She didn't need a guy to validate her, which was a refreshing and welcome change.

At fifteen, Selina Kyle makes a deliberate choice to quit both her home and school, and live on the street, having come to the end of her tether with her single mom's endless parade of vile boyfriends. To steal a line from a popular movie, anyone who's anyone knows who she is: Selina Kyle is the girl who will become Catwoman. I was looking for some serious payback with that last boyfiend which I'm sorry to report never came, but maybe volume 2 will take care of that? One can but hope!

It's not long before Selena meets a criminal element, but these guys (and a girl) - who all have stories of their own - are not your usual gang-bangers or drug pushers. They're pretty much in the same boat that Selina is, and once she begins training in Parkour with one of them whom she meets by chance, she soon starts hanging with them, but is never really one of them. This story has depth and feeling and is very engaging. This is the kind of origin story I can enjoy, despite my weariness with such stories, and it made me want to read the next volume, like, now!

The only sour note it struck for me was the high school story - but I'm not a big fan of high school stories which are almost (but not quite) uniformly cookie-cutter tedious. Selena lives with her lower-class single mom. Buce Wayne is the orphaned child of a billionnaire. Yet they've known each other from childhood because they attended the same schools together? How is that possible? I'm sorry but it didn't work, and no explantion was even attempted to explain how it might. The Gotham TV show rooted in DC Comics' Batman world tells a much more plausible story of how these two people from such different worlds came to meet.

That failure aside though, this story was different, entertaining, inventive, and enjoyable. I commend it as a worthy read, and I'm very much looking forward to volume 2!