Tuesday, April 04, 2006
Selina Kyle OYL
The important facts that are introduced in this issue have been bandied about the Internet for several months: Selina Kyle is a mom, and she's no longer Catwoman. Holly Robinson, her friend and protegé, has just taken up the mantle. And, with someone younger and less experienced occupying the role, readers are shown that being Catwoman is no simple task.
It's clear that Will Pfeifer intends to ease our transition into Selina Kyle's corner of the DCU, and those readers desiring quick answers are going to be disappointed. In a fundamental way, Catwoman one year later is all about uncertainty, and the cover image I've reproduced, (which is different from the picture up at DC's website), shows us the newly-costumed heroine with her hand up to her face, the finger in her mouth connoting hesitation and insecurity.
These were the questions I brought to this issue:
Will Selina Kyle be both mother and heroine?
Why does Selina think she can so easily be replaced?
Can Holly Robinson stay alive as the new Catwoman (without killing someone)?
Where has baby Helena come from, and what's her destiny?
I know that the last question is oddly-worded, but there's more to this, I think, than simply finding out who Helena's father is. For example, there's an interesting exchange between Slam Bradley and Selina over her choice of the child's name.
Slam's reaction here intrigues me because, other than for considerations that exist beyond the fourth wall, I don't quite get why the name Helena should cause him to raise an eyebrow. I mean, the name should evoke all kinds of connections for the reader, but not for the characters in the book, right?
It's heartening to see that even after the crisis and the leap forward, Selina is still herself. Let me set the stage for her last appearance in the issue. Batman has stopped by to visit and chat. Selina has recently given birth, (having been released from the hospital with her child several hours earlier). She's got a motherly shawl draped over her shoulders, and looks as if she's gearing up for an evening of knitting in front of the radio (or Victrola). She lacks all of the outer accoutrements of mask and costume that mark her as an accomplished adventuress. Oh, and there's one last thing: she's holding a teddy bear in one hand.
Yet, when Batman begins his lecture on the wisdom of her decision to empower Holly Robinson as the new Catwoman, Selina cuts him off and firmly directs Batman to talk to the hand.
One year later, Selina Kyle is absolutely at peace with the momentous decisions she has made. I look forward to learning about the sources of her confidence in future issues.
I grant that my reading of that point might have been a bit too literal. I took Slam's initial reponse to the name as a knowing one, but his "Named after?" line does make it seem that he just wants to know where the information is coming from, rather than to provide some kind of commentary upon it.
And, yeah, poor Slammer doesn't get any respect in this issue, does he?
I'm definitely looking forward to learning who Selina is honoring with her choice of name. And yes, I'm eager to see what she knows about the DCU-wide events that we're presently reading about; they would indeed be memories to her one year later.