reflection

Cliff Chiang nails this 2nd chapter of Catwoman: Lonely City #2 with an exciting and gorgeous comic that sticks the landing in every category.
Writing/Plot
Art
Letters

Review: Getting The Band Back Together In CATWOMAN: LONELY CITY #2

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Acclaimed comics creator Cliff Chiang returns to a new era of Gotham with Catwoman: Lonely City #2. From training montages to exciting heists, and from political debates to nostalgic reunions, this comic nails every plot point it aims for. With outstanding writing and predictably phenomenal artwork, this could shape up to be the defining Catwoman story of the modern era.

“If Selina Kyle is going to break into the Batcave at her advanced age, she’s going to need a crew to help…and luckily for her, some of Gotham’s craftiest former villains have time on their hands and bills to pay. But who is the mysterious OGBeast? And with political pressure mounting, how long will Mayor Harvey Dent let this cat stay out of the big house?”

Writing & Plot

Cliff Chiang constructs an insanely fun and carefully plotted story chapter with Catwoman: Lonely City #2. Each of this comic’s plot points, setting changes, and character (re)introductions are handled with deliberate pacing that makes the absolute most out of the page count. What’s so striking is how each sequence is massively entertaining and revealing about these characters new and old. From the humorous yet inspiring training montages, to the tense heist sequences, and even to the political debates, every part of this book is pure comics magic.

Chiang has the tonal consistency of a practiced screenwriter. The entire comic manages to maintain a sense of levity while know when it needs to get serious. Even then, while the more serious sequences are rightfully poignant and emotionally heavy, they don’t overstay their welcome. Chiang’s characters, from his takes on our old favorites to the new faces, is uniquely written and brilliantly portrayed. With this chapter, Chiang proves that he is every ounce as great a writer as he is an artist.

Art Direction

If you’ve seen his work on Paper Girls or New 52 Wonder Woman, then you know the visual caliber you’re getting in Catwoman: Lonely City #2. Chiang’s thick pencils and inks carve personality into his characters and life into Gotham City. There is a massive amount of work and attention to detail going on in this comic. Post-Batman Gotham is already a fascinating and unique signature made by Chiang on this legendary city. What’s even more astonishing is the work he puts into his characters with his art. Chiang’s designs for the returned Selina Kyle, Barbara Gordon, Killer Croc, and others are a perfect combination of familiarity and unique flair. The real winner here (and hear me out) is the outfit design.

Everyone’s sense of fashion is picked out is perfectly picked out in terms of character personality and practicality. Gone are Selina’s alluring catsuits, replaced with loose-fitting sweats and custom-made sneakers. Croc’s large jersey’s and newsboy cap give him more characterization than he’s ever received. This same pattern applies to every person, including those I can’t share because of spoilers. What’s doubly impressive about this feature? Their clothing is constantly changing. Everyone’s wardrobe alters what feels like every 3 pages. This may seem like an odd detail to focus on, but think about it. When was the last time you noticed significant clothing changes on a character in a mainstream comic? More than just going from a signature costume to *one* standard plainclothes outfit? It doesn’t happen much. The effort and eye Chiang puts into the detail is insanely impressive to think about.

Colors

Chiang’s color choices create a sense of tonal mastery for every page and specific scene. His neon, almost pastel choices at points juxtapose with the tone we typically get from a comic set in Gotham. The twilight skies dotted with searching lights during a heist lend a sense of kinetic energy to the scene. More conversational moments are typically dominated by a single shade over the whole sequence, cast by an internal light source. Chiang’s colors mesh perfectly with his pencils and storytelling structure in a way seldom seen. His lettering is on point as well, with a sharp font that reflexively matches the character’s voices and focus words in the word bubbles. This whole experience is a carefully crafted piece of a smooth running, gorgeously put-together machine.

Verdict

Catwoman: Lonely City #2 is a perfect comic book, and a brilliant continuation of this Black Label comic series. Cliff Chiang crafts a comic with the energy of an action/heist film and rounds it off with relevant political discussion and deep character moments that all nail their landings. His visual work is as stellar as one might have guessed – and then some. Please make sure you’re reading this comic and pick up this issue when it hits shelves on 12-21!

 

 

Justin Munday
Reader and hoarder of comics. Quietly sipping coffee, reading, and watching sci-fi in Knoxville, TN.

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