Sunday, December 27, 2020

#IReadsYou Review: UNDER THE MOON: A Catwoman Tale

DC COMICS/DC Ink – @DCComics

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

STORY: Lauren Myracle
ART: Isaac Goodhart
COLORS: Jeremy Lawson
LETTERS: Deron Bennett
ISBN:  978-1-4012-8591-3; paperback; (May 1, 2019)
224pp, Color, $16.99 U.S., $22.99 CAN

Age Range: 13 and up

Catwoman created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane

Catwoman is a DC Comics character that is part of the Batman line of comic books.  Created by Bill Finger and Bob Kane, Catwoman made her debut as “the Cat” in Batman #1 (cover dated: Spring 1940).  Catwoman is Selina Kyle, and over her eight decades of existence, she has been a villain, an anti-hero, and Batman's love interest in addition to having a complex love-hate relationship with him.

Until it was recently made defunct, “DC Ink” was a DC Comics imprint that offered original graphic novels for readers of the “Young Adult” or “YA” demographic.  DC Ink titles, according to DC Comics, featured coming-of-age stories that encouraged teens to ask themselves who they are and how they relate to others.  [DC Ink is now known as “DC Graphic Novels for Young Adults.”]

Published in May of this year, Under the Moon: A Catwoman's Tale is an original graphic novel (OGN) that focuses on a young Selina Kyle before she becomes Catwoman.  It is written by bestselling author Lauren Myracle (the “Winnie Years” series); drawn by Isaac Goodhart (Image Comics/Top Cow's Postal); colored by Jeremy Lawson; and lettered by Deron Bennett.

Under the Moon: A Catwoman's Tale introduces 15-year-old Selina Kyle.  In her short life, she has had to put up with the string of bad men that her mother, Gayle, picks up on the job at Carl's Tavern.  The worst of the lot is the most recent pick-up, the brawny bully, Dernell.  Soon, Selina figures out that she cannot stay under the same roof as Dernell, and she leaves home.  She also eventually quits attending Gotham High School, where she has friends like Angie and Tristan.

Selina Kyle, however, believes that, at heart, she is a loner.  Still, she connects with the mercurial trio of Ojo, the leader; Yang, the computer genius; and Briar Rose, a young girl who does not talk and really does not want to be touched.  And Selina can't quite get former classmate, Bruce Wayne, out of her mind.  But the streets are dangerous, and some kind of beast, known as the “Gotham Growler,” is terrorizing Gotham City.

Thus far, I have read the first two releases from the DC Ink imprint, the debut release, Mera: Tidebreaker, and now, Under the Moon: A Catwoman's Tale.  Both are lovely reads, and Under the Moon: A Catwoman's Tale offers is a fetching coming-of-age tale about a young woman coming to terms with who she is.  Writer Lauren Myracle presents a teenage girl who says that she prefers caring about no one and no thing, and Myracle takes her on a journey to figure out how she can live to be a loner... with a few friends, of course.

The art team of Isaac Goodhart and colorist Jeremy Lawson deliver some of the most gorgeous comic book art that I have seen this year.  Goodhart's supple line work and lush inking are eye candy, and they make Selina Kyle's story a moody, urban fairy tale filled with a sense of mystery as much as it is filled with angst.  Lawson's colors make love to Goodhart's compositions, putting the moodiness in a jazz-accentuated mode.  Honestly, Goodhart and Lawson's work here reminds me of Daniel Clowes art for his classic graphic novel, Ghost World.

Letterer Deron Bennett, one of the best letterers in American comic books, changes fonts and graphic styles with subtlety and grace.  Bennett knows exactly the tone that is needed, when things should be quite, normal, and out-loud.

In the end, everything is topnotch in this hugely enjoyable read.  Under the Moon: A Catwoman's Tale is one of the best Catwoman comics that I have ever read.

9 out of 10

Under the Moon: A Catwoman's Tale contains the following extras and back matter:
  • Website, phone numbers, and contact information for organization that help with stopping domestic violence, avoiding self-harm, and stopping animal cruelty.
  • A page of character designs by Isaac Goodhart
  • a three-page interview section in which Lauren Myracle and Isaac Goodhart interview each other
  • two author biographical pages
  • a  full-color preview of the graphic novel, Teen Titans: Raven, from Kami Garcia and Gabriel Picolo

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2019 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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