Knight Terrors: Catwoman #1 is a successful addition to the Knight Terrors event that is a strong read even on its own. Tini Howard’s script does an excellent job creating a strange, yet uncannily familiar world that feels equal parts nightmarish and optimistic. Selina’s role in the story is nuanced and expands upon her self-doubts in her current run, making this an enticing read for fans of the series.
The first page is striking with Leila Leiz’s art making a strong impression as Selina makes her away across Gotham’s rooftops. Marissa Louise’s colors could use a little more variety on this opening page, but the color palette quickly becomes more dynamic upon a page turn. Howard’s script puts Selina on the hunt for an enemy that feels familiar to her, but she can’t quite remember. For readers, it’s clear that she’s putting herself on a path to face down Joker himself, who appears to be early in his criminal career in this nightmare world. It’s an interesting angle to take and makes a case for being a compelling “elseworlds” starting point. Even more compelling is the swift arrival of Selina’s sister, Maggie, who has taken the name of Sister Zero as her crime fighting alter ego. Selina’s relationship with Maggie is one of my favorite things about the character and I’m happy to see Howard address it. In this world, Maggie has two lives, one as Sister Zero and the other as Sister Magdalene where she works and helps those at her church. Maggie’s piousness and devotion to God is a great foil to Selina’s more dubious morality.
Most of the issue focuses on Selina and Maggie as they initially butt heads, but ultimately decide to team up to help Gotham escape from its current state of unrest. Even in the more expository moments in the issue, Leiz’s fantastic figure work elevates what could be mundane montages showing Maggie serve food to those in need intercut with brief flashes of her vigilantism. Louise’s colors also wisely drench backgrounds in pale yellows and beige which allows Selina and Maggie’s darker clothes to pop off the page, ensuring the focus is always on them. Speaking of clothes, Leiz draws fantastic outfits, giving each piece a sense of texture and weight, even making Selina’s Catwoman costume look more realistic and worn in. It’s a beautiful book throughout.
Howard spends a lot of time navigating Selina and Maggie’s relationship and there’s a fantastic moment where Selina plays along and pretends God may be the one speaking to her as she continues her mission. In this world, Selina’s plan to recruit criminals into her empire to keep them in check backfired, leaving Selina alone and taking the blame for the unrest in Gotham. Even subtler moments like the reveal of Selina’s facial scar and injured eye pack a punch, and it’s genuinely stirring to see Maggie embrace Selina despite her distaste toward her previous actions. A subsequent action sequence where Selina and Maggie team up to take down Joker and his goons is gorgeously colored in bright “clownish” colors of green, purple, and red. Due to Leiz’s precise figure work, the action choreography is never lost in the overabundance of color and chaos on the page.
The final moments threaten to twist the knife on Maggie and Selina’s reunion as the Joker’s arrival results in Maggie being shot by him off a roof to her apparent demise. The subsequent arrival of Batman isn’t a huge surprise, but how it plays out is.
Maggie is saved from the bullets by Batman as he wraps his bulletproof cape around her just before the bullets hit. Batman’s arrival is to be expected, but I love how this Batman is early in his career even to the point that Selina calling him Batman confuses him as he hasn’t even adopted that moniker. There’s even some humor as a snake soon bites him on the ankle, sending him to the floor as Selina notes that he’s “clearly new” at crime fighting.
Selina’s relationship with Maggie becomes troubled when she takes care of the bedridden Bruce. As Selina speaks to him, she begins to remember who he is and their previous relationship together, despite the two apparently not having met until now. In soap opera tradition, Maggie walks in right when the two kiss, ruining the sibling’s previous bonding and casting Selina out once again. It’s very clever to have this first issue focus on Selina and Maggie’s relationship while the next one seems poised to focus on Bruce and Selina. The final page hints at the continuation of their partnership, only this time Selina is the veteran who seeks to teach Batman the ropes. The entire issue is ripe with great characterization and the nightmare aspect of it only makes it more interesting to read as Selina must work through what she apparently fears the most.
- You don’t mind reading an elseworlds type story even if it’s connected to a larger event.
- Selina’s relationship with her sister, Maggie, is something you’d like to be explored more.
- Leila Leiz’s fantastic art as well as Marissa Louise’s stunning colors are enough to pick up a copy.
Knight Terrors: Catwoman #1 is an event tie-in book done right. It’s enjoyable on its own terms and for those into the event, this should be an enticing spin off to check out. Tini Howard keeps the story relevant to her main run on the character, making it easier to recommend to long time readers while giving the storyline more substance. Additionally, Leila Leiz’s pencils and Marissa Louise’s colors are some of the best I’ve seen in a while, making this a complete package.
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.