Catwoman: Soulstealer

DC Comics. Jun. 2021. 208p. adapted by Louise Simonson. pap. $16.99. ISBN 9781401296414.
Gr 8 Up–In this graphic novel retelling of Maas’s popular DC Icons book, Selina Kyle, part of the Leopard gang in Gotham, fights in underground rings to raise money for her sister Maggie’s illness, before being busted by the police. In exchange for Maggie’s safety and care, Selina agrees to join Talia al Ghul in the League of Assassins. Years later, Selina escapes from the League with a small fortune, a thumb drive holding the secret to reusable Lazarus Pits (which heal the sick), and a high-tech cat battle suit. She arrives in Gotham under the alias Holly Vanderhees and soon finds her alter ego Catwoman entangled with Batwing (aka Luke Fox), a superhero still struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder from his time as a U.S. Marine. Catwoman must join forces with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn in order to survive Gotham criminals and the League of Assassins, as well as complete her plan to save Maggie. By replacing Selina’s traditional love interest of Bruce Wayne with Luke and by incorporating the League into Catwoman’s origin, Maas breathes new life into the oft-told Catwoman story. The art primarily relies on blacks and grays, a fitting color scheme for gloomy Gotham. Catwoman’s purple suit is both a nod to retro Batman costuming and an effective way to make her stand out among the dark artwork. However, the lack of color makes it difficult to identify most characters as any other ethnicity than white, with the exception of Lucius and Luke Fox, who are Black.
VERDICT This is a well-written and deftly illustrated, enjoyable story about trust and teamwork. Fans of other DC teen publications such as Michael Moreci’s The Lost Carnival and Danielle Paige’s Mera: Tidebreaker will be pleased.

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