The Batman/Catwoman series has been showing us the romance between Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle as it has changed over their lives, but what about their connections from BEFORE they became costumed adventurers? The upcoming Batman/Catwoman Special (on shelves Tuesday January 25) traces the life of Selina Kyle from its earliest days to her entry into the criminal underworld and reveals that Bruce was a presence in her life all along. Whether fate or coincidence, it’s even more of a reason why the Bat/Cat romance is one of the most enduring love affairs in all of comics.
Now expanded to celebrate the legacy of iconic artist John Paul Leon, whose untimely passing after a long battle with cancer shocked the comics world this past May, this special will feature the work Leon completed for the original story plus tributes to the renowned artist created in his name by some of his closest friends and admirers. Bernard Chang, Shawn Crystal, Mitch Gerads, and Dave Stewart will bring the original story to its conclusion, lettered by Clayton Cowles, while comics’ top artists gather to celebrate Leon’s creative legacy through pin-up pages and essays in the special, including Lee Bermejo, Denys Cowan, Joëlle Jones, Dave Gibbons, Walter Simonson, and more.
Batman/Catwoman Special #1 will publish on January 25, 2022 with a cover by John Paul Leon and variant covers by Lee Weeks and Bill Sienkiewicz.
Original Story “Interlude”
Tom King – Writer
John Paul Leon – Artist (p.1-13), Breakdowns (14-20) and Cover
The first time I heard about Chester Himes was not in a bookstore but in the movies. When most kids were only into climbing the high school hierarchy or finding themselves I was a fan of cinema. To give you an idea of how much a cinephile I was, I used to read Premiere magazine religiously when it was in publication strictly because I loved movies and everything about them. One of those movies that I watched in high school was A Rage In Harlem.
The movie revolved around a gangster’s moll (Robin Givens) who flees to Harlem with a trunk of gold and has every greedy hand looking for her. I was completely enthralled with the movie, and that is when I found out that it was based on a book by Chester Himes. That lead me to rest of his books. This story gave me and the rest of its audience a view of the world during that time which involved people that looked like me. In Luke Cage Noir we get a different look at the titular character one that thrives in the Jazz Age.
We meet Luke, shortly after he gets out of jail , as he
returns to Harlem , with the world fully aware of his powers, he reaches out to
old friend ,Stryker, and gets hired by a rich businessman to find out who
killed his wife in Harlem. Which leads
Cage to his old nemesis, Tombstone, and to his old moll, Josephine, who faked
her ow death and has been in hiding since he went to jail. As he digs deeper
into why Josephine went into hiding and who killed the rich man’s wife, he
finds out that old cohort and his nemesis have plenty to hide ad were looking
to double cross him. By book’s end, the motive behind the rich man’s wife was
that her pregnancy would have exposed a deep secret, one that is both shocking
and speaks to today’s issues.
Overall, an exciting comic which very much lives in that age. It’s further amplified with the echoes of Walter Mosley’s Devil In A Blue Dress. The story by Mike Benson and Adam Glass is entertaining, action packed and seeping with intrigue. The art by Shawn Martinborough and Tim Bradstreet is captivating. Altogether, a story that the reader will have the reader searching for Donald Goines and Chester Himes in their local bookstore.
Story: Mike Benson and Adam Glass Art: Shawn Martinborough and Tim Bradstreet Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
For years, Jack Boniface believed that he knew the true story of the Shadowman loa – the true story of the curse inside him. He was wrong.
For the first time, Jack Boniface is about to discover the long-hidden history of the supernatural power that became his birthright… Unmoored in time and space, the loa is about to reveal its untold dimensions…and now, the last defender of the wall between our realm and the Deadside is falling backwards through the astral void, finding himself face to face with his forebears across the centuries – from the paranoia-addled alleyways of 1940s New York to the fire-scorched plantations of the Civil War…all the way back to the primeval height of the African savannah in 40,000 B.C.!
The fourth issue of Shadowmanis both a continuation of the previous issue’s surprise ending that left us with the dead body of Jack Boniface, and a standalone story set before the USA joined the Second World War that focuses on Jack’s grandfather. In doing this we get a near perfect blend of a comic that is the perfect jumping on point for those who want to give the series a shot as well as a compelling read for those who had to pick their jaw up after the third issue. Andy Diggle takes what could easily be a story used to fluff out an arc simply for the trade paperback and weaves it into an arc as an essential piece of the puzzle. It’s something that’s seldom done as effectively as it is here as Jack Boniface’s spirit becomes a passenger in his ancestor’s body, and subsequently proceeds to act as narrator for the duration of the book. It’s a simple touch, but oh so effective.
Artistically, Shawn Martinborough and Stephen Segovia adopt an Art Deco style that perfectly suits the time period and noir style pulp-hero feeling of the story. The lines are thick and chunky, and the comic is heavily steeped in deep blues, solid blacks and shades of grey, all of which add to the feeling that you’re being immersed in the shadowy worlds that the Shadowman of 1940 inhabits in New York.
If this is the style of story that we’re going to get with this arc, with Jack bouncing through various historical Shadowmen (and the cover certainly indicates this is the case) then I’m even more excited to see where Diggle takes the Shadowman.
Story: Andy Diggle Art: Shawn Martinborough and Stephen Segovia
Colors: Jose Villarrubia Letters: Simon Bowland
Story: 8.8 Art: 9 Overall: 8.9 Recommendation: Buy
Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review