Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale is an original story about a young Selina Kyle, the girl who will eventually become the iconic Catwoman, who leaves her turbulent home life for the streets of Gotham. I wanted to like this so much, and I just didn’t.
Following the rather disappointing Mera: Tidebreaker is the sadly equally disappointing Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale. The second entry from DC Ink, DC Comics’ new YA publishing imprint, this story of the girl who would become Catwoman is a fresh take that doesn’t really follow established canon, which is fine. Characters get rebooted and retconned all the time in comics, and I will never argue with trying to bring iconic characters to a new audience by giving them modern, more relatable stories. It’s an interesting look at a younger version of the character that does a fairly good job of establishing how she became the woman you know and love.
There are some excellent themes in Under the Moon, such as the idea of a found family (or pack) – which is a favorite of mine – and the question of “what is right?”, and I love the look at the concept of loneliness. However, the story is full of abuse (on people and animals), self-harm, and violence, just to name a few things. Anyone familiar with the character of Selina Kyle knows that she has led a rough life and should expect any glimpse into her past to be dark; these events are necessary to her growth as a character, but it is virtually impossible to deal with all of those heavy subjects in the brief amount of time given to a graphic novel. If you’re going to introduce them they should be dealt with appropriately and not handwaved or existing just to pile on more trauma. The way some of these issues are dealt with comes across as tone deaf, and it’s irresponsible to do this in a book meant for teenagers.
It’s fast-paced, as most graphic novels tend to be, but the plot is kind of bizarre and nonsensical while also managing to be contrived and predictable. There are several side-plots that are built up with no resolution, and occasionally things go from Point A to Point B with no logical connection between them. I had to reread sections just to make sure I hadn’t accidentally skipped a page. It’s a stereotypical “badass chick” survival story. There is a diverse set of characters who are frustratingly underdeveloped, where it seems as though their diverseness are their only personality traits (the gay best friend, the character of Asian descent who is good at computers). Even Selina’s characterization is inconsistent.
Bruce Wayne makes an appearance, though why ultra-wealthy Bruce Wayne would be at public school is something that doesn’t really jive with his backstory; still, it’s interesting to see what their relationship would have been like at a younger age.
The art is lovely and flows beautifully. Isaac Goodhart did a fabulous job. Similar to Mera: Tidebreaker, Under the Moon is very monochromatic, colored in mostly shades of blues and blacks that give it an ethereal quality. Considering the title, the color scheme is obviously meant to evoke the feeling and appearance of night and in this matter it succeeds quite well.
I acknowledge that I’m not the target audience, and I can appreciate what DC is trying to do. I hope that when they continue Selina’s story, they flesh out the characters more fully and tighten up the narrative. There is potential to be found.
Considering the excessive swearing and the mature content, I would not recommend this for younger readers, unless you are planning to read it with them and use it as a learning experience.
Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale by Lauren Myracle is published by DC Ink and is currently available wherever books are sold.
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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