The best part of The Dark Knight Rises?
Selina Kyle, Catwoman.
Intelligent, perceptive, armed with a total disregard for the law but not quite without morals altogether.
That’s the Selina Kyle I know from the comics. So good was Anne Hathaway as Catwoman that I even forgave The Dark Knight Rises for the huge number of plot holes, including the fact that Bruce’s broken back is cured by someone using their knee to make a spinal adjustment.
If you loved this Selina as much as I did, the very best place to start your comic reading is Catwoman: Selina’s Big Score by Darwyn Cooke.
This story, and her new series in 2001, brought Selina back to her roots as a thief and explored her connection to Gotham. Before that, Catwoman had fallen on hard times. Her previous series book was canceled after a run that lasted nearly 100 issues. Worse, the cancellation was deserved as the once-interesting story lines had fallen into chaos, not least because writer/artist Jim Balent began drawing Selina Kyle’s breasts as bigger than her head. In her last issue, Selina “died.” (Which is comic book speak for “taking a break.”)
Enter Ed Brubaker and Darwyn Cooke.
Brubaker and Cooke wrote a series of back-up stories in Detective Comics from August to November 2001 that brought back Silver Age character, Slam Bradley, who starred in Detective even before Batman. Bradley is a private eye hired to find the missing Selina, dead or alive. It’s a story steeped in noir and pulp origins, with Bradley very much in the mold of Sam Spade.
Once the back-ups were finished, a new Catwoman series was launched in late 2001 by Brubaker, Cooke, and several other artists. Brubaker, in an interview with the webzine Sequential Tart jokingly answered “smaller breasts” when asked about the difference between his Catwoman and the previous Catwoman series. But it was more than that. Selina settled in a crime-ridden part of Gotham, determined to do what she could to protect those without a voice, though with methods obviously not approved by law enforcement or even Batman.
Selina’s Big Score takes place between Slam’s investigation of the missing Selina and her re-settlement in Gotham, but it stands alone. It’s a classic caper tale, with Selina, allies, and enemies all after that big score in a tale full of thievery, double-crosses, and action sequences. Much like Hathaway’s Catwoman, this Selina claims not to have any morals, that she doesn’t care about anyone but herself, and that she’s just in it for the money to set herself up for life. As in The Dark Knight Rises, this only turns out to be partially true.
Even if you’ve never read a Catwoman comic in your life, if you’re a fan of mysteries and noir stories, Selina’s Big Score will entertain you.
Corrina Lawson is a writer, mom, geek and superhero, thought not always all four on the same day. She is a senior editor of the GeekMom Blog on Wired.com (www.wired.com/geekmom) and the author of a superhero romance series and an alternate history series featuring Romans and Vikings in ancient North America. She has been a comic book geek all her life and often dreamed of growing up to be Lois Lane.