Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale

illus. by Isaac Goodhart. 208p. DC Ink. May 2019. pap. $16.99. ISBN 9781401285913. POP
Gr 9 Up–Fourteen-year-old Selina Kyle's life is in the litter box. Her mother's latest in a string of boyfriends, Dernell, is short-tempered and vindictive. Selina is frustrated by her superficial friendships at school, despite her unflinching loyalty, and dreamy Bruce Wayne barely notices her. Selina rescues a tiny kitten by a dumpster, finding joy and purpose in caring for the creature. But when Dernell locks Selina in a closet and kills the kitten, she runs off, reeling from guilt and anguish, and begins a solitary life on the street. Another runaway, Ojo, teaches her parkour and invites her to join his gang in their latest heist: stealing a rare book from the private library of a local billionaire. This look at Catwoman's backstory is dense with plot, emotion, and action. Myracle offers a fresh take on the frequently sexualized portrayals of this character, creating a strong, sympathetic, but no less flawed Selina. Like teenagers and cats alike, she is a compelling set of contradictions; scrappy and vulnerable; quick to protect but slow to trust. Goodhart's illustrations are similarly nuanced, beautifully depicting both dynamic action and subtle emotion. His monochrome blues and purples evoke the titular moonlight and underscore Selina's nocturnal destiny. He displays a particular talent for illustrating hair; Selina's glossy black mane shines and bounces. Myracle doesn't shy away from the grisly circumstances of a runaway teen. There is mature language throughout, grisly domestic violence, and self-harm.
VERDICT A sensitive origin story of a beloved antihero.

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