The cover for Catwoman #0, seen above, is just one of the long line of things about the New 52 Catwoman that's caught a lot of flack, and it may or may not be that flack that's signaled a changing of the guard on Selina Kyle's title. Ann Nocenti, industry veteran and current Green Arrow scribe, is taking over the book from Judd Winick starting with the aforementioned #0 issue as part of DC's September stunt of all #0 issues. She doesn't yet seem to know who her artist is going to be though. Guillem March may continue on, but perhaps not.
Famously, Winick wanted to empasize the sexy, sexy, sexy of Catwoman, and opened his series with a lot of cleavage and ended the first issue (and started the second) with some angry Bat-sex, which turned off a lot of people for seeming exploitative. Winick eventually answered critics after his first arc, saying that while she leads with her sexuality, he was also trying to illustrate her toughness and youthful recklessness. Nocenti gave an interview to CBR about taking over Catwoman, and she doesn't seem particularly offended at Winick's run - in fact, she's planning to keep some of his elements.
"I really like continuity," Nocenti said. "I like working on what somebody just did before and honoring the tone. I think what's been set up -- I read the first nine issues -- and they're really fast, they're really electric and very exciting, and I think it would be a mistake to shift off that tone. So you want to, like a musician coming in when there's already a riff being played, you want to ease into it and use whatever notes the musicians have down. You basically want to make sure there's this fast kind of recklessness, which the previous writer gave her -- which I guess she always had, but he's emphasizing that, he's bringing that out."
Nocenti did once crack a joke at a previous con panel when she was brought on to write Green Arrow that she was the 'token female' in the midst of the backlash DC got from the introductions of Catwoman and Starfire over in Red Hood and the Outlaws and the absence of the fan-favorite modern-day Batgirls. Then in GA, she kicked off her run with a trio of hypersexualized female villains called the Skylarks manipulating Oliver Queen with overt sexuality. It's not something she's going to be afraid of in Catwoman, either.
"With Catwoman I think, again, the two different personas are trying to achieve something different," Nocenti says of her take. "I think that she will have a lot more sexuality when she puts on the cat suit. I mean it's a cat suit! It's skin-tight black leather that you have to pour yourself into with one zipper! [Laughs] If you or I put on those suits, it would hang a bit differently than if I was walking around in my usual pajama clothes. [Laughter] I think to a certain degree it's a sheathe and that she moves differently as soon as she puts it on. There's an intent to that, there's an intentionality to that because she needs to be Catwoman when she's Catwoman. She needs to be stealthy and get in there and steal something and go home and have that release of, 'Oh yes, another glittery thing.' This is the genre and in this genre people wear spandex and have great bodies, so it's a little disingenuous to say that's too much -- it's the genre."
Those of you waiting for the return of Catwoman as a heroic figure will still be waiting. That's not how Nocenti sees her. "I think the heroism of villains is accidental and they begrudge it, but it does happen," she explains. "Like I said before I like continuity so I want to keep her the Catwoman that's been established in the New 52. The other things that are going to start creeping in are, yes, going to be darker. She's more villain than hero to me because she's selfish. She's motivated by this need to have things, to want, it's a compulsion, she's got to go get it. And if along the way she does something that seems heroic, it's an accident."
That's the new deal with Selina Kyle, folks. Will you check in for it?