Catwoman’s Nine Lives (Batman: Comic Chapter Books)
By Matthew K. Manning, Illustrated by Luciano Vecchio
Published by: Stone Arch Books (August 1, 2014)
Available in: paperback, library binding, Kindle, NOOK
At the time of this review there were four books in the Batman: Comic Chapter Book series.
Catwoman’s Nine Lives is a super smart, zippy caper that sets itself firmly in Batman’s Gotham City with a resounding Twang! Fwoom! Click!
The story is solid and fast-paced, and the artwork is spectacular. With The Penguin an additional character, the setting won’t disappoint any Batman fan.
Most impressive are the endnotes of the book that include a detailed biography and background of Selina Kyle, a.k.a. Catwoman, and what she does with her stolen money, and why. It adds a depth and social conscience to the action in the book. There also are examples of initial sketches of the book’s artwork, and then final art examples. For any kid interested in art, book production, or the mechanics of imagination, this is a real gem. There also is a Glossary, a detailed Comics Terms list, and a section titled Visual Questions that delves into facial expressions, an examination of movement methods, and the nature of Batman and Catwoman’s friendship/feud.
And this brings us to the meat of the book: while young readers can merrily enjoy a comic thrill, adults can see this book as way more than a comic strip. There is a very definite sexual tension between Batman and Catwoman that is taut and determined. Catwoman teases, cajoles, and entices Batman, all the while seeming to do what he wants while really keeping her own agenda intact. While maintaining a G Rating throughout, an adult could literally use the text in a college-level analysis of women’s roles, perceptions, and actions within modern society. I think this book is literally brilliant.
And that’s no kitten kibble.
What do you say teachers, parents and writers? Use the comment below and let’s chat….