WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Catwoman #1, written and illustrated by Joëlle Jones, with colors by Laura Allred and lettering by Josh Reed, and Batman #50 by Tom King, Mikel Janin and many, many other artists. Both issues are in stores now.
Officially, Catwoman #1 is the follow-up to Batman #50, the milestone issue of a series that's been building to the wedding of Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle for the better part of a year.
However, DC readers were left shocked to learn that Batman #50 wasn't the culmination of the hero/villain romance, but rather the latest swerve in the ongoing, ever-complicated relationship between the characters. The wedding didn't end up taking place, Selina choosing instead to run away after ever-so-subtly being made aware by her maid of honor Holly Robinson that a happy Bruce Wayne could not be an effective Batman.
The realization was appropriately heartbreaking, and it also worked stupendously as the (temporary) conclusion of the story arc Selina was on. In its wake, Selina leaves Gotham City and heads off for her latest solo adventures in Catwoman #1. The cat burglar/antihero now finds herself living a nocturnal life in the town of Villa Hermosa, trying her best to run away from the haunting decision she made back in Gotham. But even here, a new source of trouble finds her, leading Selina to don a brand new Catwoman costume -- one that invokes the letter Bruce Wayne left her in Batman #50.
If you've read Batman #50, then you know that the issue was framed with dual narration in the form of two letters -- one written by Bruce to Selina, and the other written by Selina for Bruce. This is where readers learned of Catwoman's reason for not going through with the wedding, and it's where Bruce revealed something important to Selina -- something she perhaps didn't know about herself.
In the letter, Bruce talked about Selina's eyes, which were originally exposed when he first met her as Catwoman. As the world's greatest detective, he could read anyone through their eyes -- but hers were different. He knew she used them to send a message to her enemies, a warning -- a story and a reputation. But even the Batman couldn't fully read them. They constantly changed, and for that reason, she would remain a mystery he could never fully solve.
Over the years, Catwoman's costume has changed many times, from her original purple suit and green cape to the grey and black of Batman: The Animated Series. However, the modern iteration of her costume has more often than not always featured a signature pair of goggles, lenses Bruce could see through, even if nobody else could.
Now, as copycat Catwomen begins to run through the streets of Villa Hermosa, trying to frame Selina for crimes she hasn't committed, she finds herself in need to put on her costume again and clear her name. But this isn't just the costume she wore before. No, this one is different. It's got exposed segments near the wrists and under the armpits, a sleek design and a material that calls to mind the costume worn by Michelle Pfeiffer in Batman Returns -- but most importantly, the goggles are gone.
The look that has followed the character from modern comics to the Batman: Arkham Asylum video game series and Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight Rises has been put to the side, returning Catwoman to a look closer to her original design, her eyes exposed once more. It's a subtle change, but one that speaks volumes about Selina's current status. She's still in love with Bruce Wayne, and she's deeply hurt by the sacrifice she had to make. And though she left Gotham, she heeded the words of Bruce's letter, once more recognizing the power in her eyes. To set herself apart from all of the copycats, Catwoman calls back to the past, and honors the words of a man she will keep fighting for -- even if she finds herself in another country altogether.