Still newish penciller Brad Rader (his second issue) leans a little too heavily into the Silver Age romance comic homage, but otherwise, it’s a near-perfect comic. Writer Ed Brubaker figures out how to give the story the done-in-one feel while still kicking off a new story arc. So it’s part one of four, but really (presumably) part zero of three.
It’s a prologue from Holly’s perspective. She’s out working for Selina, an East End Peculiar, trying to get some information on a new dealer while reconnecting with people she hasn’t seen in a while. Brubaker sets some of it up with the first scene, which has Holly filling out an email personality test. Her choices on that test come up throughout the issue, whether introducing the romantic interest, filling in some details of Holly’s story post-whenever she last appeared in a Catwoman comic, or addressing Holly’s addiction recovery.
She still hasn’t told Selina about her relatively recent sobriety and how she tried to avoid triggers, which Selina is now asking her to seek out. Lots of excellent character development for Holly, with her self-reflection arc causing her to make some ill-advised, daring choices to get the issue to a dramatic conclusion and set up the story arc with a good cliffhanger.
Brubaker, Rader, inker Cameron Stewart, colorist Matt Hollingsworth (who’s got to show shitty Gotham during the day), and letterer Willie Schubert (the narration is Holly’s journal—in her head presumably—and the lettering conveys personality) knock it out of the park.
The comic’s from the relatively short period between ubiquitous email (or enough you can turn it into a plot point) and smartphones. Lots of Holly’s day is frustratingly boring in a way a smartphone would help. In addition to everything else, it’s historically fascinating–just an all-around excellent book.