While Batgirl has received most of the attention when it comes to dramatically revamped Gotham heroines in the past year, Catwoman has also undergone a significant transformation that brought a upswing in quality to her ongoing series. Writer (and The A.V. Club contributor) Genevieve Valentine has built a tense mob drama from Selina Kyle’s new status quo as the head of the Calabrese crime family, fleshing out Gotham’s underworld and giving Selina an intriguing supporting cast. One of those supporting players is Eiko Hasigawa, the daughter of one of Selina’s crime boss frenemies. Eiko stepped into the role of Catwoman while Selina was acclimating to her role as the Calabrese head, a decision that landed Eiko with severe injuries when she was ambushed by Black Mask on a rooftop and left for dead. Luckily for Eiko, Selina’s ally Killer Croc was around to save her, bringing Eiko to his sewer hideout and tending to her wounds.

Unluckily for Eiko, Black Mask has caught on to her feline-inspired secret identity, suggesting that things are only going to get tougher from here on out. This preview of this week’s Catwoman #44 turns up the tension as Selina realizes the increasingly deadly consequences of her mission, and Selina’s emotional reaction to the attack on Eiko comes through strongly in the artwork by David Messina, inker Gaetano Carlucci, and colorist Lee Loughride. Selina goes from worried to remorseful to vengeful over the course of these pages, and those internal changes are clearly marked by the detailed linework of Messina and Carlucci. Loughridge’s color palette is muted for the quiet opening scene, but he brings a bold contrast of warm and cool shades as Eiko, Selina, and Croc make their way out of the sewers and into the dangerous world above ground. The bright red coloring of the final page in this preview indicates that Selina is eager to make someone pay, and it’s very probable that Black Mask is going to regret bringing out Catwoman’s claws.

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Cover by Kevin Wada
Green Lantern 75th Anniversary variant by Emanuela Lupacchino and Laura Martin

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