Catwoman: Soulstealer (DC Icons #3)
Written by: Sarah J. Maas
Review by Stephanie Cooke
In my adult years, there are very few authors that I’ve followed almost religiously. In fact, I can only think of one that I’ve read countless works of in the last few years and that is Sarah J. Maas. I discovered her work a few years back with her A Court of Thorns and Roses series which I completely devoured. I recently dove into her other big series Throne of Glass series and I can’t get enough of that either. Her writing is so compelling and Maas’ ability to give life to the characters in her mind is nothing short of wonderful.
When the DC Icons YA Books were announced and I saw Maas’ name alongside Catwoman, I actually cheered on the spot. I felt giddy that Catwoman was getting a treatment by someone who knows how to write women as well as Maas. The last great Catwoman comic (in my opinion) was Genevieve Valentine’s run from 2015 but it was so short lived. I wanted more of what Valentine had to offer with the character before a new creative team took over. Unfortunately that didn’t happen and I fell off the comic once more.
This marks my return to reading Catwoman and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the story. It acts as kind of an origin to the character but in the same sense that the Wonder Woman: Warbringer and Batman: Nightwalker books did. Which is to say that there’s an origin in place but it’s not in comic book continuity. These books exist outside the main continuity of the character which gives them a lot more room to be their own thing and to evolve in new ways.
In Catwoman: Soulstealer, we get a glimpse at Selina Kyle’s life before she takes on the mantel of Catwoman. Her life growing up and being responsible for her sickly younger sister. We see what Selina has to do to survive in a city that turns a blind eye to the less fortunate. We get to see that turning point where Selina takes her potential and begins training to become something more after she disappears from Gotham City without a trace.
The story also introduces readers to Luke Fox aka Batwing. He’s the son of Lucius Fox, the CEO of Wayne Enterprises and has lived a pretty privileged life. Still, Fox suffers from PTSD as he remembers the loss of his brothers-in-arms when he served in the military.
As the story goes on, Selina returns to Gotham as the spoiled socialite, Holly Vanderhees. With Batman away on a “covert mission”, the only bat in town is Batwing. As Holly, Selina teams up with some well-known fellow Bat-criminals (Harley and Poison Ivy…yay!) to take all they want from the wealthiest members of the city.
Catwoman: Soulstealer focuses primarily on Selina’s perspective but every few chapters, things shift to Luke’s perspective. I didn’t think that I’d like this throughout the story but I found it an interesting way to give us more insight into Selina. Not only do we get a first hand account of the events transpiring in the book from title character, but Luke provides insight into how he perceives her, both as Holly Vanderhees as well as Catwoman.
I think my biggest gripe with the book as a whole was that while I think Maas did a great job with Selina and Luke, she didn’t quite nail Ivy and Harley for me. They’re both such big personalities that have rich histories and fandoms within the comics world. Harley especially has such a distinct voice that can be hard to really replicate. Maas didn’t do a bad job but I think there have definitely be stronger interpretations over the years. That being said, this is a more standalone continuity so in my opinion, a lot can be forgiven.
One thing about Maas’ Poison Ivy that was really great to see was her interpretation of her sexuality, specifically in regards to her relationship with Harley. It’s long been something “shipped” by fans throughout the years but getting to have an official DC book where Ivy and Harley are more than friends to each other was truly a great turning point for the characters.
Buy it! I absolutely love what the DC Icons YA line is doing and Catwoman: Soulstealer may be my favourite book yet. Sarah J. Maas expertly tells Selina’s story and carefully crafts the characters in a way that is both faithful to the source material and fresh.