Catwoman Annual 2021 #1 is published by DC Comics, written by Ram V, with art by Kyle Hotz, Fernando Blanco, and Juan Ferreyra, colors by David Baron, and letters by Tom Napolitano. With the mysterious Father Valley having recently attacked Leo, the specter haunting Selina made his big debut as a more active participant in her world. But who is Father Valley? Where does this supposed servant of god come from, and what makes him see the world as he does now?
With our titular character making only the briefest of appearances, this book’s sole focus is on the mysterious villain who has been stalking Selina since he was hired by Cobblepot back in issue #26. But with the main series storyline looking to be building up to a big confrontation, Catwoman Annual 2021 #1 gives readers the full reveal of Selina’s opponent.
Without going into spoilers, the Catwoman series’ regular writer Ram V weaves an origin story for the shadowy foe that’s been stalking Selina that fits what we have seen of the character. The story’s plot explains the character’s fixations on things like god, while also revealing how he reconciles his actions with the book that diametrically opposes what he does. And while this sordid tale does a solid job of conveying to the reader how Valley has come to see the world the way he does, Ram V never makes the mistake of creating any sympathy for Valley. The origin doesn’t delude his viciousness by forming a background around him that somehow excuses what he is. Valley is a monster. Ram V knows it, we know it, and Valley knows it.
Catwoman Annual 2021 #1 also manages to deliver a sizable surprise in its origin tale by linking Valley to another side character in the Batman corner of the DCU. I didn’t see it coming, but I have to say I really appreciated it. It is one of those special little joys of a shared universe when a writer can tie in an obscure character to a new one in a way that makes reasonable sense.
The art in this book delivers a pair of well-executed visual styles. With the brief opening of the book delivering the visual presentation of the core series, Catwoman fans will be all too familiar with the quality of line work that artist Blanco delivers in these panels. Once Catwoman Annual 2021 #1‘s dive into Valley’s past begins, however, the art duties are taken up by Hotz and Ferreyra. The pair of artists deliver lines that help create the dark moods of the book as they bring the twisted acts that helped to make Valley what he is and what the man does to make his way after the climactic events of the story to life.
Throughout the entire story, colorist Baron does an effective job of bringing an extra layer of atmosphere to this book’s pages, thanks to his appropriate applications of color to these panels.
Rounding out the book’s visual presentation is Napolitano’s letters. Napolitano delivers the tale smoothly with excellent letter placement throughout the book’s story.
When all is said and done, Catwoman Annual 2021 #1 delivers a satisfying origin story to one of the core series’ ongoing threats.
Catwoman Annual 2021 #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.
Catwoman Annual 2021 #1
Catwoman Annual 2021 #1 delivers a satisfying origin story to one of the core series’ ongoing threats.