In this review of Batman/Catwoman: The Gotham War: Battle Lines #1, Batman reawakens to find that Gotham City has been transformed under Catwoman’s claws.
Title: Batman/Catwoman: The Gotham War: Battle Lines #1
Writer: Tini Howard & Chip Zdarsky
Artist: Mike Hawthorne
Colorist: Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Inks: Adriano di Benedetto
Cover Price: $3.99/$4.99
Release Date: August 29, 2023
Please Note: This comic book review may contain spoilers
The beginning of the two-month battle between Batman and Catwoman starts in Gotham City. A henchman walks home alone, visions of Professor Pyg mercilessly beating him interrupting his thoughts. At home, his daughter calls from the other room as he removes his jacket, letting him know that dinner is almost ready.
The man, sick of the abuse and mistreatment from Gotham’s rogues, tells her that he’s going to hit the sack. As he lies down, he hears a mew at the window. It’s a cat. The man compassionately lets the cat in, promising not to hurt it. Around its collar, he finds a note that says, “If you risk your life… you deserve the rewards.” The cryptic message is followed by an address in Alleytown.
Thus begins Batman/Catwoman: The Gotham War. Before the proverbial “battle lines” are even drawn, readers are reminded of Catwoman’s empathy for the forgotten people of Gotham, for the Jean Valjeans of henchmen who only pick up the work in order to keep a roof over the heads of innocent children.
In two pages, Mike Hawthorne, Adriano di Benedetto, and Romulo Fajardo Jr. show us a warm, albeit cliche, heart that beats at the center of this upcoming feud. Catwoman isn’t organizing an army for the heck of it; she’s doing it to enrich the little people that Batman, presumably, may have forgotten. This man, this symbol at the center of “The Gotham War” sports a black eye and memories of too many beatings, all so his daughter can stay warm.
Elsewhere, Batman (Bruce Wayne) gets some much-needed rest after the events of “Failsafe,” “The Bat-Man of Gotham,” and the most recent Knight Terrors crossover. As he dreams, his backup personality, the Batman of Zur-En-Arrh taunts Bruce.