The new Black Label miniseries follows Selina Kyle as she returns to Gotham City after spending 10 years in prison.

Catwoman: Lonely City 1
Written and drawn by Cliff Chiang

I’ve said it a few times this past year, but it bears repeating: Gotham City is a much more interesting place without Batman or Bruce Wayne in it. The new Catwoman miniseries from Cliff Chiang proves it with the first issue, which introduces us to a new Gotham, one where Batman, the Joker and Commissioner Gordon all died in a tragic event dubbed “Fool’s Day,” which led to Selina Kyle being arrested and sent to prison for 10 years.

The story drops us in as Selina is getting an early release in prison for her involvement in the incident, which led to Harvey Dent taking over as mayor, outlawing masks and enacting a martial law in the city with specialized troops wearing bat masks. Selina is older – a run-in with one of Dent’s bat-cops puts her age at 55 – and not especially agile any more. And she’s still working through the grief of the night that ended her freedom.

Putting us 10 years after the death of Batman – and, as we find out later in the issue, Alfred and Dick Grayson – the best parts of Lonely City’s first issue is catching up with the colorful characters that always served as a supporting cast to the Dark Knight and the Clown Prince. After her release from Blackgate Prison, Selina needs to re-establish her ties to the City, and that means catching up with some old associates.

Mayor Dent – who is running for re-election against a determined (and possibly underfunded) Barbara Gordon – got Selina released from prison early as a means of shoring up support when she turns back to crime and he arrests her. So of course, Selina turns back to crime in order to get back on her feet. First, she turns to the Penguin – who is living lavishly away from Dent’s rule on an island off the shore of Gotham – who turns her down. She finally decides to team up with a broken down Killer Croc. I can only imagine how that team-up goes as the story continues.

I really enjoyed the world-building in this opening chapter; it never felt like it was being shoe-horned in to fit the narrative. The little reveals of what’s happened since “Fool’s Day” happen organically, giving us more little-by-little. Because it is the opening chapter, providing more questions than answers is a fun exercise in expectations as writer and artist Cliff Chiang hits us with the big mystery: What is Orpheus?

Selina’s entire mission now that she’s out of prison seems to revolve around the final words Batman spoke to her before he died – and before she was captured by the GCPD – asking her to bring Orpheus to him. The problem is, she has no idea what or who Orpheus is. But alongside Killer Croc, they’re going to figure it out!

Oh boy.

I’m not usually a big Catwoman fan – or, really, a big fan of any of Batman’s rogues gallery, but this has been a book I was excited about for a while due to the name attached to the book. I fell in love with Cliff Chiang’s art when he was drawing the New 52 Wonder Woman with Brian Azzarello and I was really interested in his interpretation of a future Gotham City. I definitely wasn’t disappointed. Catwoman: Lonely City is a beautiful book, and definitely worth checking out.