Book Cover Under the Moon

Book Review – Under the Moon A Catwoman Tale

  • Title: Under the Moon A Catwoman Tale
  • Author: Lauren Myracle
  • Artists: Isaac Goodhart (Artist), Jeremy Lawson (Colorist), Deron Bennett (Letterer)
  • Line: DC Ink
  • Characters: Selina Kyle, Bruce Wayne
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 05/08/2019

**Spoiler Alert** Under the Moon: A Catwoman Tale is the second book in DC Comics new DC Ink young adult graphic novel series. This story was even better than Mera Tidebreaker (which was still excellent) though it also has some very sad parts to the story. Selina Kyle is the daughter of a single mother who she describes as “a cocktail waitress”. Selina is less than happy that her mother is constantly bringing home a string of terrible men, each worse than the last. Selina also attends a school where she has a few friends, though she’s close with the few friends she has.

One night Selina’s mother brings home Darnell and he stays. Darnell is abusive, lazy, stupid, and a complete lout. He hits Selina and her mother, and her mother does nothing to stop it. Selina begins to think of running away. Early one morning, Darnell orders Selina to take out the trash, telling her he doesn’t want any “freeloaders” in the house. Selina does so and just keeps walking. She finds a little kitten, washes it in a public bathroom, and brings it home and hides the kitten in her room. She feeds it and tells the kitten, Cinders (after Cinderella) all her secrets and problems. We know this isn’t going to go well.

The next day, Selina is in a great mood – she’s happy to have someone to love and someone who, for once, gives her unconditional love. But when she gets home from school, Darnell spots Cinders. He grabs the poor kitten and puts her on top of a tall doorframe. Selina begs, saying the cat is too small to get down safely and she will fall. Then Darnell grabs Selina and locks her in the closet. Hours later her mother finally lets her out. But Cinders falls, knocks over a vase, and falls on the shards. The poor, vulnerable kitten dies.

Selina is, obviously, very upset. She blames herself. And she finally leaves her abusive home. When she walks out she cuts three scratches on her arm, to remind her of Cinders, and also puts three scratches on Darnell’s pick-up truck. Selina is now living on the streets. She tries to continue to attend school, but it doesn’t work out well. Formerly, she would steal things she wanted and give them away. Now, she steals to survive. She finds a house with a shed since the owner of the house never uses the shed, she moves in.

One day, Selina sees another teenager scale a building. She talks to the young man and finds out what he’s doing is called Parkour. The teen, Ojo begins to train her in Parkour. Selina takes to it like a duck to water. Ojo says he lives with two other teenagers, and invites Selina to join them. Selina declines. Selina also introduces herself to Ojo as “Catgirl” – a name she’s taken to honor Cinders.

Winter comes to Gotham, and Selina continues to exist on the streets, with her shed and getting trained by her friend, Ojo. But one day she returns to the shed and finds a pile of blankets and a note, offering help. Selina is spooked and goes to the address Ojo gave her. She meets the other two street kids – Yang a computer hacker and Briar Rose, a 9-year-old girl who doesn’t talk and who screams if touched. Ojo, Yang, and Briar Rose have a nice headquarters in an abandoned warehouse.

Soon Selina finds out how the group exists – they are thieves and Yang is currently plotting to steal an antique and rare book from “some rich dude”. He’s found a buyer online and the book is worth $17,000 dollars. The four begin planning their heist.

Also, in Gotham, a serial killer called the Growler is active and killing people. No one knows who or what he is. Large paw prints are also found at the scenes of the crimes. During what is supposed to be a dry run for the heist but at a different building, Selina, Ojo, and Yang end up seeing up close a man killed by the Growler. They run.

During the actual heist, with Briar Rose, Selina discovers to her display that the mansion she is in belongs to Bruce Wayne. She can’t steal from Bruce and decides to put the book back. But then everything goes south – the Growler arrives, both Selina and Bruce fight it – though in the confusion neither recognizes the other, and Briar Rose disappears with the book.

Ojo, Yang, and Selina meet up at their HQ and realize Briar Rose is gone. By this point, Selina has become quite fond of the young girl and feels responsible for her. She is now determined to find Rosie, as she calls her. Selina had, prior to the theft, told Rosie about Bruce and programmed the cell phone Yang got them with his phone number. Rosie, in turn, enters it in Selina’s phone. They get a call from Bruce, not that anyone realizes at first who it is. Bruce offers info on Rosie.

Selina (Catgirl) goes to meet Bruce. Bruce tells her he found Rosie on his property with the book. He took her in, and let her stay in a guest room, with the book. Rosie had drawn pictures that Bruce used in his message to “Catgirl”. But she had also run away.

Selina thanks Bruce for the information and heads out, determined again to find Rosie. As she walks around, acquiring a group of cats following her, she finds flyers for some sort of religious children’s shelter. The young boy in the picture looks like Rosie’s young brother. (Yang had put together some information about Rosie, but since the young girl doesn’t talk no one knows for sure where she comes from.) Selina finds Rosie. Selina also is found by Bruce. While Bruce and Selina talk, Rosie runs off again. But Selina decides that, like herself, Rosie can make her own choices – and she hopes that Rosie finds her brother and everything is OK at the shelter.

Under the Moon a Catwoman Tale is an awesome book. I enjoyed it very much, even though much of the book is sad, and it deals with some very heavy issues – child abuse, cruelty to animals, homelessness. The book is sensitively written though and presents these issues very well.

The artwork in the book is fantastic, and has a blue-black was to it, representing the night. Flashback panels have a light purple wash. And after she loses Cinders, significant moments in Selina’s life are marked with a giant cat spirit above her – the cat is beautiful and adds a dimension to the story. Even though there is some sadness in this story, and Darnell’s treatment of Selina, her mother, and Cinders angers me, this is a good book, and something teenaged girls would probably enjoy. DC Ink is aimed at teens and young adults, and this is the second book in the series I’ve read, the other being Mera Tidebreaker. I highly recommend the series and this book.

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Red-headed Mera peeks out of the water in her crown, holding a trident

Book Review – Mera Tidebreaker

  • Title: Mera Tidebreaker
  • Author: Danielle Paige
  • Artists: Stephen Byrne, David Calderon (Colorist), Joshua Reed (Letterer)
  • Line: DC Ink
  • Characters: Mera, Arthur Curry, Thomas Curry, Atlanna
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 05/04/2019

**Spoiler Alert** Mera is an excellent graphic novel and I have already read it three times. Mera is a princess of Xebel and a bit of a rebel. Her country is being controlled by the country of Atlantis and like many Xebellians Mera wants her country to be independent and under its own rule. Her father, the king, has arranged her marriage to Larken, of the Trench, another undersea country. Mera and Larken were childhood friends, so Mera’s father, the Xebellian king, thinks its no problem to match Mera and Larken and join their countries together. Mera disagrees – she doesn’t love Larken and has no desire to marry him.

The story opens with a friend, Pilan, of Mera attending a protest against Atlantis and telling Mera about it over his wrist communicator. But rather than being in the palace getting ready for a diplomatic ball, Mera is secretly planning an act of protest herself – she draws a “no” symbol over the Atlantis symbol on the embassy. Pilan arrives to talk Mera out of her actions, and then Atlantian guards show up. In an attempt to escape, Mera uses bursts of highly concentrated water – which brings down part of the embassy wall. As she and Pilan leave they are found by Hikara, the head of the palace guard and a friend of Mera’s, she helps the two escape the guards.

Mera returns to the palace and gets ready for the ball. At the party, she is bored by the insipid comments of the other girls. Returning to her room, she remarks, “I am not my dress!”

That night she hears her father and Larken planning. Larken will go to the surface and kill Arthur the Atlantean prince. If he’s successful and brings Arthur’s head to the king, Larken will be allowed to rule Xebel. Mera is incensed. She decides to go to the surface and kill Arthur instead, proving herself worthy to rule. She meets with Hikara who gives her some advice, and who remarks she is turning herself in for the embassy attack. Mera isn’t happy to lose her friend, trainer, and advisor.

Mera finds Arthur on the shore and fakes drowning so he will “rescue” her. Arthur does and brings her to his home, a lighthouse. Once Mera is out of the water, she finds Hikara was right – she is weak and her water powers don’t work.

While she gains her strength, Mera gets to know Arthur. She discovers he is kind, giving, and basically a very good guy. He isn’t the monster she’d be raised to believe that all Atlanteans are. Mera is soon stuck with a very important decision – does she kill Arthur anyway, even though he seems to be a good person, and take his head to her father and claim her birthright? Or does she protect him instead? Arthur also doesn’t know anything about his Atlantean heritage.

Mera has some contact with Pilan via her wrist communicator until it’s lost in a scuffle. Larken shows up and again tries to talk Mera into ruling with him. She becomes more determined to have nothing to do with him.

Mera knocks herself and Arthur off a cliff into the ocean – but Arthur is able to breathe and speak underwater, like Mera, and he can also contact and control undersea creatures. This is a power Mera has never seen or heard of. Mera again realizes she can’t kill Arthur. As she decides to warn the Currys, Thomas Curry, Arthur’s father, admits that Atlanna is alive and ruling Atlantis. Mera tells the Currys her father is coming with his army and they must leave – escape. The Currys refuse, choosing to stand their ground.

At the shore, the Currys’ friends from Amnesty Bay also join them to defend their friends and neighbors. But the first army to arrive is Atlanna’s, because Thomas Curry called her using her trident. She and Thomas have a warm reunion, and she’s happy to see her grown son. Atlanna is less happy with Mera. But Mera admits she graffitied the embassy and it got a little out of control. She says it was an accident. Atlanna decides she will not start a war with Xebel or the Trench, that Arthur will stay on land for now, and Mera will pay recompense. Mera agrees, and when Arthur shows trepidation at this, Mera assures him it will be a slap on the wrist. Mera and Arthur promise to see each other again when they can.

Mera Tidebreaker is a great graphic novel. It really gets into Mera’s character, tells everything from her point of view, and makes her more than Arthur’s girlfriend or wife. The novel follows her path and sees her becoming independent of her father, her people, and her chosen husband to be. Also, the art is beautiful. The color scheme is a minty green, especially in the underwater scenes, which gives the book a different look. Mera herself has beautiful long bright red hair and is drawn at times in poses like a model. This is a beautiful young woman and a princess. Arthur and Thomas are both brunets in this book. Mera Tidebreaker is also the first book in DC Comics new DC Ink line, a new series of graphic novels aimed at teens and pre-teens. This book includes a sneak peek of the next title, Under the Moon – A Catwoman Tale. I really enjoyed Mera Tidebreaker and I highly recommend it, especially for younger readers.