You don’t gotta know Batman to love Under The Moon

You don’t gotta know Batman to love Under The Moon

★★★★★

(5 stars)

I received a free ARC for my review.

I wish this was longer and meatier, but boy, I loved it! This book has some strong triggers for abuse and animal cruelty, but handles the subject matter very well.

I always enjoy graphic novels, but this is one I found particularly compelling. I don’t know DIRT about comics, especially DC/catwoman, but this not at all a ‘superhero’ story.

This is the story of Selina, a girl in an abusive household who commits petty thefts and struggles to feel safe and happy. A particularly difficult incident pushes her over the edge, and she runs away from home. On the street, she gets caught up in a heist and a small group of friends that she finds it difficult to grow close to.

Essentially, there’s not a ton of ‘plot’ in this book- and it really doesn’t need it honestly. The art is fantastic (sleek, stylin’, and emotive), and the real focus is on Selina herself and her journey. She feels she’s a constant outsider, and that’s not helped by the fact she compulsively isolates herself- when she draws close to a young, homeless girl, her biggest conflict is that now she HAS to take responsibility and be there in someone’s life as a positive influence. Which is something she’s never experienced before.

There’s no superpowers in this book, though it’s set in Gotham city and Bruce Wayne is in it as a teenager. That’s sort of weird, but I don’t think Batman exists yet. Selina learns parkour but is otherwise just an angry, lost teen. I really enjoyed reading a story like this where costumed villains and heroes exist, but are very much in the background.

The story is also very effective in eliciting emotion and sympathy. I really grew attached to Selina as a character very quickly, and wanted her (and Rosie!) to be safe and find any happiness they could. I came very close to shedding a tear once or twice too.

If you like graphic novels (and/or have interest in DC/catwoman), this book is so worth a read. I do wish it was longer.

Side notes:
1) there’s a couple weird loose plot ends. I can’t tell if it’s setting up for a sequel or not- nothing about the book is like ‘part two coming soon!’, but there’s a few things that still feel very ‘book one’ about it.

2) this book has swears in it! Quite a few! I’m not surprised by mature content- re: abuse is shown quite a bit on page and there’s darker themes beyond- but I’ve never seen a superhero comic that has the f word in it. Batman says the f word! Huh.

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