This post, like Catwoman #1, is rated T+ for sexuality, violence, partial nudity, and sexual situations. Don't worry, I'm not involved in any of 'em. It's all Catwoman-related.
In the same week that we saw Starfire turn into a nigh-nude alien nympho in Red Hood and the Outlaws people cannot stop screaming about Catwoman #1. Although perhaps the fact that they're being read in the same sitting gets Catwoman caught up in the sexist squall that is RHatO.
Catwoman #1 was by far the most sexy comic of DC's new relaunch. There is a lot of partial nudity and sexual situations. It opens with Catwoman having to flee from her apartment only partially clothed and it ends with a Catwoman/Batman sex scene (well, more like a Catwoman/Batman seduction scene with a sex page). This has incensed the nerd community of the internet. And overall the arguments made are very compelling and astute.
Notably frequent in the criticism that we don't see the character's face until the third page. Before that it's all somewhat clad T & A (4 boob shots on the first page and a butt on the second). However, while this is very observant I think that Winick was just employing a superhero trope in a situation that set the tone for the story overall. Many comics open with seeing only parts of the hero before the full splash page reveal of the full hero and the action that's transpiring. How many Superman issues have opened with a panel of bullets bouncing off a shield, a panel of a hand crushing a gun, a panel of glowing red eyes and then the full page of Superman taking down a bankrobber singlehandedly. Only in this case it's Selina hurriedly putting on her outfit in a rush and grabbing her cats because bad dudes are bustin' down her door.
I mean, we all know that Batman and Catwoman hook up. That's no secret. Even the discriminating Darwyn Cooke in the 2000's series had a highly sexed relationship. And it's been going on for ages. Catwoman in the 90's was all globe-like breasts and bikini poses. Seriously, it's been 20 years since this moment of unbridled sexiness:
So, on to all the other sexy bits.
"This is not about women wanting things; it's about men wanting them to do things, and that takes something that should be really empowering - the idea that women can own their own sexuality - and transforms it into another male fantasy. It takes away the actual power of the women and turns their 'sexual liberation' and turns it into another way for dudes to get off"
-The ever-talented Laura Hudson of Comics Alliance
I have heard the argument made that this issue tried to empower Catwoman and failed. That by making her the aggressor in the situation it's just some fanboy wet dream. From a story point-of-view I don't think that Catwoman was looking to be empowered or even gratified. I feel like doing it with Batman was a destructive decision based on a need for relief/distraction from the insane night she just had. As everyone points out, she's half-clad in the beginning of the issue. We can only imagine that Selina was sitting around with her cats after a long night of stealing and then she gets attacked in her home. Most people after a case of home invasion/explosion break down immediately. Selina goes looking for some cash to get back on her feet again. That's a logical response, not an emotional one. She's repressing all of the stress and horror of what's just happened to her. Then, at the Russian sex party, she sees someone from her past who obviously did some terrible things to her when she was a prostitute (pre-Catwoman). This dredges up even more emotional baggage for her and she violently attacks this guy. There's a whole page of her cutting him up with her fingernails (no one mentions this scene despite the violence of it). Then she goes home and finds Batman. This is the first time since all this began that she finds someone to lean on. A bastion of strength in the storm she's just been caught up in. How does she respond? Well she dealt with it like one would expect a catburglar convict ex-prostitute in a full-body leather suit might.
I don't think this is out of character or out of the question considering the content of the first issue. Overall I thought it was a well done scene between the long-time foes/lovers/allies (the "it's complicated" relationship status was MADE for them).
Finally there's the issue of the gratuity of the final page. Was it necessary to see Catwoman and Batman in the act?
Sidebar: they are in the act, right? That's seems to be the moment that l'il Bruce slides into Selina's batcave? ... If you will. ... Penetration.
There is no doubt that this series is far more sexual than any Catwoman we've seen before. As I've said before, I enjoy it and don't feel like it's exploitive with the exception of the last page. In my opinion that final image takes a step over the line into the pornographic. Initially I'll admit I was titillated. I was tittering like a schoolgirl telling fellow fans about it. However the more I consider it and see the image the more I consider it going too far. Like the Batman of the past the story might have been better served to stop a page before or at least be more tasteful in the way it is depicted and the imagery used. It does look slightly slash-art. I don't think that a one-page loss of propriety is worthy of condemning a series over. Obviously there are readers with different sensibilities than my own (I am the target audience after all and we lot are a bit shameless).
But of course I can only ever speak for myself. I recommend you go pick up a copy of Catwoman #1 and if it's not for you then you can resell it for a few bucks (the DC #1's are worth their weight in gold right now). But if it is then you're in for a pretty crazy, provocative, gorgeous, and shall we say stimulating romp with the new Selina Kyle. And anyway, I doubt we're gonna see nookie every issue.