BatWatch Review: Catwoman #23 - No Blood No Foul

No Blood No Foul

Catwoman, you suck so hard. I do find myself with an almost giddy sort of pleasure at the prospect of seeing what depths you reach next, both metaphorically and literally in this instance considering your adventures in the Underground, but man, you've been bad! I mean really, really bad.

There's nothing worth analyzing here, so let me catch you up quickly for those who are not up to date. Catwoman is in the Underground running and errand for Dr. Phosphorous and trying to rescue her "friend" Rat-Tail. Now, let's get to it. 

Is Catwoman #23 incredibly awful or stupendously awful? 

In this issue, Catwoman and Tinderbox meet the Warhogs.  

Seriously, Why Does Nocenti Still Have a Job?

Honestly, I'm kind of ticked at DC. Throughout Nocenti's (former writer for Daredevil and current writer for Catwoman and Katana) run I've either finished an issue and thought, "Well, that wasn't too bad," "That was hilariously bad," or "My head hurts," but this time, I'm genuinely ticked. It's not because of the story; this issue is no worse than the last, but how can DC allow Nocenti to write this when it's so clearly dog crap? The thing about it is that somebody somewhere in the organization is making a really bad call, and it's hard for me to believe anybody could believe in Nocenti's writing which means there is some political bull crap shafting fans of Selina Kyle. I realize I'm reading a lot into the situation and I could easily be wrong, but that's the only thing that makes sense to me, and I'm angry at DC for allowing this series to continue this way.

To talk about the substance of the issue, this one was not as far out as the last in respect to the amount of crazy stuff that was added into the mix. However, all the crazy stuff from last issue is still in place, so I don't know if I could actually claim it's better. 

Bat Droppings

1. As with the last issue, we have crazy staircases upside down above people's heads. It's stupid.  

2. I'm not an expert on geology, but I'm pretty sure that any place that had a lava flow would not be well suited for building a town. Remember, these tunnels are supposed to be from Old Gotham, so Old Gotham was built on top of lava pits? Also, we see stone columns going into the lava which are supporting a bridge. Still not an expert, but that wouldn't work, right? Isn't molten lava like one big flowing all consuming melter of everything? Wouldn't the molten rock just cause the rock to melt? 

3. Despite the utter silliness of it all, I do admit it's a little reminiscent of Journey of the Center of the Earth and strikes a "What If..." sort of feel.  

4. It's nice that Nocenti and Sandoval (current artist for Catwoman) managed to include some girl on girl spanking in the issue. That's crucial to any good story.  

5. I understand Selina is a cat lover, but when she throws herself into the path of probable death to save a cat she hates, she just looks dumb.  

 (Spoilers until Conclusion)

6. At one point, a body is approached by one of the Warhogs, and then the Warhog walks away and we see a little hair like something coming off the back of his head. I assumed this was just random weirdness at first, but then I thought maybe it was a tendril of the demon Escalate flowing from one body to the next. Did we see Escalate fall down the hole during the war between Rat-Tails and Penguin?

7. Seriously, the Warhogs said absolutely nothing about attacking Gotham so Selina freaking out is moronic. The formula that might be risky could also cause eternal life. It's...well, it's just stupid all around.  

8. We see Joker's Daughter on the last page to no surprise if you've been reading solicits. She's holding a gold cane that looks a wee bit like Riddler's, but who knows? The top looks more like a crescent moon than a question mark.

Conclusion 3/10

This issue was actually a tiny bit better than the last, but the last issue was so stupid it was funny. This issue doesn't have even that consolation prize.

More Reviews:

Batman/Superman #3 - Split Screen 

Batman, Incorporated Special #1 

The Dark Knight #23 - Rampant 

Teen Titans #23 - Hello, I Must Be Going

Catwoman #23 - No Blood No Foul 

Talon #11 - True Strength

 

BatWatch Review: Catwoman #22

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Down Under

Catwoman under Nocenti's (former writer for Daredevil and current writer for Catwoman and Katana) writing sucks, and this will end the background info and building of expectations introductory paragraph.  

Will Catwoman #22 suck slightly more or slightly less than usual? 

In this issue, Catwoman goes to the Underground of Gotham City to find her lost friend, Rat-Tail.

Yep, It Sucks

Specifically, this is a, "How does this even begin to make sense?" kind of suck rather than a, "This is so sloppy and incompetent," issue which is actually good news because it is more fun to make fun of Catwoman when it appears it was written while Nocenti was high.

Bat Droppings

1. This gang leader is being worshiped like he was the freakin' President who just died! Who the crap cares? He's a thug training younger, impressionable kids to be thugs, right? Did I miss the part where the Rat-Tails are significantly better than every other scumbag gang?

2. Artistically speaking, shouldn't the image that the graffiti artist sprayed on the side of a building look worse than the regular art of this comic. It's just kind of reality breaking to see a kid with a spray can make an image on par with the comic art because in universe that would mean that this is a photo realistic piece of art with spray cans on a brick wall.

3. Selina is making a big deal out of screwing up and getting Rat-Tail killed, but we already did same story in the opening arc of Catwoman. Boooring.  

4. "Ha. I can hear my own thoughts." Yeah, we all can Selina. This is another indication of stoned writing. "Dude. What if you could, like, hear your own thoughts?" 

5. Why does the blue son of Electro...oh wait, Electro is blue now...okay, why does Electro have spikes coming out of him? Did he fall on a spike as well as an electrical cord and gain magical spike powers?

6. I'll grant that Selina's map is pretty cool. That might be a good permanent addition to Selina's tray of gadgets.  

7. So Catwoman's first mission is to steal a diamond made from the remains of someone's loved ones. Granted, the diamond thing is creepy, but at the same time, she is basically stealing a cadaver, grave robbing, and taking away a last memento from a grieving family. The Justice League of America sure has lowered it's standards. It's ethical makeup is almost as bad as the Avengers.

8. So...why is there some doomsday prepper guarding the diamonds? Leaving all the in universe aspects of this question alone, this just seems like Nocenti felt like making fun of an eccentric group of people in a very generic way.

9. Why is Mr. Prepper carrying the bag of diamonds with him? I get the idea that a security guard makes sense, but a safe and a security guard makes infinitely more sense.  

10. I like the cat even though the idea that it could keep up with Selina is highly suspect, but I'm just a sucker for cats. Alice Tesla is also a quirky character who might be turned into something cool under good writing.  

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11. When Selina goes down the stairs to the Underground, the stairs, if taken literally, make no sense. They look like something out of an M.C. Escher drawing. Perhaps this is simply meant to be symbolic of how odd this place is. Sandoval's (current artist for Catwoman)  art is always a bit twisty anyway.  

(Spoilers until Conclusion) 

12. Someone burns a hole through a wall and grabs Selina, but the only two people who seem to have fire powers were unaware of Catwoman's capture, so who did that? The arms are grey like the arms of the general citizens of...Whereversville, but they did not seem to be shooting fire from their fingertips. 

13. Oh yeah! It was Gwen who killed Catwoman's boyfriend. I forgot about that. Shows you how little I think of and about this series.  

14. What is the relationship between Gwen  and Mr. Tall, Dark and Domestically Violent? He appears to be all supportive of Gwen for the most part except for one panel where he looks furious and yells that he wants to beat her head to a pulp. That's...disturbing. Am I wrong? Is that not disturbing? It's disturbing, right?

15.  The whole existence of Dr. Phosphorous and Tinderbox along with the entire Underground society is very odd and way from left field, but I guess that, in and of itself, is not necessarily a bad thing.

16. Good job, Selina. When you are outnumbered, outclassed and about to be executed, always attack the leader right after he decides to spare your life. This series is so ridiculously bad.  

17. If one drop of Dr. Phosphorous will burn right through Selina, why is she able to withstand his skin on her arms as he pins her down?

18. If none of the people in the Underground like the rules above ground, why did the move to the Underground where they apparently bow down before their king Dr. Phosphorous? 

19. There are goats wearing gas masks! Freakin' goats wearing gas masks! That is awesome and incredibly dumb.  

20. Just to show that nothing makes sense in this series makes sense, the animals all wear masks but the people do not nor does Selina's poor cat.

21. Just to make sure I understand things correctly, Selina is going to the lava...as in the molten outer core of the Earth? I assume I don't need to point out the many, many, many problems with that.  

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22. Gas masks on horses too! I like to think that that the horse Selina is riding on is the same one Batman punched in Batman #17, and the horse had to have a special mask built just to survive like Bane or Darth Vader. "We can rebuild him. We have the technology."

Conclusion 3/10

Well, this is complete crap, but it was a lot of fun to mock. As long as Nocenti is going to keep writing the series, I would prefer she write issues like this so I can mock the issues with little mercy. (I did show a little mercy this time believe it or not)

Recent Reviews:

Batman/Superman #2 

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Teen Titans #22  

Red Hood and the Outlaws #22 

Catwoman #22 

Talon #10

Batwoman #22

Birds of Prey #22

BatWatch Review: Catwoman #21

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Gang War

Oh, Catwoman. You are like a weak willed woman in an abusive relationship too afraid to cut ties with the menace and stand on your own even though you know you should, but rather than casting aside Ann Nocenti (former writer for Daredevil and current writer for Catwoman and Katana) like yesterday's soiled newspaper, you continue to cling to her despite her terrible history with you. If it were not so depressing to see you suffer, it would be funny, but I'm afraid my sense of humor on the matter has dried up.

As per usual, Catwoman sucked last month. Unlike usual, she sucked in two issues rather than one because of her annual. However, neither issue made a positive impression on me. Selina inserted herself into a needless conflict and almost got killed as a result. At the end of the annual, Selina realizes that Penguin has been selling some neighborhood kids poison ice cream, and Selina decides to fight with the Rat-Tails gang against Cobblepot.

Is there any way this horrible story can be slightly improved in the last act or does Nocenti score three for three on the crap-o-meter?

In this issue, Catwoman fights in a gang war.

Bat Droppings

I'm not going to dignify this with a logically arranged analysis because, as usual, the story itself is not all that logically arranged. I'm just going to note things that stand out page to page until I'm tired of writing.

1. I love the cover. In fact, this cover is probably the best thing about the issue. It reminds me of, well, a dominatrix, but in addition to that, it reminds me of a cat playing with her prey. This is a rather clever application of the cat theme. The cover was done by Rachel (former inker of Harley Quinn and Uncanny X-Men and current cover artist for Catwoman, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and New Avengers) and Terry Dodson. (former penciler of Harley Quinn and Generation X and current cover artist for Catwoman, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe and New Avengers and X-Men)

2. The issue starts off with Nocenti's classic dose of realism and subtlety with Penguin's forces flying multiple helicopter's over Catwoman's neighborhood. Obviously, the helicopters have umbrellas in place of rotors. I assume it goes without saying that this design would never fly. Also, at what point does the GCPD or National Guard break things up? Bah!

3. There is some moron running through the battlefield trying to get milk. There is an attempt towards the end of the issue to justify her stupidity, but let me help you out here, hun. First up, only twenty died in the gang war at it's halfway point, so clearly, this battle is not non-stop. Just wait until a cessation in the fighting before scouting for milk. Second, you are not fenced in to this part of the city. Go. Somewhere. Else!

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4. This issue referred to tweeting. I've noticed recently that DC has made reference to a lot more real life items in their comics whereas previously they would often make up alternatives to real products. Instead of Twitter it would be Flatter or something, but this is about the seventh time I've noticed a reference to a real life service or product in the last couple month's of DC comics. I wonder if some sort of editorial policy has changed recently. Alternatively, I might just be crazy.

5. There are tons of problems in the nitty gritty of this story, but it has one big conceptual problem too in that the Rat Tails do not appear to be good people in any way, shape, form or fashion. I believe it was established earlier that they do not sell drugs to kids, yet they have kids working for them and send them into battle to defend Rat-Tail's turf for illegal activity. Is that really better?

6. Are we seriously supposed to believe that the Rat-Tails can build catapults on the roof's of Gotham buildings without A. Penguin's forces shooting the Rat-Tails as they set them up, B. Penguin's air support destroying them before they can be fired, or C. the police taking them?

7. Of course the guy who gets electrocuted gets electric powers. Of. Course.

8. Nocenti actually does a really good job analyzing exactly what would be needed to safely traverse a zip line across two building. I love stuff like this, and it used to give me hope for Nocenti's work when she would include things like this, yet she makes a half dozen mistakes for every cool scene that she imagines and seems to consider carefully. Also, the artist renders this zip line as being nearly horizontal even though the angle is supposed to be extremely steep.

9. Helicopters are not the most stable vehicles by any stretch of the imagination, but I'm pretty sure pulling one down is not remotely feasible.

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10. Sandoval (current artist for Catwoman) makes sure to include plenty of eye candy in the book for us by putting two of Penguin's female soldiers in their underwear for a page, and of course Catwoman's costume is so tight as to be practically no covering at all. Also, the shading is intentionally sculpted to bring attention to all Catwoman's most intimate places.

Conclusion 4/10

This might be a smidge better than the annual, but it's really just more of the same. I've picked apart the first half of the issue, and it has a back half just as full of mistakes. It's a sad day for Catwoman fans.

More Recent Reviews:

Batman/Superman #1

The Dark Knight #21

Catwoman #21

Teen Titans #21

Talon #9

BatWatch Review: Catwoman Annual #1

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Black Ice

Ah, Selina. You have seen better days my friend. I think I prefer the fat dried up old whore version of you in The Dark Knight Returns over your current incarnation. Then again, maybe I'm being too harsh. It's not this current version of you that I hate so much as it is the writing of your adventures. Things happen with little or no sense, the art has been sub par, and you just don't seem like yourself. I've beaten myself into a creative coma trying to bust through a giant wall of writer's block and find a way to express just what is wrong about the current series, but though I can point out specific flaws all day long, I can't seem to put my finger on one central crack in your structure. Your stories under Ann Nocenti (former writer for Daredevil and current writer for Catwoman and Katana) have been just plain bad, and I wish I could do something to save you.

Ah well, enough moaning about your current dilemma.

As for this annual, Penguin is targeting Catwoman because she stole some jewels from his dead mother. A gang called the Rat Tails is apparently our group of good characters who will be engaged in a gang war with Penguin. The demon Escalate showed up in the last issue of Catwoman. No telling if he will be present in this one. I guess that's about it. Time to suffer yet another indignity and read this piece of poo.

Does Catwoman Annual #1 rub the fur the wrong way or is this issue more fun than a barrel of catnip?

In this issue, the police get involved in a case of murder in the badlands and Selina has something to do with it.

This Sucks!

I'm so sick of this series, and at this point, I no longer know how to talk about it. There's nothing substantive to analyze. On the other hand, I could spend ages nitpicking all the faults. Almost every scene has at least one thing incredibly stupid in it, but I do not feel like spending several hours writing about the faults of this series, so I guess I'll just talk about the stupidest moments and some of the few things I liked about the issue.

Bat Droppings

1. It's nice to see Catwoman portrayed by somebody other than the regular series artist. Christian Duce (former penciler of Arkham Unhinged and Wildstorm's Ides of Blood and current artist on Catwoman) does a respectable job. His drawings of Catwoman are occasionally quite beckoning visually recalling better days of our feline fatale.

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2. Nothing about the intro really makes sense. Using a remote rocket to kill a single low level gang member is about as illogical as it gets, and if you are going to use a rocket, why send ground troops to grab the guy? Also, a rocket would blow that guy apart not send him flying up to the nearest power lines. This whole scene was a giant two page setup for the dumb joke, “Waiting for the other shoe to drop?” that the leader of the Rat Tails makes to Selina after the thug's first shoe drops to the ground. This is just a few of the problems with this one scene and this kind of lazy writing is on every page.

3. Alvarez and Keys are the Detective equivalents of the Keystone Cops with their bumbling and one dimensional personas.

4. Harvey Bullock is the only person in this issue that actually sounds like a person. Every time he is on panel, I suddenly find myself interested in the issue. Speaking of Bullock, he comes into play because the first half of this issue is essentially a crime procedural focused on the detective, and this serves no real purpose since nothing worthwhile was ever discovered by the detectives.

5. Hypnotic actually succeeded at looking creepy.

6. Are you trying to tell me that the Penguin Ice Cream truck of doom which apparently has fully automatic guns firing out from thirty different positions inside the vehicle took the time to sell a woman walking her dog some ice cream? Why does Nocenti have a job?

7. When and how did Selina get hold of a drone to examine it?

8. If Catwoman knew the device was set to target her silhouette, why didn't she just wear a costume without cat ears?

9. Just what was Cobblepot trying to accomplish by capturing Catwoman?

10. Why does Catwoman seem equally bothered with the killing of birds and the killing of humans?

Conclusion 3/10

This is bad writing pure and simple. Sadly, it's not the worst Catwoman has suffered in recent months, but it's still not worthy of a single dime. If you have been buying this series out of some sense of loyalty to Selina but have been considering letting it go, this is a great breaking point for you. There is not a single reason to be supporting Nocenti's Catwoman at this point.

More Recent Reviews:

The Dark Knight Annual #1

Red Hood and the Outlaws Annual #1

Catwoman Annual #1

BatWatch Review: Catwoman #20

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Escalate

Ah, Catwoman. The winds of fate have been cruel to you, my friend. First, a passing reboot wiped out decades of character growth and made you a semi-dimwitted, petty thief once more. Winick (former writer of Batman, Batwing and Green Arrow and current writer and penciler of Hilo) grabbed your constant flirtatious relationship with Batman and took it to the Nth degree in the most crude way possible, but even the oversexualization of your early DCNU issues were nothing compared to your plight under the control of Ann Nocenti. (former writer for Daredevil and current writer for Catwoman and Katana) I truly feel sorry for you and all your fans who try to make do with the drivel that passes as writing. You deserve better, Selina. You really do.

In the wake of getting thrown in Arkham, discovering a big, giant...something under the insane asylum, and escaping, Catwoman is apparently going to steal something from Oswald Cobblepot because...I don't know. I don't know why anything happens in this title anymore.

Is Catwoman #20 surprisingly good or does it manage to disappoint my already low expectations?

In this issue, Catwoman steals from Cobblepot and notices she has a stalker.

Well, It Could Be Worse

This issue actually had some good concepts, but even the good parts are underdeveloped or developed in the wrong way.

A gang war is brewing and it appears Catwoman will become involved. This could be cool. Selina has long been a defender of the underdog and it appears as if she will end up siding against Cobblepot's forces. The problem is, very little exists to distinguish good and bad between the soon to be warring gangs. The Rat Tales might be the lesser of two evils, but that is hardly enough for me to feel motivated to root for them. Also, the Rat Tales characters are thus far one dimensional, so it is hard to imagine they will end up being any more than cannon fodder.

The other element which had a lot of potential and still might be pretty cool in more talented hands is the villain Escalate. Selina encountered the demon escalate in the Black Room as you probably will not recall because it was honestly rather forgettable. Basically, he was just generically demon like at the time, but here, he has bonded with a human, and he seems a bit more focused perhaps because of his half human mind. Escalate can escalate the emotions of any person, and it turns out this power has some pretty cool uses. He can even escalate nature though what exactly that means is rather unclear.

Sadly, the character still comes off as a mostly mindless goof. Seeing a character torn by two natures can be cool, but we've seen it quite a lot, and this adds nothing to the formula. Also, the human host becomes more and more demonic as he taps into his powers, and Escalate's demon form looks pretty stupid.

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Finally, there is a bizarre attempt to link the human host for Escalate to a previous issue of Catwoman. Selina said she recognized the host from the Black Room, yet I went back and skimmed both issues, and I didn't see the guy unless he was one of the security guards for ARGUS in which case the question is, “Why did he then become a henchman for Penguin?” Unless I'm missing something obvious, the creative team just through this in hoping to create the impression of planning that did not actually exist.

The Usual Failings

All the problems that the series has struggled with are still present though not quite as pronounced as last issue.

The art is still sloppy with crazy vines growing every which away without apparent explanation or justification, people standing in crazy stances, and panels framed too close to the subject. When action heats up, it's very difficult to determine what's happening.

Selina continues to talk in words that make no sense or sound very unnatural. However, I will give Nocenti props on the monologue Selina gave on picking a complicated lock. It sounded like something a locksmith would actually say, and I googled some of the terms referenced, and they checked out. Fun fact: a gonzo hook was actually named after the nose of Gonzo the muppet.

Finally, Catwoman shows no real character development from her first arc. She is still endangering the life of her fence by taking foolish, unplanned, impulsive, reckless decisions.

Bat Droppings

1. Why does Penguin's long dead mother still have skin? Also, gross.

2. I'll give credit to Nocenti for knowing that holding a pistol “gangster” style does throw off your aim for several reasons. First, it makes it difficult to site the gun. Second, the recoil of a weapon causes it to bounce “up,” but if the top of the gun is pointed at the side, it will cause the gun to blow to the side. Normally, gravity brings the gun back down naturally helping the aim to get back on target, but that doesn't help when the gun is being blown sideways.

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3. I have to take some more points off of my respect for the penciler, Rafa Sandoval (current artist for Catwoman) because the guy who instructs the others not to hold the gun gangster is in fact holding the gun gangster, and none of his students correct their posture. In fact, that looks like it was drawn by someone who never learned proper shooting habits. If they held a high caliber pistol as shown, they'd probably get hit in the face. Stupid kids! On the other hand, I don't really want gang bangers to know how to shoot, so keep it up kiddos! Good form! Make sure to look down the barrel to check if the gun is loaded.

4. (Spoilers) Catwoman supposedly slices Escalate's neck, but this is not shown. It took me a long time to figure out what happened. Again, what was the artist thinking?

Conclusion 4/10

It's better than last month's and that's something, but I still would not recommend this to anybody. If you love Selina, encourage DC to find a decent writer by saving your money.

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Catwoman #20

Review: Catwoman #19

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Slam

Oh, Selina. How the mighty have fallen. You were once the ultimate adventurer. You were once a proud antihero. You are now a flighty, senseless creature who is difficult to enjoy on any level, but I'm trying to enjoy you. I really am. I just wish your writer would get off the drugs and pay you some respect. I've already seen enough from the preview to know this issue will probably be another stinker, but I'm willing for you to impress me. Please surprise me, Selina. I know there is a great character in there somewhere.

Is this the kind of cat you want to curl up in your lap and warm your heart, or is this just a mad feline who pees on the carpet and shreds the couch?

In this issue, the JLA take Catwoman to Arkham because either Nocenti or some editor thought it sounded like a way cool idea, man.

Duuuuuude...

Dude, this issue is like so amazing. Like, the things that happen are just soooooo cool, and the colors are kinda colorful. They're not like super colors, but more like mega colors, but it's subtle...like the rain.

Catwoman totally goes to Arkham, and it's a major trip man, but it's not like what is seems. It's one of those conspiracies because the governmental Man is like telling her she has to. She just wants to know her name, right? She just wants to know who she is because she's totally like got this person who is her who is somewhere else, so she's working with the Man, man, and it's like a major bummer because these fascists superhero pigs throw her in jail, man. Major bummer.

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But Catwoman's cool because she's like totally in control. She knows things and stuff, but she's just like watching while she's in the prison, man. It's like her eyes are open. Not just open, but reeeeally open, and she sees all this stuff that just blends in with the fascist states of oppression, man. It doesn't make sense.

Then, she totally escapes with this cool bro, but the bro turns evil, and she has to hit him, and I said, give peace a chance, Selina. Just smoke some plants, man, and it'll be cool. You'll just chill, and it'll be cool.

Then the cat lady totally teaches this fascist tool. Make love not war by showing him man. By showing him. You walk a mile in my shoes, she said. She said that, but now with words.

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Then Selina like shoves out these birds eyes man. I'm not kidding she shoves them out, and the stones move and its like the freakin' chamber of God looking down on her, with the statues of kingdom come, man. It's totally rad, man. Then she leaves, and it's all good again.

Okay, No More of That

Look, Ann Nocenti is on drugs, and it's painfully clear that whatever writing talent she may have once had has now been completely lost to her doped up brain. I could easily spend three hours talking about the problems with this issue, but if you've ever read her work, you know what to expect. Sometimes, her stories end up feeling fun if a bit disjointed and immature, but this is not one of those. From page 1, it's as if Nocenti just wrote whatever came to mind in a first draft and sent it to print.

The only thing worthwhile in this whole issue was the two page exchange between Catwoman and Dr. Arkham, and that was not poetry, but at least it was substantive as Dr. Arkham made some legitimate points in trying to analyze Selina's mental condition. Dr. Arkham has the potential to be an interesting character, and I love to see him being manipulative while pretending (or perhaps sincerely trying) to care.

Conclusion 2/10

This is awful. DC should be ashamed to publish this book not only because of its poor quality but also because by giving this woman money, they are clearly enabling a serious drug issue.

Disclaimer

I don't actually know if Nocenti takes drugs. It is a fact that she edited a news magazine that promotes a wide array of different drugs, and I strongly suspect she is gets high frequently just based on her spaced out writing, but I do not know, so I should make that distinction. I usually try to keep things professional with my reviews, but I was exhausted when I wrote this last night, and I'm completely sick and angry about what Nocenti is doing to this character and what DC is allowing. I've been pushed over the edge from exasperation and into anger on this one, but I was unnecessarily rude, and I'm sorry for that.

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Review: Catwoman #18

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He Said, She Said

Catwoman is a book that, to put it nicely, is struggling to find a mature voice for itself. I've detailed its ups and downs (mostly downs) in past reviews, so I'm not going to belabor on the point. Last issue was actually an up...at least from the standard nonsense we've been batting from the series. The last issue was not amazing, but it held up as a respectable and somewhat entertaining adventure story. This issue has yet another mandated crossover intersecting with whatever Nocenti might have planned for the series were she ever given the chance to come up with some original plot lines without the latest event being layered on top of what little there is of an ongoing story. It seems as if the ties between Selina and Damian are close to non-existent, so it is hard to see how the Requiem plotline can really play a significant role here, but maybe this issue will surprise me. Does this issue deliver a fun adventure which manages to mourn the loss for one of DC's greatest new characters of the last decade, or is this just another story rife with nonsense and non-sequiturs?

In this issue, Catwoman and Batman tangle over Selina's most recent theft.

Requiem for Catwoman

Let's go ahead and get this out of the way. Is this issue worth buying if you want to see some mourning over Damian's death? No. Bruce has an attitude, gets rougher with Selina than usual, loses his temper and vents some rage, and that's about it from a “mourning” standpoint. This might be somewhat intriguing, but you can see all of this presented much better in the latest issue of Batman, so why bother seeing a repeat of it here? Unless more of the same eems appealing to you, I would suggest you save your money if you were just interested in the tie in.

Bat Droppings

I'm going to try to make this brief since I am, once more, running behind in reviews. Keep in mind that I am now reviewing this series in a very special way. I'm viewing this from the lens of a campy, light-hearted adventure story which pretends to be nothing more, and I will base my rating on how well it fits that criteria. If you are expecting this to be a more serious comic which is fascinating, detailed, clever, and intellectual, then I can tell you to pass on all of Nocenti's run because she has already proven that is not what she is doing with this series.

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1. There are three errors of the first page. It appears some editor is not doing his job. First, the wall behind the paintings is faded, but in reality, it should be the only part of the wall that is not faded since it was not getting hit by light. The colorist reversed it. Second, Batman's dialogue in the second panel has an error in it for the second sentence should start with a capitalized letter but does not. Third, in the third panel the line should read, “They belonged to us,” but it reads, “They belonged us.” I'm not trying to nitpick these pages. They are obvious mistakes.

2. I actually rather enjoyed Batman being rough with Selina. She's just a thief. She deserves no special treatment.

3. On the top of page 3, Selina lands on her neck and dies. Roll credits.

4. Many people have criticized Selina's dialogue since Nocenti took over, and there is a lot to criticize in that she frequently talks like...well, like nobody. Nobody talks like Nocenti presents Selina as talking. However, all those apparent attempts to sound cool by saying things nobody says are absent in this issue. I'm not saying the dialogue is strong in this issue, but at least it is made up with phrases that people actually use.

5. I do not much care for Batman's whole attitude of, “I am going to make you do the right thing because these paintings belonged to the people of Gotham! I don't give a crap if you steal from individuals, but museums are sacred!” I understand that Bruce is actually trying to make up for other things lost in his life right now, but still, these are the words Bruce uses, and Catwoman buys into it as well, and it just smacks of collectivist nonsense. The U.S was founded on the idea of individual rights meaning that you have just as much right as an individual as a hundred people do as a collective. No group or individual should be able to take away your property just because it benefits them, but I've digressed. Anyway, it's stupid Progressive thinking, and it should be kicked to the curb even in poorly written comics.

6. Why are there ink splatters all over the page? Every page looks like the inker took his brush and just kind of flicked the bristles at the screen one at a time. I guess this could be a cool effect to use sparingly, but it is in nearly every panel, and what does it add or convey? I do not know which part of the art team is responsible for it, but what is the idea?

7. Oh, I almost forgot to address plot holes. Why does Batman think Selina stole these paintings to get his attention, and why does Selina know these paintings will get his attention? Out of all the crime in Gotham, they both mention these paintings as something very special, but why the crap would Catwoman know about his love for them?

8. On the positive side, Selina assumes that Bruce is upset over Joker, and that actually makes sense. She does not know about Damian, but she knows about Joker, so she makes a logical, if incorrect, assumption. Way to stay in universe, Nocenti!

9. Bruce says, “Put them back, please,” while thinking about the different members of the Bat Family and picturing them all falling. Maybe I'm being dense, but I do not see how this makes any sense in a symbolic sort of way. Damian is the only one missing right now.

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10. Despite my annoyance with ink splatters, this issue actually has some pretty good art in it. I actually think this issue would be at least as good if not better if the whole interaction between Selina and Bruce had no words.

11. Apparently, Catwoman's desire to accessorize does not include lingeries since I'm nearly positive I've seen this particular set of undies previously.

12. For the second time in two issues, we actually see Selina scouting a mission rather than running in blindly. Cool. I hope this continues because the planning is an essential part of any good caper story as far as I am concerned.

13. There are a couple of weird looking animal images in the latter half of the issue one of which has to be a shout out to the Penguins of Madagascar.

Spoilers until Conclusion

14. There would be cameras watching the evidence room.

15. Selina is a complete fool for robbing her client. Nobody would work with her again...ever. Also, it ties in to that whole, “It's okay to rob from a person but not from people” mentality which makes no sense.

Conclusion 6/10

Like I said before, you have got to know what your getting into with this series. If you want something intelligent, go somewhere else because you are simply not going to get it here, but as fun adventure stories go, this is kind of okay. Big fans of Selina and Bruce might want to consider buying it because it has some good moments between the two, and I do enjoy the more methodical nature of Selina's last couple capers, but it still is a book rife with problems, so I can only really recommend it to those who have already been enjoying the series. Everybody else, be very wary.

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Batwoman #18

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More Recent Reviews:

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Batwoman #18

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Review: Catwoman #17

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Rat Tales

Catwoman is upon us once again. To say I've grown tired of this series is at this point an understatement. There are a handful of books now that are most definitely being bought by me begrudgingly. I certainly hope I am warning people off this book because it would pain me to know that I was aiding this series. Still, hope blooms eternal, and this is Nocenti's first story separate from any official crossovers (though it is worth mentioning that Catwoman's future plots appear to be tying in closely to Justice League of America), so maybe this issue will be better. By the way, let me get a prediction on the record even though it is kind of tangent to this issue. Many are guessing based on the solicitations for Justice League of America and Catwoman that Catwoman will end up betraying the JLA. I think this is a red herring, and the true traitor will be somebody else and Catwoman will be framed. You have to always watch the other hand on these things, but enough tangents. Let's dive in to this issue and see what we have. Does Nocenti turn Catwoman around and deliver the purrfect Catwoman story, or is this tale about as pleasant as a midnight hairball?

In this issue, Selina and Gwen plot a museum heist as Detective Alvarez closes in on their tail.

Surprisingly Tolerable

It's a long way from “purrfect,” but this issue is actually not too bad. I've learned to expect little of Nocenti's Catwoman, and the first several pages bore out this expectation, but after moving past those, I found there was actually some interesting aspects to this story.

The first thing that perked up my ears in this issue was the way we actually got to see Selina plan one of her jobs. Throughout this series, we see Catwoman in action doing her thing, but we almost never see the planning that goes in to her crime, and really, it is surprising that this elements of the series has been omitted. In a lot of adventure crime fiction, the unveiling of the scheme is half the fun. (think Ocean's 11 or The Italian Job) It builds tension to know what should happen, and then that excitement is usually heightened when something goes wrong. Perhaps this has been missing in the Catwoman story so far since all her jobs have been either extremely straight forward or impulsive. Regardless of why it has been missing thus far, I hope the planning element of the story makes more frequent appearances for it gave me a chance to see Selina and Gwen's intellects in action, and it also gave some time for the two to interact. Catwoman needs some actual supporting characters, and it was nice to see a little (just a tad) fleshing out of Gwen.

Mystery Villain

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Nocenti seems to be playing with a mystery villain, and I am on the verge of being intrigued by it. The thing is, it appears that the one skirting around the edges of Catwoman's adventure is Emperor Penguin as featured in Detective Comics, yet this issue merely implies it without ever coming out and saying it. (Spoiler) The final scene was confusing. We already know that one of the thugs said the bad guy was “some skinny dude...in a tuxedo,” and at the end of the issue, someone matching the description is shown holding a bird cane, yet we do not see the face. Why hold on the reveal? It doesn't track with me.

At the same time, we know that somebody is using a rat motif. It doesn't seem to be Emperor Penguin, but the drugs were stamped with a rat logo, and the kids dealing it made several references to rats during their part of the story. Furthermore, I think Nocenti was trying to give a rat vibe to the whole issue. I might be reading too much into it, but it sure seemed as if Nocenti went out of her way to make everybody in Gotham look like a money grubbing, dirty, petty low-life. I found the vibe to be kind of depressing, but if Nocenti is doing it for thematic reasons and does not plan to do this every issue, then I can be okay with it.

I Am Woman! Hear Me Roar!

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Under Nocenti's pen, Catwoman has become a bit of a chatterbox, and I can't say I much care for it. I would say she was more talky than in her pre-Flashpoint run while the last writer, Judd Winick, handled her, but Nocenti has cranked it up another notch. It seems Selina has to prattle on constantly in battle, and though she does occasionally say something amusing, her comments miss a lot more than they hit. It's clear that Nocenti is trying to make the dialogue feel fresh, new and clever, but...her success is mixed at best. Catwoman: “I know its hip to keep your shoelaces untied, but they trip you us when you run, and you are runners.” Honestly, the constant prattling and weak attempts at humor that come out of Selina's mouth reminds me a lot of Barbara Gordon's constant dry snark in her inner monologues in the respect that on both accounts, the attempt to sound clever and intelligent fails.

It's not just Catwoman who has some questionable dialogue. Detective Alvarez and his new partner talk back and forth to each other like they are tying to out cool-cop one another.

Bat Droppings

1. There were a lot of subplots in this issue, but they did not come together. This is not necessarily a problem at this point, but I hope the dots will start to connect next issue.

2. I have mixed feelings about Rafa Sandoval's artwork in the past, but I thought it was okay in this issue. I did really like Catwoman's outfit and stance on the opening page.

3. Once more, Catwoman's whip seems to be infinitely long.

Screenshot from 2013-02-21 23:22:03.png

Conclusion 6/10

I did not expect much from this issue, and at the end of the day, I did not get a whole lot, but I did get some enjoyment from this issue. Nocenti seems to be gearing towards making Catwoman a light hearted adventure crime story, and I can respect that vision for the character, but the vision still needs some fine tuning. Nonetheless, it looks like Nocenti is honing her craft, so maybe this series could turn in to something good with a little luck. For the moment, I would only suggest buying this issue if you are a big fan of Catwoman or Nocenti. However, this is just the first part of a longer story, so you might want to wait until more issues his the shelves so we can get a better idea of this arc.

Review: Catwoman #16

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Battle in Black

For my own sanity, I've had to downgrade Catwoman into a whole different category of comic book. It is no longer something I compare to modern Batman, Nightwing or other serious comics but rather something I compare to Silver Age stories where crazy things often happened without explanation, and all the characters spoke in long monologues which explained relevant plot details. Truth be told, I'm not even sure how to grade Catwoman anymore because it has taken such a bizarre turn since Nocenti took charge.

I actually gave Catwoman a decent rating last week despite the fact that it left tons on unanswered questions and was extremely silly. I suppose I was being overly generous, but I thought as a nonsensical, adventurous romp, it was kind of fun. I'm not sure if I will be so kind today. Does Catwoman turn things around and deliver a high quality story, or does this strange conglomeration of nonsense just continue to fester?

In this issue, power mad Catwoman does battle with other evils unleashed in the Black Room.

Ow, My Brain...Starving!

I tried to go into this issue with the same light hearted expectation I had last time, but even that could not save this issue. Even as a ridiculous, escapist adventure, this fails. It is not one single problem but a whole slew of major oversights, so I guess I will just enumerate the problems.

1. The artwork sucks. It has the same art team as the last issue which I think I said I actually enjoyed visually. I don't know if this is a major change or if I was just high on crack during my last Catwoman review, but man, things are not pretty this time.

2. One of the major problems with the art is that two of the villains are amorphous blobs which means there is a lot of ill defined sliminess moving in ways that cannot be clearly identified.

3. There is random stuff floating around Catwoman.

4. Dr. Darwin makes no sense. In the last issue, he appeared to be under Eclipso's influence, but that does not seem to be the case this time, and he is still helping Catwoman who nearly killed him several times.

5. Nobody's dialogue, except perhaps the guards, sounds like real people.

6. Catwoman is a completely unlikable character in this story treating the doctor like crap and acting like a moron.

7. The flesh map is still not explained, and it is apparently sentient.

8. The flash map smacked Selina's booty just so we could get a close up of her butt.

9. Catwoman demands that the doctor show some spine while constantly deriding him. Is this supposed to be lovable? Is this real Selina being cruel, real Selina trying to help, or Ecplipso toying with Dr. Darwin?

10. Selina has elven ears without explanation. I know this happens when Eclipso possesses somebody, but this must be very confusing for those who've never previously seen an Eclipso comic.

11. Darwin attempts to analyze Selina's psyche by comparing her to monsters. This is...really dumb.

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12. Half way through the issue, we finally hear some inner monologue from Selina which makes it clear that she is fighting for control of herself. That is kind of interesting, so why wasn't this clear through the whole issue rather than just those few panels?

13. Selina's whip is a million miles long.

14. Does Selina even have a secret identity? Why doesn't she wear her mask anymore?

15. Seriously? Why did a random disembodied arm superhero seem like a good idea to anybody? Seriously!

(Spoilers)

16. Catwoman defeats Escalate by slashing him with a sword...something she had already done several times previously.

17. Soldiers are portrayed as stupid enough to think they can shoot through a steel door.

18. Selina grew up driving tanks?

19. Tanks can't go through steel walls. Brick walls? Sure. Wood walls? Sure. Steel? No.

20. Even if they could go through steel walls, they would not go top first.

21. ARGUS apparently has no problem with letting anybody exit the building after a security breach.

22. We are seeing the third or forth expendable, forgettable, partner-in-crime-who-doesn't-actually-do-anything supporting character in less than two years of this series.

23. Ninth hour introduction of a villain nobody has ever heard about without any explanation or elaboration who was masquerading as ninth hour hero that nobody has ever heard about.

24. Catwoman has a “revelation” at the end of the issue that she no longer desires diamonds. This will never be explored ever again.

25. The flesh map was never explained or explored; it's current location is unknown.

Let's Be Fair

I came up with a list of twenty problems with Batman #16, but Batman still ended up being a fair issue because it had a lot of good things going for it. In comparison, I could only find two good things in this issue of Catwoman.

1. Obscure nod to the classic war series, “The Haunted Tank.” Sweet!

2. I do not have to read Catwoman for another month.

Conclusion 2/10

This is so very, very bad. It's not even ironically or light heartedly amusing. It is bad on every level.

More Recent Reviews:

Nightwing #16

Batwoman #16

Red Hood and the Outlaws #16

Birds of Prey #16

Legends of the Dark Knight #34

Review: Catwoman #15

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In the Zone

Due to my computer crashing, I may or may not be able to attach pictures to this week's reviews. I'll get them up as soon as I can, but I will need to take time to wipe and rebuild my computer soon which might cause a brief interruption on BatWatch. Your patience is appreciated.

I am actually quite eager to read this issue of Catwoman. After the catastrophe which was the Death of the Family tie in, I have a major rubbernecking desire to see what further atrocities will come from Nocenti’s arc. Whatever happens, part of my brain will be playing Yakety Sax. I have no doubt that I will be amused with this issue, but will I be amused because this issue is high quality or because it is so low as to be comical?

In this issue, Selina raids a penthouse party, shows some compassion to an orphan, conspires with a new character, and infiltrates the Black Room.

The Black Diamond Probability

The first thing I noticed when I picked up this issue is that it ties in to a crossover story arc I didn’t even know existed, The Black Diamond Probability. The Black Diamond Probability is a story arc focused on Eclipso that has been meandering its way through the DC universe for the last few months without any apparent end in sight. In the old DCU, Eclipso was God’s Spirit of Wrath who had been dismissed from Heaven after the forming of the New Testament because Eclipso’s method were deemed to harsh for the new age. Centuries before present, Eclipso had been locked in a black diamond, and about ten years ago, pre-Flashpoint, he had been unwittingly released by the solar scientist Bruce Gordon. Since then, Eclipso has menaced the entire DC Universe several times. His greatest strength is his ability to possess people who have any hostile feelings, but he is unable to possess someone exposed to solar radiation.

As far as I can tell, The Black Diamond Probability seems to have no overarching plot. It has already run through Demon Knights, All-Star Western, and Team 7, and from what I have found through research, it seems like a history of the Eclipso diamond in the DCNU. No doubt it will eventually come to a head, but for now, the nature of this crossover is mysterious. I do wonder if Eclipso might be used to bring together the Justice League of America since we know Catwoman will be a part of that team, and how she would become involved in such a team is unclear.

A Visual Treat…Except for the Vomit

As best as I can tell, this issue had the exact same artistic team as the last, but I enjoyed the art in this issue much more than the last. There were lots of really neat designs ranging from Catwoman’s motorcycle to the artifacts displayed in the Black Room. The party scene at the beginning, though having more than its fair share of vomit, displayed the tendency of stupid youtha to burn through their brain cells and liver in an amusing fashion. The flesh map looked really interesting, and the entire visual presentation seemed just a little exaggerated giving the book a fun, less serious tone which well befits this reckless and adrenaline addicted version of Selina Kyle.

On the flipside, Catwoman is drawn in some ridiculous poses and outfits as has sadly become typical of this series. Also, the action is sometimes hard to follow, but it is difficult to determine whether that is a function of the scripting or art department.

Wacky Action

I criticized Red Hood and the Outlaws a couple months ago for being a little too campy, and now Catwoman seems to be following that same model. The creative team of Catwoman is definitely not in danger of taking itself too seriously.

However, I think this works for the series. Whereas Red Hood and the Outlaws is a dark book that is somewhat lightened (when not too campy) with comedy, Catwoman is a book that is light hearted nearly to the core. Yes, there are some elements of Selina being damaged and broken from a rough past, but all her adventures are strictly escapist in nature, and I do not mind some quirky fun.

Flesh Map.png

That being said, I do want the narrative, wacky though it may be, to make sense, and some aspects of this issue do not track. Introducing a new character with no real explanation? That’s a little sloppy. Introducing slimy, morphing, liquid, living flesh maps that slithers around panels without explanation? That is very sloppy. Throughout the whole issue, I was thinking…really? That doesn't deserve some elaboration? Perhaps this is made clear in other tie ins to The Black Diamond Probability, but that does not excuse it popping up in this book without some discussion. Also, Selina treats all the wonders of the Black Room as if they are trivial, and she dismisses the doctor’s information on them as myths despite evidence of their reality. At least this can be explained by her being under the influence of Eclipso, but it was still a bit annoying. I don’t like having to make excuses for poorly clarified scenarios.

The doctor seemed out of place as well. Why is he accompanying Selina and giving her information about what she can steal? The doctor does conclude that he might be under the influence of Eclipso himself, but he does not seem totally enraptured like the others, so the whole scene seemed like little more than an excuse to have a character explaining all the craziness of the story.  Such a narrative trick did give the issue a retro vibe which may or may not feel you with pre-COIE nostalgia, but it also underscored the silliness of the situation.

Conclusion 7/10

My opinion of this issue might change drastically based on how the story is continued in the next issue, but for the moment, I found this a fun ride despite the sloppy work around the edges. If wacky crime adventures sound up your alley, you will probably enjoy Catwoman #15, but if you have reservations after this review, you would not go amiss to read a few pages in stores before purchasing.

Review: Catwoman #14

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To Skin a Cat

The last issue of Catwoman was fun but utterly stupid. Someone apparently set up chess pieces across the city with people locked inside. When one piece takes out another, the people inside die, and Catwoman got caught up in this ridiculous situation. Does Catwoman manage to win the match in this issue, or does she turn out to be nothing more than a pawn in someone else’s game?

In this issue, Joker is revealed to be the force behind the chess scheme, and he takes Catwoman on a magical journey of mayhem.

A Great Big Explosion of Stupidity

I think my brain may have been damaged by intense amounts of stupidity exposure I endured in this issue. I mean, wow! Wow! This is incredibly, amazingly, stupendously bad! I mean really, really bad.

The entire issue makes no sense, and I am not talking about motivation or physical impossibility or any of those sorts of things that I usually mention. No, I mean it literally defies comprehension. To try to make a single cohesive narrative out of this scattershot story requires the reader to make up dozens of excuses for apparently inexplicable scenes.

I do not even know where to being with this. First, you have Joker appear and start menacing Catwoman for no reason whatsoever. Adding to the confusion, Catwoman apparently does not know who Joker is. Now, you can say that these two have never encountered each other because of the reboot, and that seems a bit unlikely, but whatever, but how could you possibly live in Gotham City and work in the criminal underworld yet not know who Joker is? It’s ridiculous.

Within a few pages, Catwoman apparently lets herself be put in bonds rather than kicking Joker’s butt which really makes little sense. Joker then tries to centrifuge Catwoman to death which is a sentence I cannot even type without laughing. The centrifuge is so powerful that it rips Catwoman’s clothes off in a move Nocenti apparently stole from the geniuses working over on Worlds’ Finest’s. Despite the centrifuge being powerful enough to shred clothes, Catwoman manages to tear loose metal restraints and climb out of the centrifuge by standing on nothing. Before she can even get completely out of the centrifuge, Catwoman is struck by what I am told is water though it looks more like a foam. She is then drowning in a very large whirlpool, but it’s cool because apparently, she survives in some way which is never shown.

This all happens in the first five pages.                          

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And the Schlock Don’t Stop

The stupidity never stops throughout the rest of the issue. Catwoman and Joker babble about their roles as extensions of Batman as if they know they are characters in a comic book. Their dialogue seems like something out of an experimental play wherein the writer thinks he is being deep while having actors spout utter nonsense from stage. Oh sure, there is occasionally something that makes sense as an individual statement, but the lines have no connection with the actions happening from panel to panel.

Both artist and writer seem to feel comfortable ignoring the rules of time and space since Catwoman is frequently encountering things at random moments without any real context which makes everything seem utterly absurd. It is almost as if this issue was scripted by Salvador Dali only nothing as interesting as a melting clock ever occurs. The most mind blowing moment for me is when Catwoman is crouching on the girders of a building under construction and then gets ran over by a van driving on the girders.

I literally think that Nocenti might be on drugs.

Conclusion 2/10

If you want to see a laughably bad comic, then pick this up because it is so over the top bad, it is truly amusing. If you want a good comic, then stay far, far away from this Catwoman #14. 

Review: Catwoman #13

Transient

Burnt Offerings

This issue is the first since Catwoman’s rebooted origin which many longtime fans consider an unholy abomination. I am not among those fans because I believe most readers wrongly mistook Catwoman’s new origin to involve supernatural aspects, but I can certainly appreciate others distaste for stupid retcons. For my part, I’ve found the current run of Catwoman to be innately shallow yet profoundly fun, and I am torn between my enjoyment of cool action with my desire for a substanative story. Does this latest issue prove to be the cat’s meow, or is it time to put this poor old feline to sleep?

In this issue, a mysterious figure (Joker) toys with Selina by flaunting the remnants of her dead friend Lola’s knickknacks, and Selina takes on a new case involving the high stakes world of…chess?

Stupid by Any Other Name…

I will give Nocenti props for coming up with a unique set piece for thievery and action, but I have to take away two or three points for making that set piece idiotic. The chess based crime at the center of this issue is just stupid, and there is no real need for me to expand on this thought because it is so clearly true. Perhaps it would be slightly better if readers had some idea of what forces underwrote this chess game, but even if this were clear the improvement would be minute. (Spoiler) The whole concept is laughable, and the unintentional comedy of this concept was especially clear when Catwoman failed to notice a human head sticking out of the pawn. How do you miss something like that?

The Joker Factor

Unlike Batgirl, Catwoman’s tie in to "Death of the Family" actually covers a significant portion of the comic. If you buy this, you will see between seven to eight pages of Joker hijinks. However, nothing significant really happens. Selina discovers that someone is screwing with her by playing off Selina’s guilt about Lola’s death…and that’s it. If this later plays into a major part in Death of a Family, then it would probably make this issue worth the purchase for a completist, but if you do not have a lot of money to throw around, you might want to wait until the rest of the Joker arc plays out before deciding whether you need this issue. You can always buy it on resale.

Transient

Lovely Confusion

The art in this issue looked quite nice, but it did not make much sense. When Selina is chasing down Lola’s trinkets, the panels blend together, and while this can be done to great artistic effect, it is muddling in this issue. Furthermore, penciler Sandoval chose to draw one panel where Selina looks miniscule next to one of Lola’s toys. I guess this was done to convey the emotional impact this had on Selina, but for me it merely made me assume Catwoman was about to battle a twenty foot tall robot. It took me a few seconds to figure out what was really intended. Equally odd, the last panel features Catwoman covered with what appears to be white rust. What the heck is that supposed to be?

I Have to Admit…

Despite all of this, I still have a hard time giving Catwoman a low rating because it is simply a fun read. I know the plot is idiotic, and I do not understand some of the artistic choices, but I find this fun loving yet broken depiction of Selina intriguing. I like her attitude and decision making in this issue. I like the way she cases a job before she acts. In short, I find the action and character elements of the story quite satisfying; it is just the plot element that kills the buzz.

Conclusion 6/10

In the modern era, Catwoman has always been a compelling character, but many fans have not latched on to her latest depiction. I am of two minds about it myself, but I can say without qualification that the plot has thus far been far from great. I do think the creative team on this book has some worthwhile ideas, but a little more consideration for scripting and fan expectations would not go amiss. This is worth a purchase for fans of the current Catwoman series, but others might want to check it out in stores before purchasing.

Review: Catwoman #0

Zip Me Up

Though I am reasonably familiar with Catwoman’s pre-Flashpoint series, I’ve only recently started reading her DCNU series. I found the last issue to be a fun ride, but I was disappointed by the lackluster villain, the exploitation of Catwoman’s figure, and the lack of a supporting cast. Does Catwoman #0 confirm the idea that Catwoman is an entertaining but shallow series or does it drag Selina further into the gutter?

In this issue, we see bits of Selina’s transformation from petty thief to honest woman to costumed thief.

A Major Addition to Catwoman’s Origin

Let’s just address the biggest surprises of this issue, the changes to Catwoman’s origin.

For those new readers, Selina’s pre-DCNU origin was relatively straightforward. Selina grew up in an abusive home until her parents died of a combination of drug overdoses and suicide. Orphaned, Selina was put in the foster care system, but she soon ran away and started living on her own. To pay her way in the world, Selina became a cat burglar, and she gradually increased in skill. When Batman showed up in Gotham, Selina decided to make herself a costume and become Catwoman.

All of that is still a viable history in this new origin story, but there are a couple of major additions to the tale.

First, Catwoman loses her memory in this issue, and though she can remember her name and scattered pieces of her past, she has no solid idea of who she was before she sustained her head injury. Presumably, this is still in effect during current Catwoman stories. Second, “Selina Kyle” is not Selina’s birth name, and apparently, Selina is someone of importance, and at least one individual is willing to kill to keep Selina’s true origin a secret. Third, Selina now has a brother, but the two were separated in the foster system.

For the moment, my jury is still out on these new twists. They could lead to interesting places or they could turn in to something gaudy. Only time will tell, and for the moment, I am content to see where the series is going.

Catwoman Continues To Be Fun

The story kept me guessing the whole time, and I am intrigued where the series will go next. It was very nice to see Selina in a role other than just that of master thief. Here, we get to see Selina the victim, Selina the self-promoting woman, and Selina the needy. Seeing different aspects of Selina’s character gives me the hope that the Catwoman writing team has a definite direction in which they want to move Selina in the coming months.

The Plot Is Jumpy

The narrative zips around from one time period to another on every other page. At first, I felt this was a good way to keep readers engaged, but by the end, I found the constant shifting of time periods annoying, and the clarity of the tale was definitely diminished by the constant shifts. Though it is not a complex story, I did have to pause in my reading at one point to try and decipher when a certain scene took place.

???

There were a few ridiculous moments. For instance, Selina decides to sew a costume for herself out of the tarp covering the awning which broke her fall and saved her life. This is a bizarre idea in the first place because tarp would not make for good clothing. It gets worse when the hole Selina made is revealed to be shaped just like her. Common sense should tell you that this would not be the case. I expect comic writers and artists to treat comics more seriously than an episode of Loony Tunes. Finally, even if there was a hole (or rather an area of tarp sewn over the hole) shaped exactly like Selina, how would it be enough material to make an outfit? Is Selina only going to wear a costume on her front half?

There were a few ridiculous moments. For instance, Selina decides to sew a costume for herself out of the tarp covering the awning which broke her fall and saved her life. This is a bizarre idea in the first place because tarp would not make for good clothing. It gets worse when the hole Selina made is revealed to be shaped just like her. Common sense should tell you that this would not be the case. I expect comic writers and artists to treat comics more seriously than an episode of Loony Tunes. Finally, even if there was a hole (or rather an area of tarp sewn over the hole) shaped exactly like Selina, how would it be enough material to make an outfit? Is Selina only going to wear a costume on her front half?

There was also a scene where Catwoman threatened a security guard by breaking artwork, and I think this was meant to demonstrate her emotional frustration, but it came off as pretty ridiculous.

Conclusion     7/10

Catwoman continues to be entertaining, but the writing is not top caliber.

Catwoman #12

It's Nice to Have Someone I Can RELY On

This is the first issue of Catwoman I have read since Flashpoint, and I was interested in seeing how Selina was being treated these days. I have heard rumors that she was being written poorly and out of character, but I pleasantly surprised to find this to be a pretty good Catwoman story though not without considerable faults.

Faults

Let's talk about faults first.

Dollhouse

Dollhouse is a boring villain. Her (his?) costume looks ridiculous, her motivations are...preposterous, and she is hard to take seriously. Granted, the stuffed body aesthetic is creepy, but it is creepy in a cheap horror movie kind of way. In the end, she is just another homicidal, generic, crazy person.

Skanky

Though I did not feel Selina's personality was off, I did dislike the way she was portrayed physically. Quite frankly, she looks like a whore. I know her costume has not been significantly altered via the reboot, but her figure was more subdued pre-Flashpoint. It now appears as if Catwoman might burst out of her clothing at any moment, and I'm pretty sure her jumpsuit zipper is halfway to her navel. It objectifies women to portray them this way in general, but it also undermines that fact that Catwoman has been a sexy character in the past without needing her body on full display. Less is more, DC. Selina should feel classy. Right now, she looks like a street walker.

Ect.

It was also disappointing to see another member of Selina's supporting cast die. I am curious how the writer plans to continue the book if everyone who works with Catwoman continues to die.

Finally in the complaints department, the Kitty Signal was very cute, but I happen to work in the field of lighting, and I know that spray painting on a lens would not create a clearly visible symbol. You have to focus the symbol just the right distance from the lens to get any kind of clarity (try it with a flashlight if you do not believe me). Selina's maneuver would just look like the regular Bat Signal with a little blur.

Fun Issue

With all of this going against the issue, why did I give a decent rating? Well, it was just fun. Selina is just a cool character, and for better or worse, Americans tend to like those who rob from the rich and give to the poor...even if the poor is themselves. Though the plot was not exceptional, it was solid and exciting. The fights were dynamic, Catwoman's call to Batman for help was clever and in character, and the cliffhanger ending made me eager to see what happens next. For whatever faults the book may have, it cannot be accused of being boring.

Conclusion 7/10

If you are a fan of Catwoman, I think you will have a good time.