Catwoman #27 (Comics Review)

The only Catwoman issue I’ve read, in the New 52 or otherwise, is the recent Catwoman #25 which was a Zero Year tie-in and was written by one of my favourite writers, John Layman, and drawn by Aaron Lopresti and Art Thibert. It was a really fun issue that I picked only because it was a tie-in and because John and Aaron were behind it. I’ve heard far too many negative things about the current Ann Nocenti run to really be interested in picking up the series for long-term. But, that’s kind of where the Gothtopia crossover story stepped in.

John introduced Gothtopia in his short story for Detective Comics #27 and just a couple weeks ago we had Gail Simone doing a Gothropia issue for Batgirl, which I really liked. Both stories were excellent, so I managed to drum up some drive to pick up this issue. And I kind of wish that I hadn’t. Because this was mostly a very tiresome read with some odd artwork here and there. Not at all what I expected, even with the low expectations that I had of it. I’ve tried Ann Nocenti’s Katana in the past as well but that title didn’t work for me either. So I suppose, Ann Nocenti’s work really isn’t for me. Maybe I should try something else that she’s done that’s received some acclaim.

Catwoman 27Selina as a character in the New 52 has gotten rather short-shrift I have to say, based on my reading thus far. She’s been mired in controversies regarding her sexist portrayal from the get go, whether it is having sex with Batman in the very first issue of Catwoman (IIRC), or the T&A cover of Catwoman #0 that eventually got redrawn or even in the pages of Justice League of America where she was often shown with her suit zip all the way down to her navel, for nothing more than titillation. She just hasn’t struck me as a character that I can get behind in the New 52, other than in Catwoman #25, despite the fact that she’s one of my favourites from the Batman: The Animated Series.

Oh and she had a pretty decent one-off outing in the Batgirl Annual as well, where she teamed up with Barbara Gordon against a Talon. Really fun story that one.

So anyway, this issue. I am very disappointed with it. Although it does well in keeping the mystery of Gothtopia going, what with Gotham being this perfect American city and with the lowest crime-rate of any other city (99.9%!!), and everyone essentially happy with their lives, there is still something that is wrong here. The only crime in the city that is rising is suicides and Selina Kyle is on the job, investigating why. Her portrayal as a psychologist of sorts confused me completely. That’s never how I’ve seen her or heard of her being cast as. She is a thief through and through.

It all later dovetails into Selina Kyle the Catbird having a dream-fight against the so-called “real” Selina Kyle, the greatest thief in the world. This is where the issue really goes downhill. The dialogue is at par with being terrible. The entire situation is so cliched and predictable that I was shaking my head all throughout. And the arguments used by both Selinas were even more distressing. I learned nothing about Catbird here, or Catwoman. They were just two generic heroes, one the mirror of the other, having an all-you-can-eat in the dream world.

Additionally, a lot of the transition moments in the issue fell flat too. In Detective Comics #27 we saw that Batman had begun to suspect that all was not right with Gotham, but somehow the other heroes, his family, all picked up on it and eventually sent him to Arkham to be fixed. It was a great moment in John’s story. But in Catwoman #27 that entire moment is pretty much left by the wayside. There are references to it, but they are rather thin, and the story of Gothtopia itself is not advanced one bit, far as I can tell.

As for the art, well. It was decent. Terry and Rachel Dodson’s cover is a really good one. They are both great artists and they show that here as well. Sadly, the content doesn’t match the packaging all that much. Patrick Olliffe and Cliff Richards draw some good pages, but as the issue progresses, their characters’ expressions get weirder. And some of the body language is off too. The art loses cohesion every few pages and that’s really not excusable. Inker Tom Nguyen and colourist Sonia Oback do some great work however, and I definitely loved Sonia’s work. She maintains the same colour themes as in John and Gail’s stories, giving this “new” Gotham a consistent look. And that’s great.

Overall though, I just can’t get behind this issue at all. And I hope that there aren’t any more Gothtopia tie-ins for this series. My OCD will likely make me read such an issue, and I’d rather not.

Rating: 5/10

More Catwoman: #25.

More Gothtopia: Detective Comics #27, Batgirl #27.

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Posted on January 30, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

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