Catwoman 0, 13 Review.
A year on, I think I can say The New 52 hasn’t really done the Bat-Books many favours. Batman & Detective don’t seem much different beyond Bruce’s new costume, Batwoman & Batman Inc are good stuff, but both of them are what they would have been if the reboot hadn’t happened. As much as i enjoyed Gail Simone’s work on birds Of Prey, Batgirl has been incredibly dull for me, and Adam Hughes’s covers have been the highlight of the book and it’s hard to see why Oracle has been replaced for this. Also, I miss Gotham City Sirens and everyone who wrote that off as ‘The T&A Bat-Book’ simply haven’t read the final issues concerning Harley and The Joker’s relationship. Heartbreaking, seriously.
Much to my happiness, Catwoman 0 & 13 have arrived, and justified all my expectations
So, the 1st thing you need to know is that Catwoman is written by Ann Nocenti. I bloody love Ann Nocenti. She’s responsible for possibly the best run on Daredevil in modern times except maybe Mark Waid’s current issues. Your good selves are sent forthwith to the back issue bins to pick up Daredevil #236-291 and enjoy possibly the best work John Romita Jr. has done in his career. Also you’ll be introduced to the greatest villain of the 90’s, Typhoid Mary. Typhoid is Sand Saref, Betty Cooper and In fact, villain isn’t really fair. She’s more an amazing study of Dissociative Personality Disorder who happens to be incredibly hot. Literally. Post utterly screwing up Matt Murdock’s life, she had her own mini series, which was beautifully illustrated by John Van Fleet in a style somewhere between Tommy Lee Edwards and Mike Mignola. Somehow this is not in print as a tpb. I am told there are post Nocenti appearances of Typhoid Mary. I write them off as a Skrull episode not covered by Secret Invasion. It hurts less, somehow.
From there, she went onto the sadly unnoticed Kid Eternity for Vertigo and afterwards, it appeared Ann disappeared off the scene for a bit, but returned in explosive form on Daredevil 500 by writing a short strip drawn by soon to be Secret Avengers and Hawkeye superstar David Aja. Having done a few bits here and there, she’s taken over on Catwoman from Judd Winick,
But here’s the interesting thing about that Catwoman cover: Except for March admitting that it was a bit silly. That seemed to the end of the affair. Except, while expecting to see this:
But we got this instead.
Nobody, including handy Genius cartoonist Jessica McSmesh (who draws beautiful things that look like this.) could find any instance where DC said ‘Right. This cover is probably a bit too far. We’re going to redraw it. Don’t want to look too much like Tarot Of The Black Rose or anything, do we?’. No clarification. We all just got Catwoman – with new cover. As you were. Stand down. Nothing to see here. Aside from this moment of Gulliem sudden;y deciding that he was parodying himself by parodying Robert Crumb. Seriously. Which makes me wonder…Just why did DC choose to do this?
Could it be the Online piss-taking? Maybe. Except that same community has been far louder in decrying Scott Lobdell’s rewriting of Starfire’s personality. Scott responded in a somewhat awkward fashion, but I honestly think his rebuttal should have been something along the lines of ‘I pitched this to DC. they approved it. it sells acceptable numbers to them. When and if it stops selling, they’ll kick me off the book. If you choose not to buy the book, that’s up to you. That’s pretty much the extent of how much of a say you get on a comic.’
0 sets up some interesting questions about Selina. If there;s one thing Ann does well, it’s to create a intrguing set up and some fleshed out supporting characters.A question is posed that ‘ll have long-term ramifications down the line and with 13, the 1st proper issue that also ties into current crossover ‘ Death of The Family’. things start getting really interesting and current (and hopefully permanent) artist Rafa Sandoval kicks into gear. Rafa seems to be some kind of prodigy, mixing up the designs of Darwyn Cooke with the figures of Kevin Nowlan and the cheesecake skills of a Jim Silke, Ryan Sook or Yanick Paquette. Cheekily, Catwoman 13 doesn’t appear to actually bear much connection to ‘DOTF’, (although The Joker is certainly looming over the issue, if you’re paying attention.) and is more a set-up for the new cast of characters. By far and away the best of the Bat-Books at the moment. And you are sent to hunt down Ann’s runs on Daredevil, Kid Eternity etc, and Marvel is urged to reprint Typhoid ASAP. PLEASE!