In Review: Catwoman #43

I'd like more than two pages of Catwoman in a book titled Catwoman, and I'm absolutely bored with gangster politics.

The covers: Holding her whip ready because she feels someone is behind her, Selina Kyle looks serious as she’s about to turn around for a big, metallic surprise. The new Batman is behind her, its fingers starting to open as it’s about to attempt to catch this thief. Great cover by Keven Wada with the coloring being exceptional. I don’t know what medium he used to achieve the pink but it makes the illustration look superb. Love her red goggles, as well. The Bombshells Variant cover is fantastic faux cover of the magazine Catwoman. The title character is on the cover, lounging on a pink sheeted bed. She’s wearing cat ears, long black gloves, a little black dress with a plunging neckline, black stockings with garters, and black heels. On her finger is huge diamond ring, which matches the two bracelets, earrings, and necklace she wears. On the sheets is a bag with its contents of diamonds and gems spilled and a huge stack of cash. The text proclaims “All-New Storyline Starts Today ‘Cat Scratch Fever’.” At the bottom a black banner declares “The Cat is Back…Scratch One More Heist!” This cover by Des Taylor is brilliant and is sure to appear on posters, prints, and tee shirts. Overall grades: Main A and Bombshells Variant A+ 

The story: “Them That Bear It” is by Genevieve Valentine and opens with Selina narrating how her new status as part of a crime family poses problems. She mentions the civilians, colleagues, and problems present in the room, while allies ‘…Those are in short supply.’ As she leaves the room she’s joined by Ward who reminds her the families are on the brink. She tells him they’re the example for others who wish to join their family, such as recent editions the Free Men. Walking away she thinks, ‘I have my own promises to keep.’ The scene then jumps to a back alley where inside a nice car Black Mask and Hasigawa discuss the increasing problems of defectors, with the latter stating they need to make the Free Men an example to others. They enter a warehouse which is the secret training facilities of their muscle and Hasigawa’s daughter becomes involved in the conversation. The two men leave after the Penguin’s part comes up. I’ve never been a fan of gangster stories, so this version of Selina has done nothing for me. I prefer her to be a thief, not a participant in criminal politics. I’ve only been reading this series for the last three months, but I just don’t care. My biggest beef is that I would like to see the title character of the book be the focus, not her out of costume life. There’s just not enough Catwoman in this for me. When she does appear it’s to fight the new Batman for two pages and then she jumps in an alley and changes into some common clothing. I just can’t find anyone or anything to care about in this tale. Overall grade: F

The art: This is why I began to purchase this book — the art of David Messina. I’m a huge fan of this artist and would follow him to any book, but I can’t continue with this series because the story doesn’t give him enough Catwoman to illustrate. The visuals on this book are better than average. Selina looks incredible, as does Black Mask, Hasigawa’s daughter, the Spoiler, and Oswald Cobblepot. The backgrounds on this book are exceptional. I really believe in the city that these characters inhabit, from the skyscrapers to the businesses that are visited. Pages 8 and 9 have a mostly textless sequences of 12 panels that are amazing to look at. Messina expertly captures the setting, the emotion, and the action of the piece. I love the motion put into the smaller character, such as in the eighth panel — it’s awesome! I also like the bearded individual that Selina encounters, but he, too, is not dressed as he should be. The book looks good, but Messina is not be given a strong enough story to show his talent. Overall grade: A

The colors: This book has a very stylized look in regards to its colors. Pages are given a specific tint and all other colors must bow to it. The first page has a faded tan that exemplifies the age of the museum where Selina’s party is being held. Page 3 goes dark blue for a city’s black back street, only to explode in greens for the secret training center. 8 and 9 have the strongest coloring of the book: oranges, blues, and yellows. This looks great, but some of the colors are so dark I can’t see all of Messina’s line work, especially when it comes to the smaller character. The Penguin is practically devoid of color, only grey, white, and black. It’s like life has been sucked out of him. Lee Loughridge makes this reading experience interesting, but not spectacular. Overall grade: B

The letters: Opening title and credits, narration, dialogue, a quote, scene settings, sounds, Bat-talk, and next month’s tease are by Travis Lanham. I am happy to see that Selina’s narration is different from her dialogue and the voice given to Batman was very neat. Lanham does a good job. Overall grade: B+

The final line: Three issues is more than enough time to sample a series and I’m out. I’d like more than two pages of Catwoman in a book titled Catwoman, and I’m absolutely bored with gangster politics. I love the art but just don’t care about any aspect of this story. Sorry, DC. Overall grade: D+

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer's Guide for several years with "It's Bound to Happen!" and he's reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He's taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.
    2 Comments on this post.
  • yayaya
    16 August 2015 at 6:01 pm -

    Perhaps an intricately plotted story isn’t your cup of tea. May I suggest Red Hood/Arsenal for brainless and plotless explosions?

    • Patrick Hayes
      16 August 2015 at 7:43 pm -

      Sorry you didn’t agree with my comments on the story, but I prefer the adventures of Catwoman the thief, not Selina Kyle mobster. “Different strokes” and all. I do enjoy an intricate plot, but I want it also to be interesting. And I did try Red Hood/Arsenal but didn’t care for that either. Thanks for reading!