Graphic Novel Reviews: Catwoman 008

Catwoman and Spark break into the home of a collector of antique weapons. They realize that the set of daggers they were going after is missing the fifth dagger. They determine that the Penguin has the fifth dagger, and they’ll need to steal it from him. While staking out the Penguin, they come across a prostitute being abducted. They save the woman, and later learn from her and two of her friends that prostitutes have been going missing all over the city. Catwoman and Spark continue forward with their plan to steal the dagger.

If there’s one thing you can count on Catwoman for, it’s that there will be more shameless fanservice than an Oh!Great manga. Though Catwoman has the considerable advantage that the book doesn’t make me want to punch the country of Japan. So I think I can live with the plot required swimsuit and cleavage shots, safe in the knowledge that it could be so, so much worse.

As an afficionado of medieval weaponry, I must say that I appreciated the break in scene at the start of the issue. I don’t recognize the daggers as actual historical artifacts, but that doesn’t really mean anything. It’s nice to see the expanded Batman cast getting a role in this series, with the introduction of the Penguin, though it does beg the question of why Catwoman has had so many new characters in its short run. Especially since comics canon is so established that none of these characters have a chance of lasting beyond this series.

I’m a little concerned about Spark, or I should say what he represents. He’s the second super powered individual we’ve run into in this series, and while super powered villains are nothing new to any of the Batman series, they are still the minority. Gotham City houses more psychopaths than actual super powered super villains, and running into two within the first eight issues seems a bit out of place. On the plus side, Spark isn’t an irritating character, so I can at least enjoy his role in the story for now.

The end of the issue ties this series into the Court of the Owls storyline, and I’m quite interested to see how this ties into the storyline as a whole. The more excuses we get to have all the different Bat Family characters interact the better, and Catwoman has always been a fun member of the family, because even at the best of times she wasn’t ever exactly a hero. This version of Catwoman is even less so, though she has shown signs of a heroic nature with her rescue of the prostitute.

Speaking of which, the abduction of the prostitutes is finally giving this book the connecting thread that it needs. Going from trouble to trouble is all good and fine, but we desperately need an underlying plot to really let this book shine. And the opportunity for Catwoman to let her heroic side shien will be much appreciated, as I enjoyed her character the most when she was more of a dark hero with occasional forrays into old habbits. Really all Batman would have had to do was give her a communicator to use for booty calls, that way she wouldn’t have to keep resorting to grand larceny to get his attention.

While I do appreciate that Winick is trying to establish Catwoman on its own rights, rather than relying on other established characters, I do feel like it wouldn’t hurt the series to have a few appearances from the other Gotham characters. Like I said before, these characters all have an existing supporting cast. And while ideally we as readers should get invested in new characters, I think comics are unique in that readers have been following the characters for decades. There is a clear disconnect in investment between established and new characters. It’s a shame, but there really isn’t that much that can be done about it.

Because this book connects to the Court of Owls crossover, and the promise for an overarching story, I recommend anyone not already reading Catwoman should pick up the series.

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