Graphic Novel Reviews: Catwoman 011

The Story

Catwoman meets with Detective Alvarez and manages to recruit him to help her find out who has been taking people off the streets. In the meanwhile Dollhouse is behind quota supplying organs, and one of his victims has killed himself.

Catwoman, Spark, and Alvarez set up surveilance in several locations Alvarez determined were potential target areas. They each find a target, but find that Dollhouse sent out decoys, while he hit the area Alvarez was in. He (or she, it’s not quite clear) uses a chain fed tranquilizer gun to knock out a heap of people, including Alvarez. She makes off with them, as well as the detective, leaving Catwoman to find the aftermath of the attack.

The Review
I’ll start this off by saying that I don’t handle blood very well, and the scene where dollhouse found his/her captive had commited suicide by bitting his wrists was a bit much for me. So those of you that share a queasy disposition with me, be aware of this when going into the book.

I was surprised that Alvarez agreed to join them so quickly, but it certainly made him a much more interesting character. His fight with Catwoman at the begining of the issue shows that he knows how to handle himself, and his skills as a cop come in handy for Catwoman.

The problem I have with Alvarez as a character is that we just didn’t have enough time to get to know him. He’s been around on and off for eleven issues, but overall he’s never grown out of his “one good cop” role. I would have liked to have seen this development earlier on. Doing so would have also helped make him joining Catwoman more believable, if we saw more of him mulling the choice over.

This is part of a problem I’ve seen with a lot of writing in the New 52. The stories aren’t given enough time to breathe and develop. The focus is entirely on making every issue as exciting as possible, without giving the reader time to breathe. And while that can work, a month between issues does function as breathing space, but it will come back to haunt the stories once they are collected in trade paperbacks. When given the option to read these stories in one go I can’t help but think their fast pace will be a serious detriment. A good story needs time to develop, something that I fear the DC editorial staff isn’t giving their stories.

I did enjoy the scene, where Catwoman narrates about how she’s a better judge of character than she thought, over a panel focusing on Spark’s face. That, my friends, is dramatic irony. Or it could be foreshadowing. What it most certainly is, is a sign that skill is going into the creation of these stories. The creative teams aren’t hacks, they do know what they are doing, at least enough to be working in a creative profession. So I think that a lot of criticism should be directed towards the editorial staff, rather than the creative teams. This of course isn’t true in all cases, but I think it’s true more often than people realize.

Overall, Catwoman is one of the weaker series that I read. I won’t be droping it any time soon, more out of a sense of loyalty towards the character than anything else. I enjoyed her pre-New 52 run (the first series, not the later), and I see some potential in this series. Especially with the change of creative team coming up. With any luck the new writer and artist will be able to spice things up a bit more.

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