Graphic Novel Reviews: Catwoman 014-017

The Story
First, Catwoman is tormented by the Joker. He tries to use her to mess with Batman, in a variety of ways. But ultimately she turns him down, chases him off, and for some reason he lets her be after that.

Issues fifteen and sixteen involve Catwoman stealing a black diamond from A.R.G.U.S and unleashing a cacophony of magic and madness. Selina becomes possessed by the diamond, and only barely is able to fight off the demonic magic locked in the room.

Issue seventeen sees us back to the usual format for Catwoman, Selina breaks up a drug deal that has children involved. She and her partner go to steal some paintings, but the police start to get involved.

The Review
While I liked a lot of what happened in issue fourteen, unfortunately it had no impact on the Death of the Family storyline. In the New 52 Selina has almost nothing to do with Batman and his family. Having her be involved in this story were it set pre-New 52 would make sense. However, as it is we’re supposed to accept that she means enough to Batman, and that he means enough to her, that the Joker targeting her means something. When up to this point the only time he’s been involved was early on in this series, and Selina has not made any major appearances in any of the other Bat Books. I understand that apparently DC wants her to stand on her own as a character. But you can’t have your cake and eat it. Either she is actually important to the Bat Family, or she isn’t. And since she doesn’t even know who Batman is anymore I don’t think she’s involved enough to make a difference.

It feels like nobody knows what to do with her anymore. Some writers consider her a member of the Bat Family, but apparently can’t or don’t want to use her. Snyder had her make a one panel appearance during the Court of Owls story, but hasn’t used her since then. I assume this means he considers her important to Batman. But how can we actually know that if she never does anything in relation to the other characters. Some writers seem to just forget about her completely. So what exactly is Catwoman supposed to be in the New 52?

Issues fifteen and sixteen were not favorites of mine. I found them confusing, and the introduction of magic into this series felt out of place. Catwoman, at least for now, is meant to either be an anti-hero or a thief. There’s no need to go confusing that when we aren’t even clear of what she is supposed to be beyond her basic outline. Issue sixteen in particular was a confusing mess. I can see that perhaps it was supposed to be confusing. But that doesn’t mean that I enjoyed it. Sometimes doing something deliberately does not necessarily mean that it works.

There was a part I felt worth noting, after Selina escapes from the vault, Trip carries her home. While he’s holding her his silhouette looks like Batman. This either means that he’s supposed to be symbolic of Batman’s role in her life, or he’s Batman in disguise. Either way my question is, Why? Why is he symbolic? Why do we need the symbolism? And if he really is Batman, why is he giving her jobs like this?

Issue seventeen was a bit closer to what I’m hoping for from this series. I enjoyed seeing Selina acting more like the anti-hero she’s been in the past. And the fact that we’re moving back to regular heists is promising. This issue was a step upwards in the writing department. Granted, I feel like this book lacks an overall goal. Catwoman needs something to focus her. Something to work towards. Otherwise this whole series will feel like a meandering mess. A bit like Catwoman herself I suppose.

Overall this series has been one of the less enjoyable offerings from the Bat Family. Issue seventeen is a step in the right direction, so I’m not ready to give this book up. I’ll keep reading, hopefully eventually the book will get a writer that understands what needs to be done with Catwoman, or the Bat writers in general will get an idea of what they are supposed to do with her.

The Grade

2/5

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