Graphic Novel Reviews: Catwoman 019

The Story
Catwoman is inserted into Arkham Asylum to go undercover with the society. Once there she breaks out, threatens Dr. Arkham, and sneaks into an underground of some kind.

The Review
Back when the New 52 was young, there were a lot of complaints about the Catwoman title. Be it from the gratuitous costumed sex between her and Batman, to the ludicrously sexualized covers. And for good reason, because Catwoman is one of my favorite characters, I hate seeing her reduced to mere sexualization in a leather outfit. But you know what, I would prefer one of those terrible, not sexy at all, covers over this one. Just…what is wrong with her face!? That is without the worst expression I have ever seen a character make on a comic book cover. Is that supposed to be her angry face? I had no idea Selina was related to Cletus the Slack Jawed Yokel.

I thought the writing and characterization was the most offensive thing about this series, I didn’t realize how bad the art was until I was able to experience it without any of the other flaws distracting me. I…I haven’t even started reading it, and already I can tell this is going to be a painful experience.

After having read it I can say that I was right. This was a painful read, mostly because I can’t forget how much I loved the first incarnation of the Catwoman series. What this issue tells me that we have gone from trying to move Catwoman beyond being a supporting character for Batman, to instead being a supporting character for the Justice League of America. How do I know that? Because they invade her book instead of having it be a standalone like it’s been for pretty much its entire run. So I traded Batman appearing for a bunch of characters I don’t care about. Wonderful. Thanks. Really. This is entirely what I wanted!

To make things worse? The second page tells me that I need to read Justice League of America 003 to understand what’s going on. Huh, thought I, haven’t read that one yet. Better check and see when it came out, I must have missed it.

A few seconds later…

IT HASN’T EVEN COME OUT YET!!?!? You’re telling me that in order to understand what’s going on in Catwoman‘s book, I not only have to buy another book, but that book hasn’t even come out yet! Why would anyone release a book before the required reading? Why would anyone plan their books so that we have to read more than one series to actually understand the plot. This is as if they published Throne of Atlantis, but because of release schedules the books were going to be out of order, and they did do anything to fix it! This is almost enough to make me drop this book and Justice League of America for being complicit in this garbage. I keep telling myself that eventually we’ll get a good Catwoman story. But you know what, I’d be better off rereading Gotham City Sirens for good Catwoman stories. Or just go read the first series. Anything is better than this book, that apparently thinks the answer foor bad sales caused by a creative team that doesn’t understand the main character, is to further complicate the plot by having the story spread over multiple series.

But, because bad reviews are fun to read, I won’t drop it just yet. But trust me. This series barely deserves the attention it gets from reviewers.

It’s almost not worth talking about the rest of the issue, but I have a few more things to say. First of all, it disappoints me how Catwoman doesn’t know who Black Mask is. It just goes to show how much of her history and character development has been discarded. Totally worth the trade, the old Selina was nuanced and had a well checkered past. This Selina is a petulant child that thinks character development is done by saying what makes them tick out loud.

And in the end, she never actually did anything to get in with the Society. Why was she in Arkham? Were they in there? No idea, the book never bothers to tell us. All she accomplished was that she managed to release a bunch of lunatics. Well done, that’s serving the good old US of A.

It pains me to say this, but Catwoman is offensive to anyone that has any attachment to the character. I hear Nocenti is getting a lot of praise for Katana, but nothing in this series is suggestive of that skill. Selina as written by Nocenti is quite possibly the worst character in the DCnU. Do not buy this book. Everything about it will piss you off. I’d return my copy, but my comic store has a no refund policy.

The Grade


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