CATWOMAN #54 REVIEW
It’s kinda funny, but I have become so used to the characters in this title that it was not until reading this issue that it occurred to me – “Hey, wait a sec, Catwoman is a lesbian now! How has that not been made into a bigger deal?” IS that still a big deal? I honestly do not know. Do you think there are parents who will flip out if their kid is reading a comic about a lesbian? Oh well, no one’s really brought it up yet, so I guess it isn’t a big deal. That’s nice to hear.
As for the comic itself, Will Pfeifer does a good job on this issue, with basically just one drawback (although I think it’s a fairly decent-sized one) – this reads pretty much exactly like a standard “Friend of a hero becomes the hero when the hero can’t be the hero” storyline. I mean, you could take an issue of Denny O’Neil’s later run on Iron Man (once Tony was no longer a drunk) and easily turn it into an issue of this Catwoman, that’s how “by the books” a lot of the comic book was. However, that’s just plot. Plot-wise, that might be true, but unlike Denny O’Neil’s Iron Man (which I was not a fan of), there is a lot of good character moments that make this issue stand out from the pack.
David Lopez is a pretty good artist (is his inker, Alvaro Lopez, a relative?), and I especially loved (I mean, absolutely LOVED) the little tummy he gave Selina when she is seeing to her baby. Very nice touch. While Lopez is definitely no Pete Woods (who is?), he does a nice job of depicting the emotions on the characters. Occasionally, it seems like he goes a bit TOO far with the emotion, as some characters seem to go a bit into caricature than actual emotion (like when Slam Bradley is surprised, he looks like a cartoon character), but for the most part, it goes over quite well. I especially like how creepy he makes the new villain, the Film Freak. The Film Freak has a pretty good shtick, too. Very Silver Age-esque, but with a modern sensibility (although, when the Film Freak first showed up, I thought I was reading a Brian K. Vaughan comic for a sec, what with the long historical talk about Ed Gein).
The constant “nice touches” throughout the book demonstrate a real understanding of the form by Pfeifer, and it is impressive to see. The irony of the Angle Man deciding to do something “non typical super villain-y,” while, at the same time, being undone by doing something TOTALLY typical super villain-y” was an especially nice touch. The reactions of Holly, the reactions of Karon, the reactions of Slam – all note perfect. Also, any comic where you get to see Wildcat beating up people while his cell phone is ringing deserves some bonus points!
Selina’s situation, too, is handled quite well – as Selina is one of the few people out there who wake up at 3:30 am by their baby’s screaming to think “Hey, this is about the time that I would be going out.”
Also, what a cool Adam Hughes cover!
So I would recommend this comic, with the reservation that the general plot is quite familiar to quite a few readers out there. Oh, and it’s now TWO issues without the baby being kidnapped! Applause!!
The Fanboy Planet Preview Spotlight 04/26/06
brought to you by Brian's Books of Santa Clara
Each week we look through the upcoming releases to offer our two cents as to what's hot and what's not. You can agree with us or not, but spend your money wisely.
writer: Will Pfeifer
artists: David Lopez and Alvaro Lopez
Right now in fandom, Will Pfeifer has a job almost as hard as Josh Dysart's in writing Swamp Thing after Alan Moore. Maybe Ed Brubaker has not yet ascended to Mooreish heights, but he had managed to make Catwoman's slide from bad to good believable.
Then along came Identity Crisis and the idea that Zatanna had altered the minds of many of DC's villains. Brubaker left Catwoman, and Pfeifer got stuck explaining how much of his predecessor's beloved work was just sort of …not true.
Sure, none of it is true. But try telling that to fans.
Just as the repercussions began, it was One Year Later. Selina Kyle, the woman we know as Catwoman, can't deal with the consequences of being mind-controlled, as she's got one main moral concern: her baby daughter Helena. Instead, her sister Holly prowls the night in the leather get-up of Catwoman. Except nobody seems to know that.
You'd think they would. Holly has nowhere near the assurance of Selina, and Pfeifer and his art team make no bones about it. She seems to know a lot in theory about being whatever it is you'd classify Catwoman, but in practice, she tends to come up short.
However, Holly does solve the conflicts before her, just not in the way Selina would. It's sloppy and it's savage, but it may also be injecting life into this title. Unlike many other characters less well-known than Catwoman, her secret identity is less important to the general public than her image.
The two Lopezes play with Selina's image quite well, and that's a strangely daring chance they're taking which should garner some interest. Since she's a new mom, Selina Kyle hasn't shaken the baby fat, and though still drawn attractively, her body has clearly not recovered from birth. Artistically, this book carries a more realistic tone.
Of course, we still don't know exactly what's going on in the wake of Infinite Crisis , so the book raises some important questions. (And probably answers one - is Batman so uptight because he's a virgin? The answer would be no.) Since when have Catwoman and the Huntress been so close that Selina would name the baby after her? Perhaps the continuity waves are still rocking the continuity boat.
If that's the case, the waves also allowed for the resurrection of one of my favorite obscure Bat-villains, the other major reason I'm putting this book in the spotlight. Rethought and updated for the twenty-first century, readers get to meet the Film Freak after too long an absence. Of course, he died the first time he fought Batman, so the absence is understandable.
Yet the Film Freak's time has come again. A perfect fit between the old and new schools of Batman villains, he should be one to watch throughout all the Bat-titles, once we figure out just who's who on which earth.
Pre-Read Pick of the week: Catwoman 54
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley .
I have been in love with the Catwoman series since Will Pfeifer took over the writing chores of the book. Each month I hotly anticipate the book when it comes in. This month is no exception.
After the first "One Year Later" issue, I am even more excited then ever. There are so many deep mysteries to solve, and there is an atmosphere that envokes the calm before the storm. Selina's life has changed, and I can hardly wait to see the repercussions.
This issue features David Lopez on art. I was a big fan of his work on Fallen Angel, and enjoyed his work on last month's Catwoman. He makes me think of Gary Frank, but with a twist.
I am betting on the fact that Catwoman will be good before reading it. Anyone else with me?
posted by Heidi Meeley @ 7:03 PM
Catwoman #54: My pre-read favorite this week didn't let me down. The new Catwoman loses it as Selena tries to keep the focus on her new daughter. There are so many great mysteries here, and the art by David Lopez just enhances it. Excellent. A
CATWOMAN #54 REVIEW
Reviewer: Matt DeWoskin firstname.lastname@example.org
Quick Rating: Mediocre
Title: The Replacements, Part Two
Holly finds herself in a jam and she can't call Selina, so she calls an old friend.
Writer: Will Pfeiffer
Artist: David Lopez
Inker: Alvaro Lopez
Letterer: Jared K. Fletcher
Colorist: Jeremy Cox
Editor: Matt Idelson
Cover Art: Adam Hughes
Publisher: DC Comics
REVIEW: This issue is essentially padding. We don't advance the plotline, any of them. We do have a few characters show up and let us in on what they've been up to, but there really isn't much to talk about as far as the story. I thought Pfeiffer was better than this. The father of Selina's baby is supposedly going to be revealed in issue #58. Right now, I'd guess Sam Bradley . It can't be Bruce Wayne , he'd know. I think Slam Bradley is out, just because of where we left him before OYL and where he's ended up. Just a hunch.
This issue starts with a peek into the missing year of the DCU. Selina isn't all bad after all, she breaks into a convience store for a pregnancy test and she leaves money on the counter. The test is positive. Back to OYL, Selina is up late with little Helena . She gets a phone call from Karon .Karon is worried about Holly ,Selena tells her to get used to it. Meanwhile, Angle Man has Holly bound and gagged and he's about to kick her off a rooftop. He announces that he's bound her in her own restraints. She cuts them open with her claws and slaps around Angle Man for a few panels before leaving him bloodied and humiliated. From another rooftop, someone was filming. Holly needs a few words of wisdom and she doesn't want to dial up Selina , so she calls up Wildcat . He's too busy slapping a few hoods around outside a bar to answer. Inside the bar, Slam Bradley is pounding a few. Apparently, the last year hasn't been kind to Slam and he's turned to the bottle. A GCPD detective swings by to ask a few questions about his relationship to Catwoman . Actually, he doesn't really ask questions, he just suggests that Catwoman might be behind Black Mask's murder. Back at Selina's , she turns on the TV to watch a late night movie. The Film Freak is on and he broadcasts the footage of Holly (sans mask) slapping around Angle Man .Angle Man , making his way back to his hideout, gets a call. It's Film Freak , asking if he wants another shot at Catwoman .
So, a whole comic and all that happens is two lame villains may or may not team up. I thought Film Freak was dead, seriously. Either way, not the most entertaining read and I'm still trying to figure out the point of including Wildcat . I'm guessing he'll help Holly with training, but this really wasn't the best spot for his appearance in this story. I also wish we'd get a few more clues about the father. Nothing happened with that plot thread. This was really a very disappointing issue from a story standpoint.
The artwork, however, is a big highlight of this issue and this story arc. The character designs are fairly slick, the action sequences are easy to follow and there isn't an awkward panel in this book. My favorite sequence in this book was the bar sequence. The use of lighting effects is really impressive, it looks like bar lighting and the sequence has a completely different feel from the rest of the book, most of which is outdoors at night or in a dimly lit apartment at night. The way the sequence is laid out is also worth mentioning. The use of closeups just sucked me into the sequence. Adam Hughes also delivers another awesome cover.
Pfeifer continues to be a more than worthy successor to Brubaker. A lot of territory is covered, tantalizingly unhelpful clues re: Helena's parentage are dropped (my current theory is that Daddy is Sam and he's either missing or dead now, making Slam a granddaddy, which is just too weird). Ted's appearance was slipped in so naturally, it made me smile. Holly showed resourcefulness in getting out of a real jam, and film nut guy looks to be an intriguing villain. And the art is as lovely and suitable to the book as it was last issue. Catwoman and BoP continue to excel OYL and are my fav titles right now.