Catwoman Comes of Age: A review of Catwoman #68, "Catwoman Dies"
News Type: Other — Fri Jul 13, 2007 12:28 AM EDT
More fantastic original art.
As previously stated in my first contribution to this series, I was overwhelmed with guilt today and found the only means of penance was to drive immediately to my local comic store and snarf up a ton of comics featuring my old favourites to see how they were faring, as it had been many months since I last checked in with them. I picked up as wide a selection as my budget would allow, trying to make sure I left no one of vital importance with their latest pleas for recognition hanging in the wind. Out of the whole stack, the one I couldn't wait to open the most was Catwoman.
I have always loved Catwoman. I love her for not playing the game, not choosing sides, for refusing to be defined. I love her nifty suit, her shifty intelligence, and her..well...catlike agility. I love her independence most of all. Imagine my surprise, therefore, to hear the news: Catwoman has a kid! I mean...how? Why? WTF?
Now, this may not be news to those of you who are better at keeping up with our mutual friend than I am, but it sort of blew my mind, and at the same time it certainly puts a new twist on the character. I mean, just how the hell can you be a treacherous, self-interested, femme fatale (she still looks great, by the way...must have worked out every damned day of her pregnancy) with a kid in tow? That seems to be just the question that this comic tries to answer.
In #68, Catwoman finds herself pitted against old enemies Sickle and Hammer, and unfortunately for her they know she has a kid, and where that kid is located. I don't know if it will work for everyone, but for me, a 31-year old ex-gothgirl with a trifle more independent spirit than considered strictly kosher and a kid of my own...well, damn. What can I say? It totally got me.
When she realized they are going after her kid, Catwoman drops everything and runs to get there first. She fails, of course, and what follows may well be one of the niftiest little fight scenes I have ever encountered, as she struggles with how to beat the Bad Guys while they are holding her kid...culminating with a lovely scene of Catwoman hanging by her whip fifteen stories off the ground in the pouring rain, holding her baby in her arms and crooning "Mommy's got you". It may be trite, but it is strangely touching at the same time.
Honestly, the writing in this issue, by Will Pfeifer, is not that impressive. I mean, the idea is enough to suck me in, but it really could have been done better, and the dialogue is by and large pretty cheesy. The artwork, likewise, pencilled by David Lopez, is not extraordinary in the slightest. The ideas, though, are worth exploring, both Catwoman's transformation into a character with some serious priority issues to work through and her sudden vulnerability and sense of indebtedness to a slew of folks she clearly thought she would never owe a damn thing to. Yep, parenthood changes and humbles you, and being able to get through it while maintaining superhuman dimensions does not free you from that transition. It is both an obvious weakness and a hidden resource for strength.
Now, the question that kept recurring to me while reading through this comic is how Catwoman's new maternal status effects her ability to win in the timeless debate of "Catwoman vs. X". Catwoman's obvious strengths have always been her agility and nefariousness, and while pregnancy hasn't effected the former, it definitely throws a kink in the latter. You just can't seduce and backstab every potential threat when you have a kid in arms. Furthermore, life takes on a deeper meaning, and you're just not going to throw it away because some do-gooder got in the way of your latest get-rich-quick scheme. Today's Catwoman is not the same as she used to be. Like Spiderman, she is growing up...but where he seems to be recognizing and dealing with the darker aspects of self, Catwoman, conversely, has been forced into the position of dealing with the fact that there is something worth loving and protecting in the world. Ultimately, I have to conclude that if the kid was stashed away somewhere completely safe, Catwoman is still a contender. She may be a little more careful, but she also has more to fight for, and seeing as there doesn't appear to be a Dad for that kid hanging around at home, I don't think she has changed so much that she wouldn't use every wile she could to get her way. She still kicks ass with a whip, and has plenty more unappealing gadgets to take over when that isn't quite enough. Sadly, though, if the kid is in question I think we have to count Catwoman out of the running. The kid is a distraction, as clearly evidenced in this comic, and while she managed to pull it out this time it was a close thing. Each next time might be her undoing.
18. Catwoman #68 (11)
Will Pfeifer (W), David Lopez (A), Adam Hughes (C)
It’s not that this was a bad issue, it just didn’t interest me that much. Hammer and Sickle aren’t exactly the most engaging of villains and, after a full year of it, the “Catwoman protecting her daughter” bit is getting stale. Since this wasn’t a bad issue by any means, I could have ranked it higher, but the nearly 2-year build up to a lackluster conclusion of the Hammer and Sickle storyline let me disappointed.
S: Will Pfiefer; A: David Lopez, Alvaro Lopez. (DC, $2.99)
Here's another DC book that remains engaging despite all the oh-so-DC deadly serious goings-on; somehow Pfiefer and the Lopezes have a synergy that keeps things moving along smartly and keeps the melodrama to a minimum. Everybody waxes nostalgic for the too-brief Brubaker/Cooke/Allred days, but for my money that team doesn't have anything on the current creators, and Catwoman is as enjoyable (relatively speaking; it's been kinda grim lately) as it's ever been right now. Wonder how long it will last. A-
The first book that I am going to talk about is Catwoman 68. Will Pfeifer, David Lopez and company have done a pretty good job with Selina Kyle since the whole One Year Later thing. It has been a tale of Selina trying to give up her role as Catwoman now that she has a baby. She has passed the mantle over to Holly, but that generally tends to be more trouble than it’s worth. Overall, this book has been pretty strong with one major problem: The bad guys.
In this issue, Catwoman is facing super powered Russians. Yes, you read me correctly, I said…Russians. They actually carry a hammer and sickle. It really is pretty embarrassing. Now, I am sure these two are left over scab bad guys from some 3rd tier character’s book that was canceled in 1986, but wow, is that the best that Pfeifer can do? I am sorry, but I can not even look at these characters and not think about the lame 80’s wrestler Nikita Krushef or whatever the hell his name was. (Although, I do think his finishing move was the Russian Sickle.) Anyway, these cold war villains are just the latest in a line of Catwoman enemies that are, for lack of a better term, stupid. Another previous evil doer was “Film Freak.” Again…stupid.
I stay with this book because other than the lame ass list of baddies, it is actually pretty good. Selina, her baby, Holly, and all the other characters make for a pretty good story line. Pfeifer does a good job with the pacing of the story and the art really goes along with the writing style. The Adam Hughes covers never disappoint and the book is a bit of a break for me to read when I tire of the “super” super heroes.
So if you were asking me if I would recommend this book, I guess I would have to give you a confident “Umm…sure, check it out, you might like it.” It is good, but these bad guys need some…I don’t know…maybe replacing is the word I am looking for.
I’ve been banging my head against the wall for a while with regards to Catwoman, but I’ll say it again: this is one of the best mainstream books out there right now. And, typically, it’s not selling. The reasons behind its lack of success are pretty clear: it took Pfeifer a while to find his footing on the book (even I know that); after Brubaker left, the book floundered for a while, driving readers away; it’s Catwoman without Jim Balent drawing her. But like a lot of comics that feature characters DC doesn’t really care about, this allows the creators to write wonderful stories in which the characters actually change and grow. Then they get popular, and the Powers-That-Be retcon the character back to a supposed “Golden Age” version of the character. I have no idea if Pfeifer’s comic is going to get canceled anytime soon or if DC is going to fire him and replace him with someone who will “return Selina to her roots,” but for now, this is rapidly becoming a simply great comic book. And it’s really a shame that not a lot of people seem to notice.
As for this issue, well, it’s more of the same. Boris threatens Helena, Selina comes to her rescue, Boris and Natasha threaten some more, there’s a big fight. It’s the conclusion of a storyline, so things are resolved, but Pfeifer is really treating this whole thing as one long story, so more things open up. It’s a brutal issue that shows a mother fighting to the death for her child, and Selina’s raw emotion is dazzling to behold. López, who has been getting better and better, is in excellent form, too. When Selina calls Bruce Wayne on the phone, even though she’s in the middle of a fight for her life, she smiles when Alfred answers. It’s little touches like that that humanize her and make us root even more for her. And the fights are stunning.
I do have one question. Selina shocks Boris with some sort of taser while he’s holding Helena. Why isn’t the kid zapped as well? I’ve looked at the panels and can’t figure it out. Can anyone help?
It’s a shame you’re not reading this. Oh well. Carry on with Meltzer’s Justice League. I’m sure that’s much better.
Catwoman #68 Review
(author) Zachary Matzo
(date) Jun. 27, 2007
From its announcement, Countdown was hyped as the “spine” of the DCU for the next year. The events of Countdown would impact the monthlies, and vice versa. With Catwoman #68, that synergy begins to manifest itself, as we now know why Holly has been roaming the streets of Metropolis in Countdown. Catwoman #68 marks the end of the “Catwoman Dies” arc and the beginning of a new era in the lives of these very interesting characters.
Ever since the One Year Later jump, Selina Kyle’s life has been in disarray. Between the GCPD, the Film Freak, psycho Russians and adjusting to life as a single mom, Selina has had her paws full. Things appear to be getting worse, as aforementioned Russians have made their way to Selina’s apartment and imperiled her daughter, Helena. Threats to Selina’s family have come early and often in the recent issues of this book. Will Pfeiffer, like many writers throughout comics, has found that the clash between the personal and professional makes for compelling stories.
Pfeiffer, also writing Amazons Attack, has always had a firm grasp on the voices of Selina/Catwoman and Holly Robinson. He knows these women well, and clearly has affection for both of them. Their lives have not been idyllic by any stretch of the imagination, but as Pfeiffer brings them to life, they radiate wisdom and resolve earned through hardship. These women have been forced to make difficult decisions, and have not shied away from the consequences.
Once again, we are forced to examine what happens when heroes cross the unspoken line. Like Wonder Woman, the Huntress and a few others, the protagonists in Catwoman have been forced to take human life to protect those they love. Holly, in Catwoman #68, crosses that line without hesitation. She has regrets. She is not happy about the choice she was left with, but in the end she is at peace with her decision. The reader can’t help but cheer the end result, while fearing for theses characters’ futures as well.
What now for the Catwoman family? We know Holly is in Metropolis, and it looks like she will be a player in Countdown, and I would bet she turns up in Amazons Attack as well. Did Karon live? It seems so. Will Bruce come to Selina’s aid? Selina’s panicked call to Alfred, clearly a last resort, was one of my favorite parts of this issue. In times of dire need, Selina knows that she could call Bruce for help. There is a love, of sorts, between these two iconic characters, and I hope Pfeiffer explores their relationship further in the upcoming arc.
Catwoman #68 is a true collaboration between artist and writer. Pfeiffer’s words are brought to life by Lopez’ pencils. Clearly, writer and artist are dialed in to these characters, and to each other. It is a pleasure to see such a complete book on a monthly basis. One doesn’t have to read the words then look at the art. One simply absorbs the finished product as a whole. It flows effortlessly. Much as we found Catwoman One Year Later, she is now a fugitive on the run, whose future is as murky as her past. This title has the potential to be very compelling in the months to come. This is a solid issue of a consistently reliable title. I would recommend it.
Catwoman #68; This was just another big fight issue. :\ I'm tired of villains kidnapping Catwoman's son constantly. :( It's practically driving Catwoman into retirement. :| It's funny that when other heroes have kids (like Superman with Chris), the stories aren't all about him being captured.
Also the ending seems... unreasonable. XD And one of those endings just to get from point A to editor mandated point B (i.e. Countdown). >:\ 2/5
CATWOMAN #68 REVIEW
Reviewer: Terry Verticchio firstname.lastname@example.org
Quick rating: Very good
Title: Catwoman Dies—Conclusion
This issue marks the end of Catwoman, as we knew her.
Writer: Will Pfeifer
Pencils: David Lopez
Inks: Alvaro Lopez
Colours: Jeromy Cox
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Cover: Adam Hughes
Editor: Nachie Castro
Publisher: DC Comics
Catwoman has faced tough odds before. She’s fought plenty of heroes and villains that were all bent on her utter demise. But Selina has never been pursued by the likes of Boris and Natasha, two Soviet-era Super Soldiers with super powers and super axes to grind. They will stop at nothing to get their revenge and they are prepared to strike at the most important person in Selina’s life, namely her daughter Helena.
This is perhaps the best issue I’ve read since I started collecting this title. It has Selina at her most raw and intense. She displays all of the force and courage that, in my opinion, makes her one of the most formidable non-powered individuals in the entire DCU.
Of course this is all a result of Will Pfeifer’s superlative handling of this character. He has Selina’s voice and character down cold. Everything Selina says and does is real and true. Will’s dialogue is quick, but bold. I just can’t gush anymore about how well he controls this book.
The art is also at its best. The Lopez’s have outdone themselves by creating an almost cinematic atmosphere in this issue. There are plenty of poignant close ups of eyes, faces and facial expressions. But their handling of action scenes is also great, especially during the moment when Selina loses control of her car.
This issue also marks a new turning point in Selina’s life. If having a child wasn’t earth shattering enough, the actions of Boris and Natasha will no doubt provoke the powers-that-be in Gotham into declaring open season on Catwoman. Selina’s problems have only just started. Can’t wait.
Catwoman #68 - DC
Last issue we ended with Natasha getting ready to kill Catwoman, and Boris knocking on her apartment door, looking to kill Karon and Helena. I don't remember if Boris & Natasha are their real names. But that's what I'm calling them. Anyways this issue, they're looking to finish the job. I like Will Pfeifer's stories. I like how he's trying to give Selina her own cast of characters. Although he did kill off the Detective last issue. But right now, everything that Catwoman is doing is for the safety of Helena, Karon, and Holly. And it's much more intense and moving than her usual motivations. And why are Boris & Natasha after her? Because she beat them last time. They were humiliated because they were beaten by a woman. A woman who dresses like a cat. But in the end Catwoman beats her with her whip. And . . a little help from Holly. I've always been a fan of Catwoman. I loved it when Jim Balent was doing the series. But like all good things . . . that came and went. She floundered a bit after that. But she seemed better than ever when they brought her back. Like I said, I really think Will is doing a good job with these stories. My only complaint is that I wish we had a better artist. David Lopez isn't bad. I'm actually getting used to him on this book. But I don't think his style really lends itself to the type of action we have in this title. He's trying. And sometimes it almost works. But his art is simple. Which is not a bad thing. But I just don't think he's necessarily the right choice for this book. I mean look at that cover. It's a pretty simple picture. But it's got action and emotion written all over it. I know we'll probably never get Adam Hughes to do the interiors. But, I think the title would be much more exciting if they could get someone that could convey some intensity. Maybe I'm nitpicking, but that's how I see it.
Written by Will Pfeifer
Art by David Lopez
Rating: Must Read
Dan's Review: Every so often I enjoy hopping up on my soapbox and pompously announcing the best title that no one is reading. Well folks, Will Pfeifer and David Lopez' Catwoman is indeed that title, at least for now (sadly, the series will be tying into Countdown and Amazons Attack shortly, eliminating the self-contained, accessible nature that has made this run so enjoyable). With their work on this title, Pfeifer and Lopez haven't exactly tried to reinvent the wheel, to use a tired phrase, but they have provided most - if not all - of the elements that make for a great superhero story: inspired, threatening villains (Russian Super-Soldiers named Boris and Natasha? How awesome is that?!), kinetic pacing, an anything-can-happen sense of danger, a compelling cast of supporting characters, and most importantly, a sense that none of these supporting players are too far away from the proverbial dirt-nap.
There's also the presence of Selina Kyle - one of the most developed, three-dimensional and fascinating characters in DC's arsenal - to move each of their stories along and directly invest the reader in Catwoman's latest deadly challenge. It is no coincidence that this series was the only DC title to maintain the momentum created by the One Year Later jump and spin the concept of a new status quo into something more than a mere gimmick. Selina's new status as the mother of a year-old daughter has given this already fascinating femme fatale a whole new level of complexity. The character is not only torn between whether to fight crime or profit from it; she's also torn as to whether or not to put on her leather costume and go jumping around rooftops in the first place. Pfeifer transitions from character-driven soap-opera to high-stakes super-heroics seamlessly, with David Lopez's exceedingly impressive, high-paced artwork simultaneously providing top-notch character moments and all the heart-pounding excitement of a blockbuster movie. No ifs, ands or buts about it, this is good superhero storytelling, and shouldn't be missed by any fan of the genre, especially those - like me - who are looking to fill the gap created by Manhunter's hiatus.
Oh, Catwoman. I love you. Even if you comic is starting to get repetitive. I feel that it's about to go off in a bold new direction soon, though. It's always a good read, but lately I've felt that the larger story has been treading water a little. Now Holly is off to Metropolis in Countdown, and it looks like Batman might be showing up a bit in this comic again. He was mentioned in this issue.
Jupiter. Actually, Selina, depending on what you're reading, he's either chilling with the JLA and celebrating/mourning the return of Wally West, or he's joined bodies with Tharok and is a prisoner of the Legion of Super Heroes, or he is in the hospital after a convoluted adventure with the Metal Men, or he is just about to be shot by the Joker as Zatanna dies in front of him, or he is in Europe getting his groove back with a super model while trying to deal with the fact that he has an estranged son, or he is fighting off Amazons in D.C., or he is having Father's Day dinner with Tim. Just to name a few of the possibilities. Either way, he cannot come to the phone right now.
I also just want to mention that putting Selina's child in the middle of the road as she comes charging in a stolen police cruiser at top speed to stop the bad guys?
An almost all action issue, with Selina's baby once again threatened by villians- this time much more serious villians. A call to the Wayne residence for help is placed. A good issue but a bit of a retread. The ad for Black Canary 4 issue series seems great!
Catwoman #68 - I lost interest in this when Pfeiffer started building up Film Freak into a big bad. I mean, Film Freak?!? However as this issue is apparently a big deal for the book, I will take a look even if I don't buy it.
Catwoman #68 Review - Another Shot
(author) Luke Paton (date) Jun. 27, 2007 (5.06.13pm)
The concluding part to this three-issue arc of Catwoman Dies enters with a bang and goes out with a whimper. I’ve had mixed feelings about this arc so far with an uneven beginning and a storming middle, but I had hopes that this would be a fun ride, if nothing else.
It begins precisely where we left off after Catwoman #67, with Boris bashing down the door to get to Catwoman’s kid. Cut to Selina racing around town, trying to get back in time to save her. This is a fantastic way to begin – and the first splash page is a great hook. But, after this, Pfeifer seems to lose the courage of his conviction. He carefully sidesteps the issue of killing a child, by having Hammer & Tongs cop out and place little Helena in the middle of the road – hoping Selina with run her over. For me, this doesn’t work and is not a credible action for these characters. They’ve been set up as new, improved, super-strong and super-intelligent. And super-mean. I think they would have just killed her and not come up with a typical “comic book” conceit to kill the kid.
Unfortunately, this takes all the tension and drama achieved from the last issue and throws it all away. Where we once worried that the kid was gonna get it, now we know that it just isn’t going to happen. Without tension or drama, the rest of the story functions perfectly well… it’s just not as good as it could have been. There could have been real danger and menace running through this issue, forcing Selina into actions she would never normally consider – instead, we get a standard action adventure with a standard finish.
The ending itself is okay, with a nice concept introduced right at the very end involving Selina and Holly – but the way they dispose of the villains is far too easy. They barely seem to try, let alone worry for a moment, and they still come out on top. As I read the last page of the book and I saw the words “The End” on the last panel the first through that ran through my mind was “Is that it?” That’s not a good thing. At the end of the story, the reader should not be able to imagine anything more. There should be nothing you can question. That was not the case here, and is indicative of how disappointing the ending of this tale became.
That said, there were moments to enjoy, particularly the artwork by the Lopez’s and the pace of the story. Things rattle along quickly, leaving the reader no time to think or second-guess the writer. This may work against Pfeifer on the last page, but up until then it’s a quick and enjoyable ride.
As a concluding part to the arc, the book is not worth picking up if you’re just joining us. Wait for the next issue. If you want to know how it turns out, there’s no way to convince you not to buy it – and there’s no reason to discourage you. It simply would have been nice for something original to be happening here, instead of a standard action story.