Review CatWoman #72

Reviewer: Terry Verticchio
Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Crime Pays—Part One
Well Selina Kyle is ‘dead’, but that doesn’t mean all of Catwoman’s troubles are behind her.
Writer: Will Pfeifer
Pencils: David Lopez
Inks: Alvaro Lopez
Colours: Jeromy Cox
Letters: Jared K. Fletcher
Cover artist: Adam Hughes
Editor: Nachie Castro
Publisher: DC Comics
Selina is still having bad dreams. Even after being ‘killed’ last issue, she still sees all of her enemies coming for her and attacking her through her daughter Helena. So she goes asks Bruce for another favour, one that will hopefully but her mind to rest. But it doesn’t. And so that’s where Zatanna comes in. Selina wants to forget everything and even become a villain again.
Wow, if there is one put upon character in the DCU it has to be Selina Kyle. Will Pfeifer steps all over poor Selina and then he kicks in the head at the end. But it’s all great. I really feel for Selina, her pain and sacrifice is palpable indeed.
Again this issue isn’t very action packed. But the images were clean and crisp and the emotion put into Selina is real.
I think next month we might be moving on to more old-school action. But for a while there at least, Selina Kyle was truly a normal human being. Alas, we all knew it wouldn’t last.

NEWSARAMA > TALK@Newsarama > DC Comics
Catwoman #72 (major spoilers)
Wow, this is the best issue of Catwoman I've read in a long time!
The story begins like this:
A drunk, depressed Selina's sitting high atop a Gotham rooftop, and calls Zatanna for help. She relates the story of how Helena is gone from her life.
After the incidents of last issue, Selina visited Bruce in the cave and confessed to killing Black Mask. He knows, but accepts what she did as protecting the innocent. Selina tells him that Helena is innocent and looks at the Jason Todd memorial, noting kids aren't safe in their world.
Bruce helps Selina give Helena up for adoption. Depressed, Selina wants Zatanna to erase her memories of Helena, and also undo the mindwipe. Zatanna reveals she didn't really mindwipe Selina--she just nudged her in the right direction. She was already headed down a good path. Every decision Selina made was hers and not the product of a spell. Zatanna also implores Selina not to erase her memories of Helena--Helena deserves more than that.
Selina agrees and takes off into the night. Zatanna casts a spell that makes Selina dream of Helena. When she wakes up, her apartment's been stripped bare and she escapes just before a bomb goes off.
So this issue was a major pay off for about 2 years' worth of story: Helena is out of the picture. Bruce knows Selina killed Black Mask and it hasn't strained their relationship. And most importantly, the mindwipe didn't really happen, at least not in the way we thought.
All in all, a fantastic issue with more amazing art from the Lopez brothers. Now I'm excited to see where the new "bad" Catwoman goes.

Catwoman - #72 - Everything leading up to this issue has been misleading. XD The obvious DOES NOT HAPPEN. Even tho some of it does. :( Hopefully this wun lead to a very cliche plot happening in the future. :\ Sadly b/c nothing of note rly happens this issue feels very fillerish. :\ Other than some dialogue between Batman and Catwoman, it feels like a lull between plots but there's not a lot of real characterization either. :\ I was hoping for more but I was also fearful of more, so it's good that my fears didn't come true? XD Still I dun think it's that great an issue. :( 2/5

Catwoman #72 Review
DC's most consistly enjoyable title rattles on
by Dan Phillips

IGN Rating Scale
0.0 = WTF?
0.1 - 0.9 = Worthless
1.0 - 1.9 = Abysmal
2.0 - 2.9 = Terrible
3.0 - 3.9 = Awful
4.0 - 4.9 = Poor
5.0 = Meh
5.1 - 5.9 = Mediocre
6.0 - 6.9 = Passable
7.0 - 7.4 = Decent
7.5 - 7.9 = Good
8.0 - 8.4 = Impressive
8.5 - 8.9 = Great
9.0 - 9.4 = Outstanding
9.5 - 9.9 = Incredible
10.0 = Masterful

For the past few years, Will Pfeifer's Catwoman has been a consistent mainstay in my comic pile, a monthly title that I can always rely on to deliver engaging storytelling and pitch perfect characterization. Pfeifer has maintained the high quality of this series by keeping the focus squarely on the dichotomy between Selina's dual lives as a mother and the East End's resident guardian, and that struggle plays out in a more definitive and emotional way than we've seen thus far throughout Pfeifer's fantastic run. The result is a heart-wrenching story about a mother's desire to protect her daughter at all costs, and Selina once again comes off as one of the most relatable and sympathetic characters in superhero comics. It also appears like Pfeifer is using this tragic new turn in Catwoman's life to open the door for the character's return to villainy, and it's refreshing to see him build the foundation for this new path on emotion and characterization as opposed to, oh I don't know, a stupid personality-altering spell by Zatanna.
As he's done so many times in previous issues, Pfeifer also provides possibly the most convincing take on the newer, more sympathetic Batman we've seen from any writer thus far, painting Bruce Wayne as a genuine, caring protector of the innocent as opposed to a psychopathic jerk in tights. It's equally remarkable how Pfeifer is able to use Batman as a supporting character without making DC's most recognizable and popular hero dominate every scene in which he appears; it's a testament to both Catwoman's development as a character and Pfeifer's ability as a writer that our primary focus and concern always remains on Selina whenever she shares a panel with the Dark Knight. I'd absolutely love to see Pfeifer take on a Batman book - as long as he remained on this book, of course.
On a final note, kudos to artist David Lopez for taking a script with almost no action and turning it into a riveting page-turner. Lopez makes each of these conversational scenes as engaging as any superhero slugfest, providing twenty-two pages of the finest kind of emotionally charged storytelling. With these two creators clicking so effortlessly and consistently churning out top-notch work, it's a damn fine time to be a Catwoman fan. And from the looks of it, it's only going to get better.

Another Take
from Jesse Schedeen
I'll agree that Catwoman has been consistently good for a while, even as it has also been consistently ignored by most DC readers. It's a shame, because, as Dan points out, it does a lot of things better than the various Batman books do, particularly with the portrayal of the kinder, gentler Bruce Wayne we were supposed to be getting after Infinite Crisis. Moreover, Catwoman rides high over the rest of the street level crime books at DC, with only series like Manhunter and the odd issue of Detective Comics ever providing much competition.
As much as I'm currently enjoying Catwoman, I do feel a bit concerned over the direction DC seems to be steering Selina Kyle in. It's no spoiler to say she seems headed back towards villain territory. I, like many readers, have greatly enjoyed following Selina over the past few years as she's morphed from career criminal to devious anti-hero to reluctant do-gooder. I'm not sure I'm ready for a return to crime. One of the biggest travesties to occur in the Bat books in the last couple years concerns Harvey Dent. I was pleasantly surprised to see an unscarred Dent appear in the pages of the “Hush” storyline. While Dent stayed hidden for another three years, I was even more pleasantly surprised to see him reappear as Gotham's newest defender in James Robinson's “Face the Face” storyline. Unfortunately, by the end of that arc Dent was essentially back to square one.
I'm not saying former villains can't or shouldn't return to villainy, but at the very least I want the journey to happen in due course. From what I've read of Will Pfeifer's Catwoman work, I don't think this will be a major problem. He's put too much time and effort into Selina Kyle's story to just yank the rug out from under us. If you're not reading the book, hop on board with issue #71 and see why I, Dan, and the rest of the Catwoman fans enjoy this series so much.
Jesse's Score: 8.4
IGN's Ratings for Catwoman #72
out of 10
click here for ratings guide
(out of 10 / not an average)

17 October 2007
Babies in Refrigerators
By: Alex Zalben
If you're regularly reading Lying in the Gutters, and you should be, you might have caught this item:
Catwoman. She's was a villain, then an anti-heroine but of late she's been a bit too much of a hero. That's all changing. The current arc "Mother's Day" will see something very unfortunate happen to her daughter, Helena, which will tip Selina back over to the dark side. It's time for Catwoman to be a bad girl again. How small do they make refrigerators?
Catwoman writer Will Pfeifer has taken the time to respond over on his blog, saying:
"There's been some speculation about this issue on the Interweb, and all I can say, is give it a read before you make your mind up about it. Not everything you read online is 100 percent accurate, you know. Still, the attention is always nice."
Having read the issue, I can say that Johnston is being a bit of a tease, as usual. The issue is heartbreaking, but not in the way he seems to suggest. I'm not usually a reader of Catwoman, but I think this is a great issue to check out, and a good jumping on point. Catwoman #72 hits stands today...

Catwoman 72
I got sucker punched by this. I knew Selina was giving up Helena. It was so logical. I thought she'd get Zatanna to wipe her memory of Helena. So far, I was batting a thousand. Then Zee talked her out of it, and told her, when Selina asks to have her mind restored to her bad gal self, that she'd already been on the path to good. The scenes with Zee and Selina were emotionally wrought and I loved Zee sitting in mid-air while they talked. And she gave her the gift of a dream. This was powerful stuff. And seeing a version of a grown-up Helena was wonderful. Oh, and Robin watching Helena so Selina and Bruce could talk, via flashback, was cute. So, what leads Selina down the dark path broadly hinted at in the Countdown promos? That's where the sucker punch comes in. Selina waking up in a completely empty apartment except for the blanket she's lying on and a bomb. Wow. Talk about "can't wait to find out what happens next" moments. Oh, and another awesome AH! cover. Hughes draws emotions like no one else. And his characters look real.

Catwoman #72 - Pfeifer…man…no matter how much I wanna leave this title you keep sucking me in with your writing. Another great issue. Selena decides the only way for her child to have a safe life is by giving her up to others, not in the type of life she’s in. Selena, gets help from Bruce to help make arrangements and though she knows what she did was probably right…feels so horrible she asks Zatanna to make her forget about her child. There are nice little moments throughout this story, Selena has flashes of what life with her daughter, grown-up, would be like, and it’s just told in a very unique way…the writings got a feel that’s great but hard to describe I guess. I had one problem with this story…not even so much a problem just my own views on Batman’s personality. I have a problem with the fact that Batman is somewhat alright with Selena killing a Black Mask.
When has Bruce…ever…EVER cut anybody slack for killing a villain…just saying…it’s funny how everything is all OK, when it involves a past lover…grrr. Lopez art has really grown on me, it fits this title well. For those that thought this series was cancelled (and apparently there are these people), start picking up this title.

Catwoman #72 – Selina Kyle has managed to let the world think she is dead. The last issue implied she was also giving up her baby and that just leaves her as Catowman. This has been a terrific series and Catwoman continues to be one of DC’ s most consistent series.

Catwoman #72 - Very good issue – sad and poignant story about Selina giving up her baby.

CATWOMAN #72 - I was really impressed with this issue. In my previews, I was concerned they might try and use Zatanna to mind wipe the baby and all character development over the past several years away in favour of some editorial mandated decision. What we got was a great tale that showed how much Selina has changed and how much she cared about her child. It was both sad and heart felt and one of the best issues in a long time. Sad to see the baby go, but there's hope we'll see her again in the future.
Verdict - Must Read

Review by Binkley (e-mail)
There really is nothing surprising in this issue; it seemed fairly obvious a while ago that Selina was going to give up her baby, so seeing it happen is just the culmination of what Pfeifer has been writing since the One Year Later leap. What makes this issue work, however, is Pfeifer’s characterization of Selina after giving up her baby. Being a parent is not easy; it involves contradictory set of emotions. You want to be the one to protect them, guide them, and nurture them. But on the other hand, you need to step back and let them develop on their own, to allow them to make their own mistakes and learn from them without their parent’s interference. As a parent, you want to hold on tight, but at the same time you know you must let go. This conflicting emotion shines through in this issue, showing how much it hurts Selina to let go even though she knows it was the right thing to do. It is gut-wrenching to read this issue and in this case, that is a good thing.
The key to the issue, however, is that Pfeifer manages to avoid using Zatanna as a way to reboot the Catwoman character while at the same time actually managing to reboot the character. It would be easy for Zatanna to wipe Selina’s mind, which would allow Pfeifer to start anew with any baggage. But with Zatanna’s refusal and then the bomb, Pfeifer manages to get Selina where he needs her to be without sacrificing the character that he has written so well for the past several years. It shall be interesting to see where this leads...
The previous issue was a titled “Mother’s Day, Part 1” but there was no Part 2 as this issue is called “Crime Pays, Part 1”. Obviously this is some kind of mistake, but is the title to this one a mistake or should the previous not have been labeled as part 1?

Catwoman #72
Cover by Adam Hughes
“Even with a high degree of visual complexity, Hughes delivers a cover that challenges the viewer not to look. The two sides of Catwoman—the happy-go-lucky thief and the tortured soul—are represented as posters in the hands of Zatanna. The expressions he manages to capture are amazing. Anchoring the piece is the ridiculously sexy image of Zatanna. As a female superhero costume, a top hat, tuxedo jacket and fishnets are quite the statement. Ooph.”

The first of the unbelievably excellent comics this week is, perhaps not surprisingly, Catwoman. A different commenter on this here blog (in the same thread on which I was insulted!) called Pfeifer “mediocre,” but I can’t believe that person has read this comic. Despite Pfeifer’s attempts to defend Amazons Attack! and the fallout from that ill-conceived series, Catwoman just keeps getting better. In this issue, Selina decides that she simply can’t keep Helena anymore because of the danger. She calls on Zatanna to make her forget about Helena, telling her in flashback about her appeal to Bruce Wayne to set up an adoption for Helena. Again, we see that Pfeifer gets Bruce. Selina confesses that she killed Black Mask, and Bruce tells her that he knew - of course he knew! He tells her that he didn’t take her down because what she did protected the innocent, even though he disagrees with her methods. Bruce is angry at Selina, but he realizes why she did it. He helps her, of course, and when Selina gives up her baby, her devastation is palpable, and López’s wonderful full-page panel showing her collapsed on the floor is brilliant. And then, Zatanna’s “gift” to Selina is fantastic, too. This is a heart-breaking issue, but it follows logically from what has come before. Pfeifer recently adopted a daughter, and he writes a very good parent - both Selina and Bruce, as Tim’s “father.” He also does a nice job with Helena telling Tim his costume is “wed,” and then repeating it over and over. Yes, that’s what small children do.
The big debate about whether Selina will become “evil” again rears its head, but she’s not becoming “evil” just for the hell of it, so I doubt it’s going to take. However, Selina is going someplace not very nice, and I’m looking forward to it. It’s an excellent comic book.

Saturday, October 20, 2007
Catwoman #72
Writer: Will Pfeifer
Artist: David Lopez
Arc: Crime Pays (Part 1)
I think I might be hooked on Catwoman. I love comics where there is a strong emotional presence on each page (see my Four Women review as a good example). Bendis added emotion to each page of Daredevil with perfection. Pfeifer isn't that good, but he is good enough. Catwoman has a child, and it isn't easy for her. This issue looks more into what steps Selina has to do to ensure her child remains safe. Catwoman is stressed and worried, and it shows through out the entire comic. You can feel her pain as she tries to protect her daughter from unknown threats. Selina asks friends for help, and she just seems so vulnerable opening up herself to other people. Don't worry action fans, there is a nice cliffhanger at the end of the comic. One of the major differences between this emotion driven Catwoman and Daredevil is the art. Maleev could draw Daredevil in such a way that if you hadn't read an issue you'd know what the guy was feeling. Lopez does a better job here than he did in the last issue, but he still doesn't convey the amount of emotion that Pfeifer needs.
Plot: 4
Catwoman having a child is putting her through the ringer emotionally, and it makes for a very solid comic book.
Story Arc: 4
This is the beginning of a new story arc which doesn't get started until the last couple of pages, but Selina's child plot line gets pushed heavily here.
Lasting Appeal: 3
It is a good read, but not good enough to bring me back.
Anticipation: 4
There is a cliffhanger here, and it is good.
Art: 3
A better job than last time with portraying emotion but not there yet.
Overall: Mighty

Catwoman #72 -- And creators wonder why readers don't believe they're really going to do anything different... this issue reverses everything that made the recent run of Catwoman so interesting and unusual. Baby? Given away. New identity? Lost in a drunken haze. Stand-alone stories? Let's truck in Zatanna and yet another Identity Crisis reference. Life in her neighborhood? Blown up with a convenient bomb. Complicated morality? Replaced with a vengeful vow to quit being a good guy. Looks like next issue, we're back to a simple anti-hero with no family ties and nothing complicated. Borrrrrrrring.
Oh, and at her turning point, Catwoman in the Batcave stares at the costume of a dead Robin, talking about how their lives aren't safe for kids, at the same time she's ignoring the live one babysitting her daughter. Why is absolutely no one in the DCU optimistic any more? I don't want to rate this, because I get tired of marking most superhero books Eh, but that's my overall take on them. They don't aim for much, and they achieve it.

Catwoman #72
Yup, this was one of the tear jerkers this week. Does it require having kids of your own to cry at this issue? I’ve heard, no, but I’m just wondering.
I came into this story knowing I was going to hate it, and it was going to be a total cop-out. Piled on with Black Canary giving up her daughter for the greater good (read: lazy writing) it was just going to be too much for me to bear in a short period of time. At least it would provide a clean break for the title, I thought.
In reality: wow, Pfeiffer takes it to the edge of that story and then made it something else. Something altogether better and less of a comic book. It’s still a cop out, even Pfeiffer isn’t so good to dodge that bullet for DC. But what he did: forcing Selina to remember and to make up her own mind about whether to stay on the side of the angels was spot on.
Unless Pfeiffer continues to write this, I find it likely I will quit on Catwoman for the time being. It seems like Will was just tidying up his run and letting the next body come on and regress Selina back to the skanky badguy she used to be (or the morally gray Outsider that I wasn’t too keen on either). Isn’t it okay if just one character changes every once in awhile? Or is that only good for Green Arrow?
Applause to you Will Pfeiffer, it’s been a hell of a run, and you made me all weepy.

$2.99 - Very fearful of the giant Reset button being punched soon.

Pretty much all good:
Art and story. Fun Robin. Appreciated visual representation of the real difficulties of identity falsifying. Emotional parting splash! The mindwipe angle. Batman and Zatanna roles played. The dreams 'and maerd'. The mystery of who would do that at the end.
-the implied SPOILER foreshadowing of this arc having read the new BATO#1
-that Canary/Arrow more or less JUST did this plot idea with Sin
-don't know anything about Chateau Le Pin Pomerol but dislike another recent issue that has Zatanna considered an aloholic (drinker not drunk)
-unclarity of the coincidence that the thief took advantage of a spell induced sleep (would Zatanna be that careless again?) or if the thief was THAT good
-the debatable (though story touching) crime confession (though story effective) that Batman uncharacteristically felt better overlooked

Sunday, October 21, 2007
Feeling Mixed Emotions: Catwoman #72
Catowman #72
Originally uploaded by Heidi Meeley
If making a reader feel uncomfortable and upset is a writing feat, Will Pfeifer has scored a home run with me. Catwoman #72 broke my heart. After seeing Selina reach for the heights of goodness as a new mother to knowing that she is destined to go back to a life of crime, my emotions ran the gamut.
Adam Hughes' amazingly fitting cover and David Lopez' incredible interiors only served to heighten my already distraught feelings. Selina's feelings of helplessness and her ultimate decision put me on a roller coaster ride.
At the end of this issue, part of me was furious. How dare Pfeifer do this to Selina? After all she went through to become a mommy and the nostalgia of her feelings for the father, it flat hurt to watch her do what she did. How is Slam going to feel?
The writing is on the wall and on the "...and evil shall inherit the earth" poster. Selina is going to be a criminal again. It makes me sick and it disgusts me but I know I will continue to pick up the book to witness the journey. I care about the character and want the best for her, so knowing that she is going back to her old ways is sad.
Is it strictly plot license or is it a more permanent change? Only time will tell. This is one time that I am willing to sit back and buy a ticket for the ride.
Posted by Heidi Meeley at 5:17 PM

Nick said...
No matter what people may think, Pfeifer can write a good story, even if it does tear at your heart.
Selina did the right thing though.
6:46 AM

Heidi Meeley said...
Nick, I have to agree. A story that can get me this worked up has to be at least partially because of the excellent execution of it!
My heart aches for Selina, as giving up a child would be the hardest thing I could ever think of doing. Was it right? Probably. Do I like it. Nope.
Great writing and great art. Tough story to take.
8:08 PM

Melchior del Darién said...
Yeah, CW #72 broke my heart, too, especially due to the care that the artist has been taking to provide Helena with "realistic" facial expressions and reactions since she showed up OYL.
On the meta/big picture side, though, my emotions were undercut somewhat because I could kind of see this coming, and the baby was being deployed as a plot complication that needed to be resolved somehow down the line ...
My feeling is that it would have been worthwhile to see Selina be both a (good) mother and Catwoman. Since the DC folks made the decision for her to have a child, I think they should have followed through with the concept and allowed us to read stories about a smart, talented, modern woman doing her job (kicking evil doers' asses) and raising her daughter, too.
3:52 PM

Heidi Meeley said...
Melchior, you said it so well here. It cuts both ways. I would have loved to have Selina be a mom for a bit longer, but I do prefer this solution to having Helena die. That would have made me furious!!
Your comment made me smile because I feel so similarly.
8:31 PM