2008/01/08

Review CatWoman #74



CATWOMAN #74 REVIEW
Reviewer: Terry Verticchio terryvert@hotmail.com
Quick Rating: Very Good
Title: Crime Pays—Part 3

Can life get any worse for Selina? Well, unfortunately yes, they can.

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 went to the Calculator to find out just who was destroying her life, little did she know that he had set her up to be captured by that same person. The man is known only as the Thief and he’s trying to make a name for himself and what better way to do that than by taking out Gotham’s number one burglar. Naturally, Selina won’t take this lying down, but she is unaware of something else. A new set of eyes have been firmly set on taking her out and this crew may just succeed.

Okay this is another crisp and fun outing, but the one thing I enjoy the most is how during every clichéd moment that the villain uses to pontificate or just start jabbering once he has Selina down, Selina uses that moment to kick him in the face. I wish all heroes were so practical.

The art is very good. The action scenes are well done. Same old. Same old.

Well now the world is moving a mile a minute for Catwoman and I’m having fun trying to keep up.

http://www.comixtreme.com/forums/showthread.php?p=548855


Will Pfeifer's Catwoman is like an unstoppable locomotive –no matter how many obstacles DC throws on the tracks by forcing it to tie into their latest silly crossover, the title keeps chugging onwards with quality issue after quality issue. As we learned in the pages of Salvation Run #2, Selina has once again been shoehorned into DC's latest event. However, unlike in the case of Amazons Attack, where Pfeifer and artist David Lopez were able to somehow turn lead into gold by squeezing a compelling story out of that whole mess (to be fair, it was Pfeifer's mess to begin with), Pfeifer doesn't do much with this Salvation Run tie-in and merely sets up Selina's arrival on the prison planet.

What's most frustrating about this unwelcome Salvation Run tangent is its timing – Pfeifer was in the midst of telling a compelling character-driven story that pitted a grief-stricken Catwoman against Gotham's latest criminal mastermind, the Thief, a cat burglar hell-bent on disposing Selina as the city's greatest, well, thief. The first two-thirds of this recent installment plays out like previous issues of this immensely enjoyable series, with Selina struggling to get a grip on her life as the Calculator does his best to tear it to pieces. For that reason, the sudden arrival of the Suicide Squad in the book's last third left me moaning in disapproval.

Hopefully, Pfeifer and writer Bill Willingham will find a way to get Selina off of the prison planet and out of the pages of Salvation Run in a timely manner, because I'd hate to see this story shelved until after Final Crisis is over. I should say, however, that I am somewhat interested in seeing how both writers handle Selina's involvement in Salvation Run, and it'll be at the very least fun to see Pfiefer in particular get a shot at writing the large cast of colorful villains. That doesn't change the fact that I'd prefer to see Selina remain in the confines of Gotham City.

http://comics.ign.com/articles/842/842728p1.html


Catwoman #74
W: Will Pfeifer
A: David Lopez
I: Alvaro Lopez
Ed: Nachie Castro

Without a doubt Catwoman #74 was the best title that I read all week. Written by Will Pfeiffer and illustrated by David Lopez's beautifully expressive pencils, this title continues to provide high-caliber action sequences while grounding these within a relevant and affective emotional foreground. It is good to see the title this good again.

When the 2001 revamp of Catwoman first came out, I was initially nonplussed. In order to make Catwoman palatable as a protagonist, writer Ed Brubaker stripped her of her status of a thief and made her the reluctant protector of Gotham City's particularly seedy East End district. Although there's nothing wrong with this as a premise, the story took awhile to get going as Brubaker and collaborator Darwyn Cooke spent the first story arc having Catwoman (Selina Kyle) taking on a fairly disposable serial killer who preyed on prostitutes. However, the series progressed and I eventually became a devoted follower. Brubaker made Selina's connection to her side of Gotham palpable and I became generally interested in the bond Selina had with her sidekick Holly and her emotionally troubled connection with the down-on-his-luck PI Slam Bradley.

Ultimately, all the problems that faced Brubaker's tenure can be traced to a problem of momentum; he simply ran out of gas. It was good to see Catwoman rid the East End of its crime lord and heart-wrenching to see her relationship with Slam Bradley sizzle and then fizzle. But this can only happen once or twice. Catwoman can only break a man's heart so many times and introducing Bradley's son for her to have an affair with instead of Slam only feels icky as opposed to morally complicated.

Similarly, Catwoman can only free the East End so many times and new crime lords can only
try to fill the power vacuum before Catwoman really just looks inefficient. Really, all of this should happen once. After all, it's not like people are being under served in their need for crime. Are they? No, the real missed opportunity of Brubaker's tenure on Catwoman is that he did not show the problems that would have come with a successful limited crusade on crime. The logical outcome of cleaning up a small area of town is not a limitless waves of crime, but in fact gentrification. How would Catwoman have felt when the rents went up in her small part of town and the down-and-outers that she identified with and swore to protect got driven out of town because yuppies and Bruce Wayne's dinner guests started to move in? But perhaps this is too much to ask of any DC Comics's writer outside of James Robinson, and only then when he was writing Starman. No one has developed a "contexutalizing city" (to borrow Scipio's terms) to the degree that Robinson did when he wrote Starman, although Brubaker tried with some success when he had Selina and Holly go on a road trip through the various burgs of the DCU.

While the return to greatness that I mentioned at the beginning of my review has been building for quite some time, I think this issue in particular manages to serve as the highpoint for Pfeifer and Lopez's run, just as the title character is at her lowest. The depths of Selina's situation is nearly summed up at the beginning of this issue with the following recap: "Apartment? Robbed. Building? Burned. Me? Desperate. Calculator? Weasel. Coffee? Drugged? Trap? You Bet. Oh, and I almost forgot. Gun? Loaded. Definitely loaded."

Issue #74 finds Selina just after she has faked her own death, given up her baby for adoption (there are of course major safety concerns for any tot who's mother is a super-villain), and has been sold-out by a villain known as the Calculator, who has been hired by a hot-shot new talent in town known simply as "The Thief." The Thief wants to establish his cred in town by taking down Catwoman. Selina, finding herself trapped, manages to escape, get her gear, and convinces (re: threatens his death) the Calculator that he should tell her how to wage her revenge on the Thief.

However, all of this is just plot, and in the wrong hands could read as just another mechanical exercise in super hero storytelling. Where this issue manages to succeed is in marshaling the emotional forces that Brubaker had set up as a title standard in the 2001 relaunch. The first of these two scenes that really sells the issue is in when Selina cuts her hair (featured above). This act recalls the title's relaunch when Selina remakes herself as an anti-hero and defender of the East End. Here, Selina in an emotionally touching scene, remakes herself not into a hero, but into a woman without a daughter. She murders a little bit of herself, so that she can keep on living with her decision to give up Helena for adoption.

This type of pathos rises again when Selina has planned her revenge on the Thief and is about to strike. Her plan is perfectly laid out, but she is attacked by a trio of "reformed" government-sponsored super-villains before she can strike. What could read as a straightforward action scene is given weight because this comes as a particularly ignominious end to Selina's plan. Just as she's about to strike her revenge on a practicing burglar, she's arrested by fellow rogues. When told of the arrest (which involves her being drugged) she mumbles "Arrest. . .? But I'm not the one you. . ." implying that they should be going after the Thief. However, Selina and we find that neither justice nor vengeance will be fully executed that night. Selina will not have her revenge on the Thief and the Thief will not be harmed as he hastily retreats from a botched job. Instead, the already suffering Selina will pay for improprieties committed long ago.

http://needletotheeye.blogspot.com/2007/12/this-week-in-comics-3-catwoman-74.html


Catwoman #74 (Will Pfeifer-writer, David Lopez-artist)

Well, we finally find out who that weird-o leather dude at the end of the last issue is. He’s some dude calling himself “The Thief.” He’s taking advantage of the sudden vacuum in Gotham’s criminal landscape to try and make a name for himself (but, to be honest, isn’t everyone these days?). He’s fairly low-key and low-tech. He’s not as flashy as some of the crazier denizens of Gotham’s underworld. And, he wants Catwoman off the streets.

After everything that “The Thief” and Calculator did to Selina, our girl has absolutely nothing left to lose, so she goes old School Catwoman on their asses. She reverts back to her shorter hairstyle. She finds a spare cat-suit in one of the safe-houses that Holly was using during her year as Catwoman. I’m not sure how I feel about sending Selina down a darker road.

Catwoman’s always been an interesting character, especially in the Bat-books. She wasn’t insanely evil, nor was she super-noble. She was the quintessential rogue, always out for herself. That’s what made her, and her relationship with Bruce, so interesting. One month, they’re working side-by-side on a case, practically choking on the sexual tension; the next month, they’re at each other’s throats, actually choking on the sexual tension. What happens if they make Selina a real criminal again? (This seems a real possibility, since the Suicide Squad shows up at the end of this issue to haul Selina off to Salvation Run.)

http://thefaust.wordpress.com/2007/12/22/weekly-comic-review-for-121907/


CATWOMAN #74: That cover hurts my neck just to look at it. Seriously, Adam Hughes, if you're going to put Audrey Hepburn's head on Pamela Anderson's body, at least pretend there's a spine connecting them. Inside, the action scenes alternated between dynamic and a bit confusing, the plot has a few bits I can't buy, and Calculator's whole "if I'm not back at my computers in an hour, the city will lose power!" scheme for protecting himself is pretty lame (and plot-convenient). I wasn't crazy about the ending either, so I think I'm going with a high EH on this one. It had its moments, though.

http://savagecritic.com/2007/12/oy-to-world-jeff-looks-at-1219-books.html


CATWOMAN #74 -- To prove herself to the new crime lords of Gotham, Catwoman must pull off an impossible heist! Something she used to be able to do in her sleep...

http://www.richmondcomix.com/newcomix/week_in_comics.htm


Catwoman 74
Current mood: exanimate
Category: Art and Photography

Will Pfeifer's Catwoman is like an unstoppable locomotive –no matter how many obstacles DC throws on the tracks by forcing it to tie into their latest silly crossover, the title keeps chugging onwards with quality issue after quality issue. As we learned in the pages of Salvation Run 2, Selina has once again been shoehorned into DC's latest event. However, unlike in the case of Amazons Attack, where Pfeifer and artist David Lopez were able to somehow turn lead into gold by squeezing a compelling story out of that whole mess (to be fair, it was Pfeifer's mess to begin with), Pfeifer doesn't do much with this Salvation Run tie-in and merely sets up Selina's arrival on the prison planet.

What's most frustrating about this unwelcome Salvation Run tangent is its timing – Pfeifer was in the midst of telling a compelling character-driven story that pitted a grief-stricken Catwoman against Gotham's latest criminal mastermind, the Thief, a cat burglar hell-bent on disposing Selina as the city's greatest, well, thief. The first two-thirds of this recent installment plays out like previous issues of this immensely enjoyable series, with Selina struggling to get a grip on her life as the Calculator does his best to tear it to pieces. For that reason, the sudden arrival of the Suicide Squad in the book's last third left me moaning in disapproval.

Hopefully, Pfeifer and writer Bill Willingham will find a way to get Selina off of the prison planet and out of the pages of Salvation Run in a timely manner, because I'd hate to see this story shelved until after Final Crisis is over. I should say, however, that I am somewhat interested in seeing how both writers handle Selina's involvement in Salvation Run, and it'll be at the very least fun to see Pfiefer in particular get a shot at writing the large cast of colorful villains. That doesn't change the fact that I'd prefer to see Selina remain in the confines of Gotham City.

http://blog.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.ListAll&friendID=42031622