Wednesday, March 26, 2014

SPOILERS: Catwoman #29

A pharmaceutical cooperation just created a new chemo drug with minimal side effects, and are having a party to celebrate being bought out by Wayne Enterprises... So naturally, Catwoman is there to steal this fancy new drug for a client.

Selina doesn't waste much time, mingling with the crowd, getting false fingerprints, and slipping away while no one is looking. Doing what she does best, Selina makes her way through the labs with ease, taking out lights, setting up looped camera feeds, avoiding lasers, all that. Once Selina makes her way into the heart of the lab, she snatches the chemo drug, along with another one (requested to be destroyed), by her client, but something goes wrong, as one of the alarms triggers, at no fault to Selina.

A young guard makes his way into the lab, telling Selina to freeze, but... that's just not going to happen. Needing to destroy the second drug, Selina distracts the guard by throwing it in his face, but when it breaks... things get a little hairy. Turns out, the drug is some sort of steroid derived from venom, so the guard hulks out, and things go from bad to worse.

Selina ends up leading crazy huge guard who wants to kill her into the banquet, and with the huge distraction, plans on using that as her escape plan, but seeing what looks to be a child getting trampled in the mass panic, Selina's better side takes over, and she draws the guard's attention away from the innocents, long enough for him to be taken down by a whole bunch of sedatives. But that doesn't change the fact that Selina did steal the chemo drug, so she still has to make an escape.

With the escape made, time to deliver the chemo drug to the client... which just so happens to be Batman. Turns out, this was this whole scheme thought up by Batman to get the steroid prototype destroyed, and since well, you know... Bruce Wayne, Batman "theorizes" that when the company starts to work for Wayne Enterprises, the R&D department that could just recreate the steroid will be reassigned to working on the chemo drug. So yep... Batman set off the alarm, wiped the system of any record of the steroid, and if anyone notices the missing files, it'll just be blamed on the thief. Selina isn't exactly happy with being used (slapping Batman) but when she thinks about it, she sees the upside to it, and now Batman owes her, and she promises she'll collect.


The Good:

This issue honestly took me by surprise. Being that it was an inventory issue, I really didn't expect a whole lot out of it, but instead, a very solid, well characterized one and done story was delivered. It's a simple heist story with a neat little twist at the end, despite it being a bit expected, but what really stands out is how well Selina was written. Through out most of the heist, Selina is very calm, confident and in control, making her way through security systems with ease, then things go bad, and despite there being an easy (selfish) way out of the situation, she puts herself in harm's way to ultimately do what's right. That's the Catwoman I love, an intelligent, in control thief with a conscious. What I also really loved about this issue is that it seemed well thought out and planned. Towards the end when things were wrapping up with Batman, I could start to see a couple of logic holes develop, but each one was addressed seemingly immediately in the next panel. Overall it just felt like a very tight issue.

The Bad:

The discarding of the steroid drug (which Selina knew nothing about) by throwing it into the face of a random security guard seemed pretty damn reckless. 

The art is nothing to write home about. It's fine and serviceable, but outside of that, nothing that really stands out in anyway.

Inner monologue was a bit plain. Way better than it's been, but just felt a little dry. Could have used a bit of flair, so to speak. 

The Bottom Line:

Everything good I said about this book is what I believe Catwoman as a character should be. The way I review books, I judge them against themselves, and unfortunately, the bar is set so low for this title, even what I see as a standard Catwoman story seems like a godsend from the comic heavens. That said, I don't mean to diminish this issue and its accomplishments, because I came away from this very pleased. This was an inventory issue, and as they should be, my expectations weren't very far past "it'll be average at best." But I was surprised by this one, and Sholly Fisch delivered a really tight, quality story that had good characterization and seemed pretty well thought out from start to finish. So, despite it being a one and done inventory issue, I'd definitely recommend this to anyone who has missed reading Catwoman for some time due to the title's current circumstances.


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