Wednesday, October 22, 2014

SPOILERS: Catwoman #35

SURPRISE! Selina Kyle... eerrrrr, Calabrese, is running Gotham's underworld! When did that happen? Hell if I know, but it's pretty gooooooood.

The Spoilers:

Well, it didn't take long, last week Selina was accepting her position in the family she didn't need, and now she and a couple of her newly discovered cousins are putting the beat down to some low level scouts trying to get one over on the Calabrese family and her operations.

After the minor altercation, Selina and her cousins, brother and sister Nick and Antonia, head back to her new home where they meet with representatives of each of the crime families where Selina lays out her plan to help rebuild the city, thus benefiting all the families, calling it an "investment." First order of business is to sell a shit ton of guns, which sounds counterproductive, but Selina's angle is that she's getting them out of Gotham. To do this, she's going to need to use the port that's controlled by the Hasigawa family, aka the Yakuza who aren't part of her little coalition. 

Selina visits the Yakuza, making sure to show plenty of respect and make her official request. While there, she takes a notice of the boss's daughter, Eiko, whose father claims she is not part of the family business. Selina notices that Eiko's tattoo is unfinished which is odd for someone of Yakuza lineage, and makes sure to keep her in mind.

That night, there's a big gala held for some jewelry making its way through the high society crowds. Being the boss of Gotham now, Selina is invited and has plenty of people sucking up to her... as well as watching her, one of which is Batman. She heads to a balcony to speak with him, and he does his usual "you're in too deep" but Selina counters back saying they're far past speaking about that sort of stuff, heads back inside and goes home. 

Outside the Gala, Black Mask and a crew of his guys are out robbing limos, which seems a little low for him, until someone who might be Nick offers to sell him back his "view."

As the issue closes, Selina looks back on her old life as Catwoman, then heads outside for some alone time, where she sees someone who looks to be Catwoman watching her from a far away rooftop.


The Review:

Long story short, this book has gone from being anything but readable to entirely readable in the span of a single issue. So that base level of quality should probably just go without saying, no need to bring what was back up.

So, with that aside, let's get into specifics. This was Genevieve Valentine's first written comic and it doesn't show! By that, I mean you'd almost expect to see a few flaws one might expect from someone whose writing their first comic, be it pacing or jarring transitions. Granted, Valentine isn't without writing experience, but it's not out of the ordinary for someone who has other writing experience to have general growing pains when moving to comics. Everything was structured well, flowed nicely from scene to scene, and worked. If there was one thing I thought was missing, it was a bit more of a unique voice to Selina. All her monologue made sense in context to what's happening, but it just sort of sounded like someone talking, rather than Selina Kyle. I'd just expect some more flourish, or sophisticated wit to her voice. Perhaps Valentine will get a better hold of that as she goes on, or perhaps not, because whose to say what Selina's voice really is in The New 52? It's been wildly inconsistent to begin with, so maybe they just set a course and stick with it here.

Another possible element to Valentine's first time comic success is the fact that she was paired up with a vet on the art side. Garry Brown provides a strong backbone to this story, perfectly conveying the noir-like crime setting direction this book has taken, complimented with Lee Loughridge's great color pallet that really nails that crime story feel home.

My only legitimate problem with this issue isn't really anyone's fault, it's just the fault of circumstance. There just feels like there's so much missing between Batman Eternal #28 and this issue. A lot has clearly happened, lots of new characters are introduced, Selina's already at the top and we see none of that. I feel Eternal could have set this up a little earlier rather than literally waiting until the week before, so some of these elements could be set up more naturally instead of just going "UUUUUH, SELINA IS THE BOSS NOW GO!" And then on this book's side of things, with the impending whatever-the-fuck is happening thing in April/Man, it's not like it has a lot of time to go at its own pace to set things up. 

While the circumstances surrounding this issue and how it came to be are a little less than ideal, Valentine and Brown make the absolute best out of a not-so-but-still-kinda-bad situation and hit the ground running with a Catwoman book unlike one we've ever seen. Earlier in the day, editor Mark Doyle tweeted out saying that this was the most Vertigo like book he's edited recently (he used to be a Vertigo editor prior to the Bat gig) and that's really the best way to describe this book now. The look and tone, all scream Vertigo, and given that it's a regular DC title, that means it instantly stands out amongst the crowd in a great way. 

1 comment :

  1. I like that they referenced Machiavelli because that is how I would describe Selina's monologue's right now.