Written by Judd Winick
Illustrated by Adriana Melo
In the wake of her run-in with Batman and the loss of someone very dear to her, Catwoman turns over a new leaf. With a new attitude, a new partner and a new game plan, she embarks on a new journey: She’s stealing hot cars. The competition isn’t too happy about it, and the Gotham PD are that much closer to nailing her. There’s only one way out: Drive really, really fast.
Not all comics are meant to be Final Crisis.
I’ve been repeating this like a mantra to try and get myself in the mindset to read “Catwoman” #7. Did it work? Keep reading after the jump to find out.
I know it makes no sense to get upset over dumb comics, just like it makes no sense to get upset over dumb music or dumb movies. Sometimes greatness can come from stupidity, and sometimes what starts out as dumb moves to something more substantial in time. Plus, some people just like dumb stuff; hell, there is some dumb stuff I love unabashedly! It all has its place, even if it isn’t my particular cup of tea.
So I’m not upset that Catwoman is a dumb comic – in fact, if I expected it to be anything less than dumb, I’d be dumb. But, try as I might to treat this as a slight, simple book, I still have the sting of disappointment while reading it. For no good reason, I might add, as I have no affinity for this character, nor do I see a glaring place where this book could be improved.
Basic plot: Catwoman steals cars! Catwoman has a new partner, who is supposed to keep her in check! Cops don’t like Catwoman, but also won’t go after her! Catwoman meets a fellow thief called Spark, who is a white Black Lightning/Static Shock!
Anti-heroes are pretty played out right now, and “Catwoman” is walking the line between hero, villain, and anti-hero which, if done properly, could be fun and interesting. But instead, we are supposed to be rooting for this noble(ish) thief, without any real reason to do so. This is similar to the problems with “Red Lanterns” right now; morally ambiguous but boring characters trying to carry a book.
In fact, between “Catwoman,” “Red Lanterns,” “Suicide Squad,” “Deathstroke,” “Red Hood and the Outlaws,” and “All-Star Western,” nearly an eighth of DC’s ongoings follow some sort of anti-hero or flat out villain in the lead role. This doesn’t have to be a bad thing; “All-Star Western” is a strong title, and prior incarnations of “Suicide Squad” have been amazing – it is simply a problem with the hook of the book is just “bad guy doing good!” That is boring as shit, and gives no real reason to pick up the book.
This particular issue of “Catwoman” avoids the sexual missteps that marred its early run, but makes up for it with some broad Greek stereotypes early on. What’s the matter Judd, have a bad gyro lately? I really don’t see why the character needed to be either Greek or mocked, but hey, he’s got to make up for the lack of superhero sex in this issue (it is only referenced once).
What he doesn’t have to make up for is the abundance of prostitutes in this comic. There are thirteen speaking characters in this issue, and four of them are prostitutes. Two are hired as accessories to car theft, and two are abducted by a dude in a van. I know that Catwoman is part of the underbelly of Gotham, but this seems a bit much.
Winick is such a frustrating writer because of the rather large gap between his good work and his bad work. Just in the last few years, he was doing a fine job on both “Power Girl” and “Justice League: Generation Lost,” while doing incredibly mediocre work on “Batman.” Right now, his “Batwing” is a surprisingly effective book, while “Catwoman” is the definition of disposable. What is even more surprising is that Winick has always been a pretty socially conscious writer, bringing in one of the first openly gay supporting characters in a mainstream comic on his “Green Lantern” run. How does that guy write such vapid and insulting women in “Catwoman?”Continued below
The art, by fill-in artist Adriana Melo is pleasant enough – she does a fine job of bringing some joy to Catwoman’s facial expressions while she’s having a ball stealing stuff (or even talking about stealing stuff). She manages to stay away from the real cheesecake styling that is so easy to fall into with Catwoman, but doesn’t exactly draw her puritanically either.
Overall, this book just feels like an afterthought – especially after the fantastic “Penguin: Pain and Prejudice” book, which took a Batman villain, fleshed him out and gave him a great story. This just seems like it’s trying to fill the sexy female quota for the New 52, and does so in the laziest way possible. Winick can do so much better than this – hell, he IS doing so much better than this in “Batwing.” And until the stories move up the chain from vapid to at least mildly interesting, that will be the only Winick book worth purchasing.
Final Verdict: 3.1 – Use as kitty litter.