Saturday, December 31, 2011

Catwoman #3 and #4

Cover by Guillem March, Tomeu Morey

Catwoman #3 (November 16, 2011) Catwoman  #4 (December 21, 2011)
Writer: Judd Winick
Penciller: Guillem March
Colorist: Tomeu Morey
Letterer: Sal Cipriano

I was prepared to give up wholeheartedly on this Catwoman series after the debilitating awfulness of the previous two issues. Winick had managed to totally embarrass me and make me dislike one of my absolute favorite comic book characters. Perhaps because of my profound love for Selina Kyle, I found myself reluctantly picking up Catwoman #3 and Catwoman #4.

Now, these are still in no way really well written or even particularly gripping issues. The art is still rather slapdash and March’s Selina Kyle is becoming more and more cartoony. Nonetheless, they were improvements from the first two issues. By improvements, of course, I mean there weren’t any unnecessary nudity and no Batman-Catwoman sex. Other than that, the plot is thin and barely interesting.

Cover by Guillem March, Tomeu Morey
Kyle’s best friend has been rather unnecessarily murdered and she moans and groans about it for about two issues. Somehow Winick managed to make a character’s guilt over her friend’s death very annoying. I’m not saying Kyle shouldn’t be emotional but it was rather soppily overdone. Also for such a strong, vibrant character, Kyle often falls into stereotypical girlish diatribes. She’s all over the place and terribly messy.  Furthermore, Winick’s use of a death as a catalyst for Kyle’s foolhardy revenge isn’t particularly new or well drawn out here. Furthermore, Catwoman’s relationship to Batman and Gotham is rather strained. It’s almost as if Winick can’t decide if he wants to dedicate the series to only Catwoman and ignore Batman (which I would’ve been cool with) or make it clear that she exists as an enemy to Batman. The plot therefore suffers from very sloppy storytelling and embarrassing moments where Batman randomly shows up and they make out on a rooftop. It’s awful.

The art, meanwhile, is rather drastic. I understand that March is attempting to make Kyle appear catlike though she simply looks like a scrappy anime character. It’s not my style and I do question some of the physics of this art. Of course, I am not an artist so maybe I’m just letting my prejudice color my opinions. It wouldn’t be the first time.

These two issues really melded together for me, until the rather out-of-nowhere ending of #4. A new, unfamiliar villain has been introduced for really no reason. It felt as if Winick painted himself into a corner with the original revenge storyline and needed to pull something crazy out of his hat. He unfortunately tries to accomplish way too much and therefore spreads himself far too thin. The cliffhanger has definitely not gripped me and I honestly do doubt that I will pick up the next issues.

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