Catwoman: Judd Winick, Adriana Melo, Julio Ferreira, Tomeu Morey, Carlos M. Mangual, Guillem March
The beginning of this issue is pure brilliance. Actually, the entire issue is brilliance, but it’s the beginning pages that really catch my eye. Catwoman is left at the scene of the kidnapping, surrounded by a bunch of street kids knocked out from Dollhouse’s darts. Does she panic? Kinda, but it’s a controlled panic. Catwoman’s been in worse binds, she can handle it.
Catwoman concocts a plan to have Batman track her to Dollhouse’s location, while she follows a signal left by Detective Alvarez. We finally get the whole picture on Dollhouse, as well, as she - yes, she - explains what she’s up to. You know? I dig what Winick’s been able to do with this book’s villains. We’ve had two really big women come up against Catwoman: first Reach, and now Dollhouse. Both had a huge physical advantage over Catwoman. She also went up against male foes like the Talon and those mob folk from earlier in the series. She’s been pushed to her limits.
We find out that the people Dollhouse keeps around ARE dead, and they ARE stationary. Dollhouse calls them her toys that she uses to create whole worlds. She’s pretty crazy. And, before, when the villain was introduced, I thought the name and character was too close to Dollmaker from Detective Comics’ earlier issues. I was turned off by that, thinking Winick unoriginal. Well…turns out he’s brilliant. Because that was on purpose, and it’s explained in this ish.
Adriana’s art is very good here. It’s actually a complete mystery on how it looks like this here, but then like something completely different in Catwoman #0. Okay, I’m not naive. I know that artists can change styles, and perhaps she’s trying to emulate March here. But why couldn’t she keep doing that after the creative team change? I love the way she makes the batmobile look. It’s quite badass.
The end with Batman and Alvarez is probably my favorite part of the issue, with how they’re talking about Catwoman. It just felt very natural, despite Batman’s propensity for being the strong, silent type. Then, following that, we get an even stronger ending with Gwen and Spark. However, this doesn’t feel like the originally intended ending…and I think it has to do with the team change coming in #13. Part of me thinks Winick was told to wrap everything up, and so he did. Granted, he did it with style, and it works very well…but I’m seriously wanting more out of it. It makes me sad, and I feel bad for Winick if my hunch is correct.
The only thing that bugged me was how the bat-signal part worked. If Spark broke the glass, then how did the spray paint thing work? What did he spray it on? And how did the light still work? I was just confused about that. Is there a translucent sheet of metal beneath the glass that he painted on? If so, that much wasn’t clear and I was stuck wondering how that happened. The cat picture is quite adorable, though.
Catwoman #12, the verdict: If this doesn’t feel like the end of an era, I don’t know what does. I’m really, really upset at how perfectly this issue is executed. It was action-packed, the stakes felt high, and it was definitely a final-act feeling issue with Catwoman facing off against Dollhouse. The reason I’m so sad and angry about it is because of how it all means nothing now to the story of Catwoman with the upcoming team change. It’s Legion Lost all over again. Fabian Nicieza’s run was completely trampled and ruined by the new team. Nocenti, now, is basically rewriting as she sees fit. The tease for issue #13 says, literally, “the true origin of Selina Kyle is revealed!” As if Judd Winick were lying to us this whole time, and good ol’ Ann’s come along to set the record straight. She’s not here to fool us. What-the-f*#$-ever.
(Photo Source: Comic Vine)