Inconsistent. That’s how I would describe this issue. It’s inconsistent in art as well as story, which is a shame because I wanted Winick’s run on “Catwoman” to go out with a bang.
Let’s start with the artwork by Adriana Melo, who has filled in for March before but now March is gone for good and he’s a rather tough act to follow. Just as before, Melo’s Catwoman can be a bit…well, ugly. The opening page is probably the best example of this:
She’s a real butterface there (nice body… but her face) but in later pages she seems cute again, then she has a very round doll-like face, then she has pronounced cheekbones, then she has really large doe-eyes, then she doesn’t, etc. etc. Her face is constantly changing but her cup-size always remains the same: massive. Everybody else looks alright though. Selina’s ever-changing face is the only real drawback to the art (well, there’s also an awkward body slam/behind the back/pelvic thrust maneuver that’s very awkward looking and a scene where Catwoman visits one of the most luxurious apartments in Gotham but to me it just looks like any other apartment only with more curtains). If you can get past looking at a Catwoman with a porn star’s body and your grandmother’s head then the art is sufficient enough. But man, the whole cowl and goggles Catwoman outfit when done wrong looks like Selina is wearing prescription lenses and a shower cap.
As for the story here…well it starts off a bit extreme. Right from the get-go the usually cool and logical Detective Carlos Alvarez smashes up his entire kitchen while Catwoman simply wants to talk to him. Although I get that he’s surprised that she’s in his home and he’s been trying to catch her for several issues now it was made pretty clear early on when he let her escape from jail that he empathized with her and understood she wasn’t a threat to anyone’s life–especially his own. The scene just played out like action for the sake of having some action and it slowed down the book greatly. Which is odd because while this scene drags things out, others rapidly amp things up! Like I said, it’s an inconsistent read.
Take the villain, Dollhouse, for example. She’s been real cool about capturing junkies and prostitutes, people who the Gotham PD won’t set up any road blocks for if they go missing. In the lair where she keeps them all happy and comfortable, she’s set up numerous cameras to monitor them 24/7 to ensure their health and peace of mind while she makes plans to harvest their organs. It’s a pretty solid operation except for the creepy van and the grim reaper getup that she wears out on the town. Being a bit less menacing looking when she sets out to abduct these people would probably go a long way toward never getting caught. Ever.
I mean, you go through all this trouble to pick the proper targets and then build a facility that makes them feel safe but when you go out to snatch them you drive a rape van and dress like the hunchback of Notre Dame on meth– what’s that about? Why is that necessary?
But anyway, looking past that it seemed after the last issue that Dollhouse was pretty well organized. But suddenly, in the first page of this issue she shows up with a major problem in which one of her captives has killed himself in a very gruesome fashion and I have to ask: where was she when this happened? Why wasn’t she watching him when this happened when everything we were shown in the last issue demonstrated a character of supreme vigilance and attention to detail?
It felt like there was something bigger planned, but now some sort of twist has to be thrown in so we can wrap things up neatly next month before a new writer takes over the series. Something had to occur to make the villain act sloppy and become catchable, otherwise we would’ve had to watch Catwoman, Spark, and Alvarez work to uncover a real mystery over a few issues rather than just have them spot the bad guy on the street like they do in this book’s final pages. It’s just too convenient.
But even though that’s the sort of excuse I come up with for that scene, the very next page brings up Catwoman’s fence, Gwen, and a whole new subplot that there’s no way can be wrapped up in the next issue and would have to be handled by the next writer or dropped entirely! So…I don’t know. It’s structured goofy.
The final scene starts out intense enough and builds well with some clever surprises but in the end the villain becomes so reckless and stupid that I don’t see how catching her will be any sort of challenge at all. SHOW SPOILER ▼This is an issue that leaves me far less excited for the conclusion of the Dollhouse arc and more interested in what the new writer can bring to the table come issue #0.