Unlike with issue #0, I didn’t walk away from this comic angry. Instead I feel very, very confused. I know I risk sounding like an idiot here, but I have no idea what I just read.
Those who follow me on Twitter know that I’ve been battling insomnia for a week or so and ramble on with food tips (put potato chips on a sandwich) and movie recommendations (everyone should see Bubba Ho-Tep) at 4 and 5 in the morning, but I don’t think that I can blame my lack of sleep for how poorly I grasp what happened in issue #13 of Catwoman.
Joker apparently stole a teddy bear and robot toy from Catwoman’s best friend’s apartment a few months ago just so he can attach the bear to a balloon and thoroughly freak Catwoman out. Okay, fine. But then she’s running on a giant chessboard and finding the robot toy which is now Godzilla sized and there’s a Cheshire Cat poster on the wall and…I’m pretty sure at this point that this is one big dream sequence or she’s been gassed by Joker but then we see that these items are on Catwoman’s mantle the next day and I guess that it all really did happen! Selina simply found herself in some David Lynch world for a few hours last night.
From there the story started to feel more like what Judd Winick had established over the past year with many of the same themes. There’s a flashback to Selina and her old friend, references to Selina’s reckless nature, discussion with her fence about an upcoming job, etc. And at this point I thought I was in the clear but then she started talking about how much she hates skin. What? Oh! The bucket of chicken on the previous page, that skin!
After all that its off to meet the mystery man about the upcoming job. A chess club! That’s an interesting backdrop for a scene like this, well done! I wonder what– seriously? What the hell is she doing sitting at a chess table by herself while wearing full Catwoman attire and a hoodie? Does she really think that the hoodie is making her less conspicuous inside of the chess club? Whatever. The guy explains the heist but its…I don’t know. It sounds like he wants her to kill someone but he doesn’t, he just wants her to steal something– a giant chess piece like the one from the very start of the book only the chess piece has a person in it but there’s another piece as well and it has a bomb or something…
I don’t know! I. Don’t. Know.
On a positive note, the art looks fantastic. This is the debut of Rafa Sandoval as the New 52 Catwoman artist and he makes a great fit. There’s a shot of a firey explosion that was particularly impressive (really good smoke). And it’s also worth noting that he doesn’t try to overly sexualize the character. She’s not shoving her bum in everyone’s face and she actually zips up her costume before heading out on a job. I really dig what Rafa is doing on this title and I hope he sticks around, it’s just a shame that the script he is drawing from is so awful.
And don’t pick this up just because it’s part of the crossover event. I know it has the flashy die-cut cover and says it’s a prelude to Death of the Family, but other than a couple of silhouettes in the opening pages (which you can see for free at the DC website) the Joker adds nothing to this story nor does Catwoman’s heist influence anything in the Death of the Family arc.
As good as the artwork is, I found the comic to be totally incoherent and a waste of both time and money.