New 52 – Catwoman #4 review

To get things started, allow me to quote the thoughts that one of the Batman-News community had on issue #3 and his concerns about what was to come in today’s Catwoman #4. I felt that Israel Riviere really hit the nail on the head:

“…what really bugs me is that, despite the fun I am having in reading about her fortune with Batman, Catwoman is STILL not allowed to maneuver without the guidance of the Bat! They don’t let her fly solo. It’s not that I don’t like her with him. I do. I just want them to capitalize from her misadventures. Let her make mistakes. Let her have the strength not to fall too deep. Let her be herself. Batman is getting to be more than just the occasional cameo… and is overstaying his welcome. Other than that, I look forward to see how she’s going to get out of that situation, ’cause running away ain’t gonna cut it with the cops… unless you’re The Batman!”

It appears as though writer Judd Winick went 1 for 2 in addressing these complaints. Batman does not make an appearance in this issue. He didn’t need to. Catwoman is more than capable of carrying this book on her own. That’s great. But as for allowing Catwoman to make mistakes and seeing how she can get escape from these intense situations without the help of Batman, especially when it’s the cops she’s up against…the issue falls flat. The fun of these Catwoman books is watching her get in over her head and somehow come out on top by the end. And at the end of last month’s issue, Catwoman was faced with cops who were looking at her sitting next to a dead body while she burned piles of evidence in a nearby fireplace. Anyone who read that cliffhanger had to be excited for this issue, but apparently Judd Winick wrote himself into a corner that he could not get out of.

What did she do? She grabbed a half-empty bottle of whiskey and threw it into the fireplace. This caused a tremendous explosion that sent both police officers running for the hills and gave Catwoman time to escape with Lola’s body while the apartment went up in flames. It’s pretty insulting to the reader’s intelligence. And the real cop-out is that the following pages have Selina explaining that she gave an anonymous tip that Lola was a fence and it was Bone who really killed Lola. The police, upon hearing this, drop their case against Catwoman and the cliffhanger from issue #3 is completely neutered. What a waste. A piece of art is truly bad when it not only hurts itself, but the work that came before it.

The rest of the book serves to introduce a few new characters. Now that Batman isn’t showing up and Lola is dead, Catwoman has no supporting cast. Although this is a grievance I’ve had with the series for a while, introducing them now and so abruptly doesn’t feel like good storytelling but more like Winick wrote these characters out of necessity. He really did write himself into a corner after those last 3 stellar issues. The art, by Guillem Mach, is still top notch with not dip in quality. It’s a pretty issue, but it’s the writing that fails it.

What you get with Catwoman #4 is not the energetic, sexy, action packed adventure you’ve been seeing for the past 3 months. Instead, this is a throw-away tale complete with an ultra-lame villain of the month named Reach, a femme fatale wearing lots of denim who wields an energy leash. My guess is that Winnick had been playing the video game “Bulletstorm” at about the time he wrote this—an activity I recommend doing instead of reading this well-drawn, poorly thought out issue.

SCORE: 4.5/10