New 52 – Catwoman #12 review

Well, it’s over. Winick’s run is at an end. Overall I liked the work he did on Catwoman but this wasn’t a very satisfying end to his tenure. I was pretty bored to be honest. I already listed many of my complaints in the last issue’s review as to why the story was falling apart and the mess that was made there is swept away very quickly and conveniently here. I wish this was as fun and exciting as the earlier issues Winick gave us but it’s not.

The opening pages set up everything we need to know as to how things will play out and you can find those preview pages for free online somewhere like CBR. In those pages we see Catwoman discover that the abducted detective left a tracking device so Catwoman will know exactly where he is and therefore where Dollhouse is. And as if that didn’t make things easy enough, she sends the deceptive Spark to go call Batman for help as well. Spark smashes the signal and then spray paints a cat’s face on the glass or something under the glass so that a new attention-grabbing emblem can be projected on the night’s sky. I honestly don’t know enough about how spotlights operate to criticize but to me it seems like smashing the glass would make the unit inoperable. Hopefully someone in the comments can make sense of it because I can’t. Also, is it really that easy for everybody to tamper with the batsignal? The thing’s been replaced with an Owl and a Cat symbol in the last four months alone. Why doesn’t somebody just plant a bomb in this thing, wait for Batsy to meet Gordon on the roof and BOOM– kill two birds with one stone?

So obviously Catwoman is going to find Detective Alvarez, fight dollhouse, and then Batman will show up at the last second to save the day, right? Well, there are still a number of surprises here that will have fans of the series talking and even fans of Detective Comics talking but there’s also no real sense of closure which is what I wanted from Winick’s final issue. Instead I got boring and predictable action and a needlessly open-ended final confrontation.

The artwork by Adriana Melo is a step-up from the previous issue where Catwoman’s face was constantly changing and I have to say that she definitely draws a better Batman than March did. His was far too musclebound. Melo even got to do some fun stuff with the dollhouse scenery like a ballroom themed chamber, disco themed chamber, etc. etc. I just wish the colors in these rooms had popped more. The book looks a bit dull and could use some of the vibrancy that we see over in Batgirl. Although the art was passable overall there were some shots that didn’t sit well. Some of the action panels looked a bit clunky, especially one where Catwoman kicks with an extremely long leg and her cowl’s ears appear turned-down and kind of floppy. That was odd.

But the worst shot is that of the batmobile. I couldn’t even tell it was the batmobile at first and it was a pretty important scene that should have been the coolest moment of the book! Instead it looked awkward. The perspective was off and the car looked more like a really ugly sneaker.

Here’s another complaint (not regarding the art, which again wasn’t that bad except for a few action shots and the coloring) that are on the spoilerish side:

 So Dollhouse is the daughter of Dollmaker who is the son of Toyman. Was this necessary? And why didn’t she just call herself “Doll” or “The Doll”. And what’s the point of having her escape at the end? How are these doll-people that hard to catch? Her dad got away without a scratch as well! It would’ve been nice to have had some closure. Anyway, it’s yet another villain that’s a relative of another previously established character. So for those of you who are counting:

  • James Jr. is the son of Jim Gordon
  • Night of Owl’s Spoiler: [spoiler]Lincoln March might be Bruce Wayne’s brother
  • Sonia Zucco is the daughter of Tony Zucco
  • The original Talon from the opening issues of Court of Owls is Dick Grayson’s grandfather
  • Eli Strange is the son of Hugo Strange
  • Other characters like Enigma (daughter of The Riddler) and Kitrina Falcone have yet to show up in the New 52.

Gotham’s not such a big town after all.

And Spark’s death, while a surprise happened so suddenly that I didn’t really have time to process it. I think his death will play a bigger part in future issues. At least it should. Having Gwen keep a secret from Catwoman of this magnitude would make for some good drama.

Overall I thought it was a pretty average comic. Anybody who has already been reading Catwoman is definitely going to pick it up just so they can see how Winick’s run ended but new readers won’t find anything of interest. Old readers like myself will likely feel a bit empty since they wanted a grander finish to a pretty exciting run.

SCORE: 5/10