With so many reviews to do today I honestly don’t know why I went with Catwoman first. Maybe to get it all over with? Maybe because last month’s issue was actually bearable so I was feeling hopeful? Who knows. Either way, the first thing I was greeted with was shoddy lettering and a terrible Batman monologue as our hero roamed the vacant halls of the Gotham Museum.
The paintings. they’re gone. There’s nothing left but empty outlines…from where the sun didn’t shine. Iconic bits of gotham, they gave me peace. Catwoman, This is your heist, isn’t it? You knew I loved them. You wanted to draw me out of my cave? You got it. They weren’t yours. They belonged us, to the people of Gotham. I want them back.
Note the lowercase “g” in Gotham and the missing word “to” in “They belonged to us.” — not that either of these changes would’ve really improved this narration in any dramatic way but still…come on. Two mistakes like that on page one? At least the art wasn’t too bad on this page. I thought that it at least looked cool when I opened the comic up.
This is supposedly the Catwoman tie-in issue to this month’s REQUIEM event. How exactly does Catwoman fit into all of this? It doesn’t. I… I don’t think Ann Nocenti got the Damian memo! Batman is really, really mopey the entire issue and cries a lot over the missing paintings. What are the paintings of? It appears to be Arkham Asylum….yeah. We never get a good view of them except for when Catwoman is rolling them up but, really? Arkham Asylum paintings? Batman wouldn’t care about paintings of Arkham Asylum. He’s transferred his grief to the loss of the paintings. Grief over what? It’s not clear. There’s no outright mention of Batman Inc. #8 or Batman #17. It’s like nobody told Ann what Batman was going to be mad about so the closest thing we get is a dissolve to a shot of Damian, Batgirl, Alfred, and Nightwing tumbling through space while Batman sputters “Put them [the paintings] back, please.”
I know this is going to sound coarse, but Batman’s portrayed as a whiny bitch in this issue. The dialogue is bad, the art has its moments but there are some really awful facial expressions and Catwoman’s whip all too often looks like a ribbon, and did I mention Batman has no balls? That’s ludicrous! His balls are one of his most important character traits. In fact, that’s why Batman wears a cape. Did you know? It’s to muffle the sound of his giant clanking steel balls during stealth missions. True story!
The only good moment in the entire book was just the small laugh I got out of seeing Batman try to fix Catwoman’s pancaked helmet by punching it in the opposite direction and then putting the crumpled remains back over her head. That was kind of amusing. Way out of character for Batman, but I cracked a smile. Other than that it’s just this goofy story about Batman wanting some paintings back but it’s not really about the paintings he just wants to feel like he’s recovered something, anything that’s been lost (I made it sound way deeper than it is) from his life. But the thing is that Batman wouldn’t approach Catwoman going “Pweeease! Come onnnnnnn! What? You don’t have the paintings anymore? Ohhhhhh… Can you go find them for me? Please!” He’s the Batman. If he was really transferring such powerful emotions into the loss of the paintings I think he would be breaking heads all over Gotham to try and find them not submitting to Catwoman in defeat.
As for the more Catwoman-centric stuff. We do get a brief glimpse at what’s going on between Gwen and Penguin, which is a plot that’s failed to really get started for about 6 issues or so now. Oh, and then there’s a demon. Yeah, we’re bringing demons back into the story after how well that went with the ARGUS heist.
This comic is really like a 3/10 or so, but this is Batman News. You can’t make Batman look like a bitch and not get a 1/10 here. Batman doesn’t cry in Catwoman’s arms (he got an ass-out hug, by the way. Why is Catwoman giving him an ass-out hug in such an emotional scene? That was horribly depicted by Sandoval) or beg others to help him on such minuscule assignments. And the fact that this thing references Joker and Death of the Family more than anything that happened in Batman Inc. is false advertising and a lot of folks picking this up for the Damian tie-in are going to be very disappointed. But most of all I hate it because Batman looks like a wimp and I can’t abide that.