Don’t forget the milk! We have to get the milk!
Catwoman #21 would actually have made an alright issue of No Man’s Land, but with it taking place in the here and now I just found myself wondering where the police, national guard, and other vigilantes were. This place, The Badlands, gets obliterated! We’re talking blown up buildings, cars, streets turned into rubble… Penguin is firing rockets– rockets! Missile after missile is soaring over Gotham and striking this one district and apparently Catwoman and, oddly enough, the Welders Union are the only ones helping out the folks living there.
So it’s this issue of Catwoman barking orders at thugs, rescuing the downtrodden, and operating catapults supplied by the Welders Union, which is one of the funniest and strangest notions I’ve come across in some time. Missiles are hitting our homes? Come on boys, are we welders or aren’t we? Let’s make some catapults!
Author Ann Nocenti attempts to make the police’s absence part of the story by showing Bullock plead with Mayor Hady, and I did appreciate that since the GCPD has been neglected throughout almost every major New 52 storyline so far, but a lack of any response from authorities lacks all credibility when such a large portion of the city looks like a map from Fallout 3. And speaking of Mayor Hady, I wish that we could settle on a design for this character. Is he fat or is he thin?
Despite how Hady looks compared to some other more Rush Limbaugh-looking incarnations from other titles, the artwork by Sandoval and Tarragona is much improved over previous issues. I thought they did a nice job capturing the energy of these battle scenes and the world of the Bad Lands with all its destruction had quite a bit of detail that made it very believable as a war zone even if the idea of a Baghdad-level war zone existing in the middle of Gotham and being ignored is ludicrous. The only page that really struck me as looking off was one in which shadows are cut away to give every character a lit outline, but I’m not sure who is at fault for that style choice.
Other than the obvious “Where the heck is everybody?” of this comic’s plot the other problems are the way characters speak, the tone, and how many different plot lines are drudged up and then seemingly forgotten about. Between the chatter about milk and what would make an amazing tweet, the dialogue is just as bad as it’s always been only now we’re seeing a lot more thought bubbles pop up as well which makes for even more silly, unnatural lines for anyone to say during a battle. Perhaps if the comic did a better job of establishing its tone the goofiness would translate better. The addictive/lethal ice cream is also brought up again and a henchman seems to have transformed into a supervillain mid-way through the comic but we never see him again. This guy basically turns into Electro and then is immediately forgotten about.
There’s some amusing action in this one, but the title is just as nonsensical as ever. The GCPD and Bat-family are totally absent while Catwoman fends off missiles and attack choppers with catapults donated by the Welder’s Union– that’s strange, right? It feels like a chapter from No Man’s Land only with more characters risking life and limb for a gallon of milk.