A whiny Batman, a Ke$ha-esque Selina Kyle, a resurrection by cat-licking, and a demonic possession. This is Ann Nocenti & Rafa Sandoval’s Catwoman and it’s one of the worst things I’ve read.
This softcover collects New 52 – Catwoman issues #0, 13-18. It’s important to note that issue #18 was part of the Requiem Month that followed the events of Batman Inc. #8. If you’re waiting for Batman, Inc. Volume 2 and have managed to go unspoiled about what major event occurred in that story I highly suggest you not read Catwoman #18.
Ann Nocenti’s Catwoman, Vol. 3: Death of the Family is… hope. It is nothing if not inspiration to the talentless around the world that their dreams can come true. If something this bad can get published, then anything can get published, that’s the message of this TPB. Anyone can pick up this graphic novel and be instilled with the feeling that they too could have a career in writing comic books. How hard could it be? Apparently dialogue, characterization, pacing, plot– it’s all inconsequential.
Obviously I’m not going to recommend this book. In fact, flipping through this TPB now sends horrible memories rushing back to the surface of a year spent reviewing this abomination. It wasn’t until a couple of months ago that I finally threw in the towel and announced that I wouldn’t be covering this title anymore until DC hired a new creative team. It’s. That. Bad. Still, people seem to have fun reading these articles just to laugh at my misery. I even considered making this the first comic review musical featuring such songs as:
How Many Trees Died to Make This?
I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Read Ann Nocenti’s Catwoman)
But ultimately I decided that that would be giving this book undeserved attention… and I sing as horribly as Ann Nocenti writes.
Honestly, this character is quite unidentifiable. Selina Kyle/Catwoman is one of the most iconic female characters in all of pop culture and to see her so horribly mishandled is disheartening. And perhaps that’s the problem. The character is so popular that those involved in producing this series have grown complacent knowing that it’s guaranteed to sell fairly well regardless of quality. Who knows? Remember when Selina Kyle was classy, strong, and intelligent? How Batman was attracted to Catwoman not just because of her body but because she was so elusive and unlike any other woman he had ever met? None of that is present here. Instead we have incoherent dialogue and nonsensical storylines. As soon as issue #0 made the origin from Batman Returns/Halle Berry’s Catwoman canon (a swarm of cats lick Selina back to life and turn her into a bad ass in the process), everyone involved should’ve been removed from this title immediately.
Another obvious decision that was missed was with this TPB’s cover. If they are going to call this book “Death of the Family” (even when only 1 issue deals with that storyline) then they might as well have used the more iconic, eye-catching Greg Capullo cover from Catwoman #13. Instead the cover from Catwoman #18 was used.
Speaking of artwork, while Rafa Sandoval gets sole artistic credit con the cover he actually shares this book with Adriana Melo and Emanuela Lupacchino. Sandoval, however, is easily the most memorable artist because his pencils are so unique and stylistic. I thought that his work on the title started out okay. The pages featured a dynamic quality and very little cheesecake, but as the series progressed the illustrations grew as exaggerated as the writing. You’ll see some rather slack-jawed faces, rubbery postures, a return of gratuitous butt & boob shots, and the trashiest wardrobe Selina has ever worn in a comic before. While Rafa’s zany, chaotic style won’t be for everyone you have to admit that there is a high amount of detail and a terrific sense of movement that plays well during the action sequences.
If you want to take the time to read my shocked reactions to the awfulness of every comic in this collection you can click HERE to find all of those reviews plus more. That’s right, more. Even though this series is almost universally panned it still carries on with the same creative team over a year later with no end in sight.
Andy Clarke’s variant cover for Catwoman #13 plus a 7-page sketchbook by Rafa Sandoval. I wish that the thumbnails of his uncolored work were not so small because it actually looks like his original pencils were far superior to the finished product. Quite a bit of detail was apparently lost in the coloring process.
Value: Dirt Cheap
$16.99 for this? Are you out of your mind? If you were seriously considering buying this book for full price then congratulations, you’ve had your worst idea of the week. You can now live the next few days stress-free knowing that the most ill-advised thought to run through your head has come to pass. Maybe… MAYBE if you found this book for a quarter or something it might be worth it to just laugh at how bad it is, but $16.99? No. No. Please don’t let this thing end up on the best seller list for graphic novels. Please don’t. This needs to stop. Catwoman is a good character and scathing reviews aren’t going to make things improve any faster, the real change comes from you speaking out with your wallet.
The sooner it is forgotten, the better.