Catwoman #32: “Race of Thieves, Part 3: Hijack”
Written by Ann NOcenti
Art by Patrick Olliffe

Remember when I was impressed with the previous issue of Catwoman for creating a decent heist story, where Catwoman used everyone around her to get ahead? Yeah, throw all of that out the window, because we’re back to complete and utter crap. “Hijack” starts with a bang. Literally. Roulette fires a gun to start the Race of Thieves, in a desert, in South Asia, signaling for all of these vehicles to take off. Yes, it’s an actual race. With cars. I know, I’m scratching my head as well. Look, I’m literally on the first page, and I already have three questions. The first question being, “How did we get here? Did I miss an issue?” The second: “Where did they get all of these vehicles (a rocket, a tank, a bullet train, etc)?” And the third: “Who are half of these people?” The only two left standing at the end of the previous issue were Catwoman and Mirror Master. Roulette did mention that this was a worldwide race, so I’m going to assume these other jokers are from other countries. Regardless, this is not a good way to start! Then on page 3, Rat-Tail shows up! Ok, I’m officially lost now.

Thankfully, it looks like we’re going to get some answers when we jump back twelve hours to Gotham City. (I know, I know… I’ll cover timing later. Trust me, it bugged me too.) Selina is at the Gotham Coroner’s office with Gillbrite – the transfer hired by private money to oversee the Viceroy investigation, and Coroner Bill. They’ve exhumed the body of Victoria Viceroy – the woman whose death created the murder scandal that tainted the Viceroy name… I think. I’m kind of confused on this whole “scandal” issue, and why it’s even a scandal. I’m sure I could ask Ann, but I’m not sure she knows either… Anyway, she’s managed to become mummified (just roll with it, please), which helps with the forensic testing, and they’re using crazy technology to examine her body. When I say crazy technology, I mean 3D imaging, simulators, etc; absolutely nothing that the GCPD would be able to afford or have access to. I’m not under the impression that Gillbrite had these purchased or supplied by his private contributor, but maybe. Gillbrite figures out how Victoria Viceroy was murdered, except, he hasn’t because Coroner Bill trumps his theory by discovering mass amounts of arsenic. In the end, does it matter how she was murdered? Isn’t the real point a matter of WHY she was murdered?

We continue to jump back and forth between the race in Asia, and what took place in Gotham City less than twelve hours before the race starts. Each jump between the timeline drives us closer and closer to the finish/and manages to answer some of my many questions – but not all of them. I would love to say that I can logically review what happens throughout the issue, but there’s no logic to most of it. I don’t even know how to properly review it without giving away spoilers, so I’ve provided the notes I made in the spoiler tag below to help cover some of these topics. But first, a little commentary on the art.

The Art: The art is back to being inconsistent again. At this point, I’m beginning to wonder if Olliffe feels unmotivated because of the ridiculous scenes he’s being forced to draw, and just slaps something down half of the time. Even if that is the case, his strengths remain his strengths, and his weaknesses remain his weakness. The action scenes, especially those of the race, are a jumbled mess. This is one of those instances where I don’t know what is actually going on during half of the race scenes. I do know that Catwoman is still trucking along, so yay? That’s good.

Spoiler

  • How did Selina get from Gotham City to South Asia to start the race within six hours? It’s not possible.
  • Are we really supposed to believe that Tesla created a custom car for Selina to use, within no time at all?
  • Where did Rat-Tail come from? He literally came out of nowhere.
  • Why is there a scandal tarnishing the Viceroy’s name, if Victoria’s death was documented strictly as a murder at the time?
  • Apparently there have been new discoveries in the re-opened Viceroy case, eluding to the fact that Victoria Viceroy had a secret child out of wedlock. Now THAT could’ve been scandalous for her time, but apparently, nobody knew. Ok, this makes things a little more interesting.
  • Oh, and it looks like Victoria Viceroy was shot at close range.
  • Nope, no. Scratch that. V.V. was poisoned.
  • Is Rat-Tail really making bids with Vegas on who will win this race? Is this supposed to be funny?
  • Why is Coroner Bill so angry?
  • Selina wants to steal a dead woman’s diamond ring. Classy.
  • Because of Victoria Viceroy’s potential illegitimate child, Selina suddenly realizes that something seems fishy about Hunt Stone’s child that Roulette apparently has hostage. Where is Roulette holding this kid hostage if we keep seeing her without the kid?
  • Crap. Roulette hired Vice and Swindle to try and fix the race, so they’re back with their bickering.
  • Catwoman and Mirror Master work together to prevent Roulette from winning the race.
  • A random guy that it would seem Selina bet money on, wins the race. I think. I’m not sure. There are too many things that I’m not sure of in this issue, despite reading it over and over again.
  • Detective Alvarez and Keyes are at the race to arrest Catwoman. What? How? This makes NO SENSE! They’re in South Asia!
  • Catwoman, Mirror Master, and Rat-tail go to confront Roulette, but discover that she’s gone.
  • Catwoman throws a tantrum and starts stomping and kicking things, because, you know, Ann Nocenti writes this book.
  • Hmmm… Selina is in a race to take down Roulette. To do so, she is working for/with Gillbrite at the GCPD. Turns out Gillbrite is working for Roulette to alter the investigation into the Viceroy murder.

Recommended if:

  • You like NASCAR or NHRA
  • You like things that are similar to CSI
  • The thought of a bunch of thieves driving cars in the dessert sounds exciting
  • You want to see an old guy say “Jeesums”
  • Ann Nocenti… That’s the only way to explain it. Just Ann Nocenti.

Overall: This issue is a mess. And that is easily an understatement. Does Ann Nocenti realize how bad she is? I mean, does she finish an issue, then sit back and think, “This one is good!” I don’t understand how someone can be allowed to continue writing, when their work is this bad. I’ve written stuff that was complete crap before, but not nearly as consistently as she has. I’m saying prayers to baby Jesus that my hunch comes true and we have a new creative team after this arc!

SCORE: 1/10