This is Tieri’s third installment of Catwoman, and it’s probably my least favorite issue of his to date. Since he’s taken over, Catwoman’s pace has been fast and furious, bringing a sleek energy to the book. This issue, however, feels like the creative process itself was rushed. The script reads as if it didn’t receive as much thought or calculation as the previous issues, and it shows a little. It’s not all bad though. Tieri’s strengths still manage to shine, but those strengths are unfortunately intertwined with some of the lower aspects of this book.
The current arc launched with Selina leaving her mob life behind to fully embrace her identity as Catwoman in New York City, but before she can successfully complete a single heist, she finds herself in a world of trouble. After stealing a legendary diamond, she finds her fence murdered, with the NYPD catching her at the scene of the crime shortly after. If that weren’t bad enough, it turns out that it’s the NYPD that set Selina up for murder, so her only chance at survival is to “Run Like Hell.”
With the cops on her tail, Selina returns to Gotham after discovering the diamond she stole is tied to the Penguin. Clearly some strings are being pulled at her expense, so she makes a point to follow the money so she can get to the bottom of this and clear her name – a venture that sends her spiraling down a rabbit hole of other problems. And with a personal vendetta now factoring in, the Penguin puts a hit out for Selina that catches the attention of most of the Gotham underworld.
Now that she’s wanted by the authorities and criminals, Catwoman is forced to turn to a friend, but when large sums of money are involved, the lines of friendship can become blurred. Her situation worsens yet again when she crosses paths with Batgirl, putting yet another target on her back. But there’s more to this story than conflicts with the police, the underworld, and vigilantes. We quickly discover that there’s still more than meets the eye concerning the diamond that Selina stole, and it’s a revelation that changes the direction of the book yet again. Please note that I didn’t use any positive or negative adjectives to describe this… It’s a good summation of both.
If there’s one thing you can confidently say about Tieri’s narrative, it’s that you never have to wonder if you’ll be neglected of plot progression. He moves his story along at break-neck speed, and while I’m not certain if this is because of the number of issues he has to squeeze the story into before Rebirth launches (whatever that may be), I’m going to assume that it is a contributor. I’ve enjoyed the energy so far, but if you make a “wrong turn” at that speed, you’re going to do some damage before you can course correct… which is basically what happens in this issue.
There isn’t anything overtly terrible here, but instead a lot of minor issues that quickly add up. There’s some logic that didn’t seem to be fully thought out (you guys know how I feel about that), and then there are times where the logic and plot are there, but the execution isn’t. Not all of the fault can be put on Tieri though. Miranda did some really weird/interesting things with layouts, and they were done too frequently. I never thought any of the attempts were a homerun, but some were decent while most looked like a mess and were hard to follow. Add in some strange occurrences with a famous billionaire, plus cameos of villains that are so fast that if you blink, you’ll miss it, and you get the final product of this book: a beautiful mess… but not the kind that’s remotely endearing. Instead this will leave you a little unsure of everything that’s going on.
The Art: I just said it, but what is up with some of those layouts? As I mentioned, some are decent (see the page and note about Killer Croc in the spoiler tag). And then there are pages like this:
It’s a mess! Miranda’s art could be really good, but there are a lot of inconsistencies and apparent risks – which haven’t paid off in my favor. Similar to the plot, sometimes less is more. A lot of good can come from stepping away from your work, taking a breather, then coming back with a fresh set of eyes and perspective. Also, and this is a little shallow, but I don’t like the blond hair on Selina.
Selina Kyle/ Catwoman. I’ve said this in both of my reviews for Tieri’s Catwoman, and I’m going to echo it here as well. This guy does a fantastic job writing Selina/ Catwoman as a character! He gets her, and the voice he creates for her is typically spot on.
Croc. I had some issues with Crocs involvement in this issue because it didn’t feel natural or authentic. That changed by the end though. Catwoman and Croc have developed an incredibly interesting relationship throughout the current continuity, and it’s one that I only hope continues to grow because there’s so much heart and depth to be found in it. The dialogue is a little forced concerning Selina, but the “unsaid” and overall theme is pretty solid.
The Diamond’s Eye. I loved the idea that there’s more to the diamond than meets the eye. I’m going to contradict myself a little bit in “The Bad” section, but the reveal that the Penguin’s stake in this is that his blackmail and leverage on other people is hidden within the diamond is pretty priceless! This is an instance of where Tieri’s fast pace and accountability toward plot progression pays off.
Mystery. Who is the mystery man/woman that is helping Selina? It’s been inferred that this person could be at risk with Penguin potentially having information on him/her, so I’m looking forward to learning more. Hopefully the payoff is as strong as I want it to be!
Batgirl. I’ve been pretty vocal towards my dislike of the new direction for Batgirl. That continues here. Tieri might write a great Selina/ Catwoman, but his BG is pretty damn bad. I could’ve done without her. I mean, who talks like this?
Jurisdiction. This bugged the hell out of me! What in the hell is the NYPD doing in Gotham City, and above that, why are they calling the shots? If this was the FBI, there’d be no problem… but this isn’t the FBI. An officer from another city isn’t going to march into town and start calling the shots. It’s ludicrous.
You mean to tell me nobody noticed that? Nobody saw a flash drive inside of a clear diamond? And it was on display attracting diamond enthusiasts… that clearly couldn’t be that prone to diamonds if they couldn’t spot a fake that shatters by throwing it on a table. I love what came out of this reveal, but come on!
Amnesia. Selina must’ve had some form of amnesia as well to go to Bruce Wayne for help at the moment. The dude doesn’t remember anything! (Based on the context of his scenes, I’m running with the notion that this takes place before the last few issues of Batman.) Beyond that, there still seems to be a lack of clarity as to whether or not Selina knows Bruce is/was Batman… I feel like I remember that being revealed during Forever Evil, but other issues of other books have hinted otherwise. This seems to reference that she does… why else would she trust him so much?
http://www.criminalsrus.com. What website or e-mail group are these villains apart of that they all got the same message? I can’t be the only one that thought that, right?
And finally… Say no to drugs kids!
- You’re invested in continuing Catwoman through to Rebirth.
- You enjoy a fast-paced narrative with an abundance of twists and turns.
- A who’s who of Gotham characters sounds like a good time to you.
Overall: Tieri sets ‘em up, but in his sprint to knock them down, he trips and falls. For all extensive purposes, there’s a decent amount of good in this book, but if you’re detail oriented, there will also be a lot that drives you crazy.