I love politics. I openly admitted that last year when the primary debates were beginning, and my sentiment hasn’t changed too much since then. I read political magazines, try to keep myself glued to the news, and I follow quite a few political news podcasts. That being said, I hate this election. Between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, I just want to go hide under a rock and pretend like none of this is happening… Probably because you can’t escape them. No matter where you are, or what you’re doing, they’re there in some form or fashion: television ads, news programs, magazines, radio programs, casual conversations between people at Wal-Mart who find it impossible to be unbiased and clearly have no idea what’s actually going on, but are insistent on jumping on a bandwagon for some offbeat reason… It’s exhausting! So imagine my joy when I pick up this issue and find that Meredith Finch – who is far from being a great writer – doesn’t just reference Trump and Clinton (which I expected), but instead recreates them. Oh joy…
First off, Catwoman: Election Night isn’t a Catwoman story. Selina is essentially just a means to an end. The narrative features Selina during the present day, as well as her childhood at Miss Kitty’s orphanage. Yes, that is really the lady’s name… Because Miss Kitty isn’t too on-point or anything.
It’s election season in the present day story, and Gotham’s own crime boss and business man, Oswald Cobblepot is pulling a Batman Returns and running for mayor! Personally, I don’t mind this. I like the idea of Penguin trying to gain as much power as possible, and the only hang-up I would have for this plot would be his known criminal background. What I don’t like, is that Finch decided to turn Penguin into Donald Trump. She literally took a number of Trump soundbites, policies, or slogans, and wrote them for Penguin. “Make
America Gotham great again?” Yep. Build a wall? Yep. Lack of political correctness? Yep. Even the weird speech patterns (“That I can tell you!” or “Believe me.” or even claiming that nobody will do something better than him).
Putting whatever your political stance is aside, this should be irritating because Penguin isn’t Donald Trump. They are two very different people/characters, and it just doesn’t make sense to turn Penguin into Donald Trump. I get it, though. Finch wants to be relevant. She wants to create a commentary on our current (real) election. By all means, do that, but don’t alter a well-established character to do that. Create a new character, or just use Donald Trump. Or, better yet, just utilize the themes that you want to speak to rather than just transforming a character into another person. If the Penguin ran for mayor of Gotham City, he would have his own story to tell, chock full of its own issues. He doesn’t need Trump’s.
But that’s the other problem here. Penguin’s role in this story is rather small. The only purpose he serves here, is to reflect Trump. Nothing else. There’s literally no other aspect that he adds to the story. In fact, all the characters have rather poor plots with the exception of Constance Hill – an original character that Finch created.
Constance is essentially your “Hillary Clinton” in this story, but she is hardly represented with the same translation as Finch did with Penguin/ Trump. In fact, there’s barely anything that could link Constance Hill and Hillary Clinton together, aside from one or two details – all of which depend on how you view Clinton. Whatever your political stance or opinions are aren’t the focus here, nor are they worth the debate. The point is, there are multiple plots, and they’re all mostly self-serving. In addition to that, none of them feel fully realized. The little suspense and mystery that is attempted here, doesn’t work at all because the outcome is blatantly obvious. There’s no other way to say it. Catwoman: Election Night is just bad.
Catwoman’s past is touched on as a narrative pertaining to her childhood weaves in and out of the present day story to try and serve as some type of glue. Does it work? Yeah, I guess. I mean, it got me from point “A” to point “B,” but it left a lot of holes in the story, and was pretty heavy handed/ unbelievable. No matter where I looked, I tried to find something redeeming, but it never came.
There is a short story pertaining to Prez. I never read Prez, so I don’t feel too comfortable comparing it to its main title, but I will admit that I found it more enjoyable than the Catwoman story. It is the shorter of the two stories though, so it doesn’t carry much weight in my opinion. If you read Prez and enjoyed it (I’ve heard wonderful things), this could be a nice turn-around for a rather poor story.
The Art: The art is probably the best thing about the issue, but it’s more on the “good” side of the spectrum than “great.” Shane Davis and Igor Vitorino share art duties here, and their work, thankfully, looks rather seamless together. The only complaint I would make is that their character’s facial expressions were blank most of the time, but other than that, I found the art to be enjoyable and entertaining. I’d much rather see their work on a monthly basis than some other artist on another book (Batgirl & the Birds of Prey).
Bad seed. If you couldn’t put two and two together to decipher that Jamie and Constance are the same person on the first page that Constance was introduced, then I’m concerned for your deductive reasoning skills. Cutting Selina’s face with a razor blade because she’s pretty, is essentially the first of many steps to becoming the little girl in Bad Seed… Which is essentially what happens considering she murdered another little girl to ensure she was adopted.
Speaking of the murder, how does a twelve year old manage to kill another girl and never get caught? How was the body never found? Why didn’t anyone else question why she had blood all over her body? If the other orphan was buried in the laundry room, then how and when was the body put there if Selina was down there playing with the cat the entire time, and Jamie was adopted the next day? None of this adds up to a believable story.
Not to mention, Selina’s smoking gun is the (still bloody) razor blade. If Jamie hadn’t gone crazy on stage (By the way, why didn’t anyone stop Catwoman from interrupting a mayoral debate?), then Selina would’ve made herself a suspect as well, because her finger prints were also on the blade… There are just way too many holes, and it drives me crazy! I hope this special isn’t a sign that DC is considering of giving Finch a full Catwoman run in the near future… That would finish the job that Nocenti started in forever damaging Catwoman.
- You’re not tired of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
- You feel that any Catwoman story that’s better than Nocenti’s run is worth reading.
- Oh look, there’s some Prez.
Overall: As I mentioned above, Catwoman: Election Night isn’t a Catwoman story. It’s a political commentary that is poorly written. There’s an attempt to try and pull a story out of all of this, but Finch’s focus is all over the place, none of the stories are fully developed, and they’re all tied together in a half-assed attempt to make the plot interesting. If you want poor writing, poor characterization, and questionable plot progressions/ resolutions, then yes, you should get this book. If that’s not what you want, then save your money.