Catwoman #27 is monumental. No, there’s no major event in this issue. There’s no new character introduced that speculators will buy up in hopes to make a profit. There’s just twenty-two pages of confident, enthralling, and downright beautiful storytelling on display. Ram V and Fernando Blanco have been firing on all cylinders in this series so far, but Catwoman #27 proves that this creative team is for real.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; Fernando Blanco’s double page spreads are to die for. The credits page is deceptively simple but the amount of depth is staggering. It sets the mood immediately with the neon pink sign Selina perches upon spelling out the title of this month’s chapter – even if the sign is perhaps a tad difficult to read. V and Blanco’s Catwoman run is fun, pulpy stuff with a brain and a sense of grit a lot of superhero books are afraid to indulge in. Not only is the main panel ripe with atmosphere and texture (look at Kollak smugly leaned up against his SUV), but the bottom of the page provides brief snapshots of all the pieces about to be in play. Hadley, Vilos, Kollak, Selina and her allies all go over their own plans, setting the stage for the mayhem yet to come. V throws a lot of pieces at the reader in these opening pages, but Blanco’s smart compositions and the color coded vehicles make everything intuitive without needing to re-read any panels. Kollak is in the white SUV, the drugs are in the blue van, and Selina has a giant red diesel truck to create a distraction. These clever colors by FCO Plascencia are key to how easy it is to follow all the action even as Blanco creates more and more complex compositions as the scene progresses. Blanco’s second double page spread features several different compositions in each panel, but the groundwork laid beforehand makes this stylish car crash sequence a joy to watch unfold. This is smart, effective storytelling at its peak.
V also pulls back and lets Blanco wrap up the sequence without a bevy of dialogue with a great splash page where Selina takes down a couple thugs after throwing a smoke bomb. The colors and compositions in this entire heist sequence are so bold and stylish that even a simple layout where two thugs shoot at a cloud of smoke is engaging. Above all, you can tell V and Blanco’s sense of fun carries over to Selina herself, especially when she emerges from the smoke, disarming a gun with a smile on her face. It feels like it’s been too long to see Selina truly enjoy her profession without personal problems weighing her down. Tom Napolitano’s lettered sound effects also carry themselves mostly well, though occasionally they look out of place. A “KRRANG” as two thugs open the back of a van door looks plain and doesn’t really match the sound itself. However, the proceeding “BLAM”s and “BRAT”s come off better.
I might sound like a broken record but once again the only scenes that slow the comic down deal with Detective Hadley. Hadley himself is starting to win me over, but his scenes here are big exposition dumps that explain exactly how Selina pulled off her heist. Personally, the actual heist sequence was done so well that I didn’t really need an explanation of why Selina put fake license plates on a decoy van as it was clear beforehand. Nonetheless, Hadley’s scenes are growing more interesting as he bumps shoulders with crooked cops and has to pull some strings himself for both his and Selina’s benefit. He may not be on the level of Slam Bradley quite yet (it’s nearly impossible not to think of Brubaker’s run when reading a great Catwoman comic), but him being caught in between Selina and the police department is rife for exploration.
Overall, the second half of the comic doesn’t quite live up to the sheer perfection of the first half, but there’s incredibly strong character work particularly in the scene between Selina and Rollins. Rollins has a clear respect for Selina’s talents, which is of course why she sets her up to be killed immediately. It’s interesting that sheer happenstance saves Selina’s life, but it makes the stakes feel more dire. Not only does Selina have Valley out for her life, but Selina’s attempt to take over the underworld will not go off as easily as her heist just did. There’s more and more spinning plates that Selina must contend with and this issue does a great job of delivering a fun heist and setting the stage for even harder obstacles on the horizon.
- You want in early on one of the most promising Catwoman runs in a long time.
- Fernando Blanco’s art is worth the price of admission alone.
- You love old fashioned heists in the vein of Heat and Ocean’s 11.
Catwoman #27 delivers everything you want out of a comic. The action is stunning, the dialogue is crisp, and the plot is growing more intense. Ram V turns in yet another solid script, but Fernando Blanco is an absolute star here with another set of beautiful two page spreads aided greatly by FCO Plascencia’s colors. Simply put, Catwoman #27 is a must read and I highly recommend reading the previous two issues to hop aboard this promising run.
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.