Catwoman #57 review

The Gotham War continues this week in the aftermath of Batman #137’s final page reveal. Vandal Savage now owns Wayne Manor and Batman is not happy about it. Of course, we also pick up on Catwoman’s perspective a little more this month, as it is her title, but the narrative keeps them both front and center. It’s hard to believe that this event is just about half over and so far, I have yet to see a spark of life in it. What a way to begin my tenure as the reviewer for Catwoman… well, let’s see if this issue marks an improvement.

As if the conceptual problems and poor execution of this event weren’t enough, this issue adds another problem to the mix. It proves that this is another decompressed story. Even at a rather concise six core issues, there isn’t enough plot in this series to fill out the pages. Nothing happens in this issue. Okay, correction, Jason gets captured by Batman (after being trounced in a fight for the second time in three issues). Other than that, nothing happens. Most of this issue is simply retreading the ground we’ve already covered. After Batman took down a bunch of Selina’s people and their base of operations, we now see they relocated and have gone right back to robbing things. Batman is still wandering around attacking people and acting unhinged, although ironically he’s portrayed better in this issue than in his own title. At least he attempts to talk Jason out of fighting instead of going insane and beating his family to a pulp without a second thought. His internal monologue also reads a little more human and less edgy; the edge is reserved for dialogue as you can see below.

The one thing that annoyed me most reading this issue is Red Hood’s behavior. It’s one thing if he thinks Catwoman’s method works and doesn’t want to stop her (though he would definitely not feel that way) but this issue takes it to an extreme. He starts teaching her student thieves how to steal cars and goes along on the heist to help out. It’s true when Red Hood started out he took control of the organized crime in Gotham rather than stamping it out, but there are some key differences when comparing these two versions of the character. In Under the Hood Jason is pretty clearly shown to be the bad guy. We might sympathize with him somewhat but he is not a protagonist. Jason also isn’t joining in on committing the crimes. His thought process in that story is if he’s the boss he can keep drugs away from kids and enact his own idea of justice. In this case, he just agrees with Catwoman’s ideas and becomes a skilled thug who is helping criminals rob people, primarily for their own personal gain, regardless of how the book wants to frame it. Added together with his tendency to be walked all over by anyone he tries to fight, Jason looks like a loser in this comic.

There is also an exceedingly weird recontextualization of Nightwing and Catwoman’s relationship in this issue where she is portrayed as a mother figure to him.

Besides the fact that Selina and Bruce were never shown to be dating when Dick was a kid, I don’t know where any of this comes from. To the best of my knowledge, Hush and King’s Batman run are the only times Selina and Bruce have ever been together and in both cases they were together as Batman and Catwoman. I don’t know when Bruce and Selina would be going to operas together. Maybe I just don’t see them as going on a date like that because King’s idea of their romance was staring into each other’s eyes and saying “I love you, Bat,” “I love you, Cat” for a few pages.

I could go on picking this comic apart for longer than anyone wants to read, so I’ll close by saying the dialogue and character voices are better than what I was expecting after the last two issues but there are multiple examples of poor dialogue that do crop up. The best would have to be this one:

What a mess of a pair of panels. It’s simultaneously clunky and unnatural as a string of words and forced and distracting as an unveiled reminder of how supposedly effective Catwoman’s plan is.

I don’t have a lot to say about the art this month. It isn’t fantastic but it’s wholly competent. Sometimes it can be a little stiff but I didn’t spot many glaring flaws and stylistically it gets the job done with enough flash that I can’t find anything worth taking the time to critique. It’s also not, unfortunately, impressing me enough that I feel the need to praise it more than to say it does the work that it is intended to (which honestly is very respectable).

Recommended if…

  • You’re already enjoying this event. This won’t be the issue that ruins it for you
  • Seeing Batman at least attempt to stop the “war” is worth reading
  • You hate Jason and want to see him get thrashed once again


This comic is integrally tied to an awful event and even if it wasn’t, it would still be a pretty weak issue. It’s low on content and makes a few moves with characters that throw me off regardless the context of the overall plot. The high points would be the art and some of the better moments of dialogue but neither of these things are particularly impressive either. In the end this is the best The Gotham War has to offer so far and that’s unfortunate.

Score: 3/10

DISCLAIMER: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.