REVIEW: Catwoman #13

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Catwoman is being followed as burnt mementos of her friend Lola start literally dropping in her lap. Will she figure out who her stalker is or will she end up a pawn in a larger game? More after the jump.


SUMMARY

Pros
Art is solid, but not innovative
Cons

The writing doesn’t work for this series

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆

READER RATING!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (8 votes, average: 2.00 out of 5)


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CATWOMAN #13
Writer: Ann Nocenti
Artist: Rafa Sandoval
Letterer: Carlos M. Mangual
Colorist: Sonia Oback
Editor: Rachel Gluckstern
Publisher: DC Comics, Inc.
Cover Price: $2.99

Previously in Catwoman: Catwoman’s sordid past was revealed as being a hodge-podge of different origin stories cobbled together to make one Catwoman origin quilt of Catwoman-iness. Turns out, she was a prostitute, a thief and she was brought back from the dead by cats a la Batman Returns.


NOCENTI NOIRE

In this issue, Selina Kyle has taken up a job playing chess on a city-sized level, only to find out that she may have been set up, as usual. In addition, two toys, a stuffed cat and a toy robot, are left as clues for Kyle to ponder. Since they were both in the apartment with her friend Lola when it exploded, their making it back into her life is a bit vexing for Selina.

This is Ann Nocenti’s second issue as writer of Catwoman and so far it’s so-so. Nocenti definitely makes an attempt to try her hand at prose writing for comics, something that, when done correctly, can really make a book lovely to read. Here, it kind of falls flat and leaves several moments rather disorienting and confusing, sounding more like oddly worded film noire than a well written book.

For example, what’s with Catwoman’s latest job? What does this have to do with thievery? Why is she going along with this weird game? Why did she wear her Catwoman suit to go and meet the client? In broad daylight? With onlookers? It’s hard to believe that anyone, no matter how engrossed in a game you are, would miss a woman in a black pleather outfit with cat ears and goggles.

Nevertheless, the book’s ties to the Death of the Family plot are hard to ignore. With several clues dropped throughout, such as Selina’s chasing down the man who literally dropped Lola’s stuffed kitten back into her life or a toy robot creepily watching her as she sleeps, the book’s potential ties to the plot are too good to ignore.

A STUDY IN PURPLE AND GREEN

The art for this book is fairly solid and standard. There’s very little variation from the previous issues with the exception that Catwoman’s cup-size keeps fluctuating. There are really no complaints about the art, but there’s nothing here that’s really innovative.

However, it should be noted that Rafa Sandoval seems to really like playing with color and imagery, dropping several clues about the Joker’s return throughout the book. There’s a splash of green here in a stuffed cat’s eyes and a bit of purple there in Gwen’s jacket. Several stylized jester motifs make appearances as gargoyles, wallpaper and clothes hanging on a clothesline. The Alice in Wonderland Cheshire cat also makes an appearance, first as a green mural and second as Catwoman’s Cat-signal. Sandoval seems to enjoy playing with Nocenti’s clue dropping in the story itself and it really works for this book.

In the end, the art is kind of like purgatory: It’s not bad, but it’s not great either.

BOTTOM LINE: PICK IT UP ONLY FOR THE DEATH OF THE FAMILY PLOT

Personally, I don’t care for Ann Nocenti’s writing and actually dropped her Green Arrow run fairly early on. I was thus a little disappointed to see her working on Catwoman, a series that I have adored since the beginning of it’s New 52 run. Her writing isn’t terrible. It just doesn’t really work for this series and feels more like a labored attempt at mimicking Grant Morrison’s more prose-like style. The art is fairly solid for this book with little complaints, if any. Overall, this is a good starting point for the Death of the Family story arc, but on it’s own it’s just an okay book.

Rating: ★★★☆☆