Monday, January 19, 2015

Review of Catwoman 7-12

Catwoman Volume 2: Dollhouse, by Judd Winnick, with art by Adriana Melo & Guillem March. Collecting issues 7-12.

Runaways and prostitutes are being kidnapped off the streets of Gotham. It’s the kind of street-level crime that the GCPD has barely noticed, and that Batman doesn’t often get involved with at this stage, leaving Catwoman to do the job. But working closely with the police to bring down this creep may jeopardize the lucrative business she has going on as a high-end car thief.

She has hooked up with a mildly-electrified character called Spark who helps her with the thievery, but whose ultimately loyalty becomes a plot point by issues 11 and 12. Her new fence and partner, Gwen Altamont, is a nice addition to the cast, and her growing working relationship with Detective Alvarez is also a nice subplot. Issue 10 ends with her surprising the Detective in his home. She just came for a chat, but even a helpful police Detective will not take kindly to an unannounced visit from a wanted criminal. There is quite a fight scene, after which their partnership progresses. 

I far preferred March’s realistic pencils in issues 9 & 10 to Melo’s cartoony style of art in issues 7 & 8, and 11 & 12. Yes, Catwoman should be fun and energetic and have a bit of humor, but there is an underlying grittiness that March expresses better.

Winnick did a good job with issue 9, a Night of Owls crossover that brought the Penguin into the book. But this did not slow down the “Dollhouse” arc, as he was able to include the crossover events without having to divert too far from his own ongoing storyline. The appearance of Batman in issue 12 is also handled well. 

In every iteration of Catwoman, she straddles the lines between villain and hero. This New 52 version of the transition from villain to anti-hero has been enjoyable to see. Winnick has a good handle of the character, and consistently gives her good and entertaining bits of dialogue. I have fallen behind in my reading of this title, which continues to sell relatively well. 

Note: Issues 1-6 were reviewed here.

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