This volume contains a couple of short stories, a format that I appreciate, as not every comic book story needs to be six issues long. Picking up with the writing chores after Judd Winnick’s departure, Ann Nocenti gives us briefer tales that do not skimp on quality.
We start with a very intense game of “cat and mouse” game between the Joker and Catwoman. The creepiness of the New 52 version of Joker is a nice counterpoint to the playful sexiness of Catwoman. I am thinking here of the “strip poker” scene, as well as the point where Joker gives Selina a new costume. The ending is interesting, as Joker realizes that he prefers playing with bats than cats.
After tangling with Joker, Selina is approached to break into a super-secret A.R.G.U.S. facility (“The Black Room”) and steal whatever is being stored in a particular safe. She gets inside the facility by going undercover as a plain-jane university professor, but reveals her true identity (and costume) once she’s locked inside the archives with another researcher. As crazy things happen in the room, courtesy of the magic from a Black Diamond and other artifacts, a military squad tries to break in from outside the room. There is plenty of adventure and tension in this “closed room” story, with Selina’s dark humor coming out whenever it’s needed most.
This volume also includes the “episode 0” origin story. Angelo Melo and Julio Ferreira do a good job portraying a younger version of Selina than we get in the regular stories, although I don’t think I’d be a fan of their art style if it was the norm for the series. The origin is more of an update than something totally new, but it makes sense that the woman we see in the present grew from the kid with the tough upbringing that we see in this issue.
All of these stories give us an insight into Selina’s character, as well as telling exciting adventures. Nocenti’s take on Selina is different enough from Winnick’s for the change to be noticeable, although not jarring. This book has been one of the original “New 52” books that I’ve stuck with the longest.
source: Westerville library