The crazy train is back this week as Ann Nocenti returns to Catwoman. Did Selina and, more importantly, her feline companion survive their trip into the Gotham City sewer rapids?
Nocenti’s run on Catwoman has been clinically insane up to this point, but it’s right about here that the insanity is becoming admirable. Say what you will, but at least Nocenti just goes for it. Okay, Catwoman is a guerrilla general between three different factions at war for control of the Gotham Underground. She’s also a demolitions expert about to use diamonds to blow up the Underground. At this point, it seems like a better idea to just roll with it than talk about how nuts it is. The very factor that had been a negative for this series is actually becoming a positive in this issue due to the sheer amount of commitment Nocenti has to this utterly insane plotline.
The dialogue has gotten far more bearable as Nocenti’s run has progressed. There really isn’t a single cringe-worthy moment in this issue as far as the dialogue is concerned. Rafa Sandoval’s art has also been improving with each issue, and there are a couple panels here where he truly shines and seems to exert a style all his own.
Also, the cat survives.
Unfortunately while the commitment to the insanity is certainly a positive, the execution of it falls into the negative column. There are just too many characters and plotlines colliding for the finale to possibly sort it all out. Having that many characters and plots to wrap up means none of them really get any sort of spotlight ending; they kind of just happen. Nothing seems to be resolved by the ending: Catwoman gets out of the Underground, sure, but everyone down there is still alive and still holding onto their grudges.
Perhaps the storyline itself was the only thing dragging the book down, and the following issues will be much stronger. Nocenti’s early work on Catwoman was actually fairly decent, before taking a turn for the worse with all the Underground stuff.
Well-executed art and a commitment to crazy help give Catwoman #26 some strong points, but the entire thing falls apart during the climax in the third act. Now that the Underground story is over with, perhaps Nocenti will be able to deliver a solid, competent, exciting new Catwoman story. Fingers crossed.