CATWOMAN has consistently been the most ludicrous comic filled with the most confused use of the character I think I’ve ever seen. It’s not hard to iron out what works with a character in these comics: They aren’t exactly tales of drama and humanity. At some point, the realization should come that you’re writing a specific superhero and that specific kinds of stories work with them.
Catwoman has done everything from Blackmail to taking part in some kind of continent spanning desert race through Asia and very little actual thieving or well, anything you kind of imagine the character would usually be up to. This issue in particular has her dealing with fighting a villain who uses a 3D printer to recreate creatures from a roleplaying game in a disused wax museum. While normally it would be the good kind of weird, with the creative team CATWOMAN has it just kind of comes off as bizarre and out-of-the-blue.
CATWOMAN’s attempts to craft a supporting cast for Selina haven’t worked because at no point in the series has it tried to codify who Selina actually is. Is she an anti-hero trying to atone for past transgressions? Is she pretending to fill the role to selfishly feel better about herself? Is she a villain who only occasionally does good things when they might benefit someone disenfranchised?
I don’t know after know having read thirty-four issues of CATWOMAN.
CATWOMAN #34 almost feels like it’s poking fun at the kind of people who play MMORPG’s obsessively. Not in a mean sort of manner, but a kind of “look at us” way.
Catwoman’s sidekick Tesla has for the most part taken the role of introvert to Selina’s own extrovert. While Selina is out as Catwoman doing the dirty work and getting involved, Tesla is playing at being her own personal Oracle and backing her up via a computer. More than anything else about the series so far, it’s been the one contribution from Nocenti that I think had really worked.
…and while It’s cool to finally see her get a story focusing on her instead of Selina, it raised more questions than it answers. Why does a super-intelligent computer hacker live in an abandoned wax museum? Is he more than a crazed stalker? Furthermore, at what point do you go from stalking someone to deciding you need to lure them into a trap to help you make advanced cat robots to rob people with? I guess I’m expecting to be able to understand the villain in a comic like this a bit too much; the plot in this issue comes off more ridiculous than threatening.
Is this another confused use of Catwoman, as a character? At this point, I don’t know. The creative team at work here has pretty much slotted Selina into any situation they thought was viable, making sure she poses attractively in each of them no matter what kind of situation it is. There’s been a one page spread in this issue of jutting waists and protruding chests – twice if you count a wax figure in this one! CATWOMAN has jumped from event to event, failing to ever solidify who Selina Kyle actually is long enough for anything that happens to have dramatic impact.
Honestly though, this could’ve been a story about a woman who was manipulated by a man in the most horrifying of ways and how her and Selina got revenge, but instead it turned into a goofy battle between mechanical monsters based on creatures from the game the Villain was playing with Tesla. At what point do you see you have a story that could actually be pretty topical to us nerds right now – mainly the harassment and creepery women deal with online and go “Hm! This doesn’t have enough robots & cosplay!”?
The end of CATWOMAN #34 has a tease for futures end and “The death of Selina Kyle!” and honestly that’s something I wish would come sooner so this comic could be put to rest.