[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Story & Art: Joelle Jones
Colors: Laura Allred
Letters: Josh Reed
Selina’s forced into a seriously sinister Sopranos-style sit-down! While the cops continue to hunt her for a murder she didn’t commit, Catwoman’s forced to take a meeting with secretive crime boss Mrs. Creel. Here’s the pitch: work for us or die! Selina counters with some blackmail of her own, but the offer fails to blow away Creel and her meta-crew. That leads to a breakneck chase that drives Catwoman right into the crosshairs of the local authorities.
One of Jones’s strengths on this book is showing Catwoman at her best when backed into a corner. While she’s not Bruce Wayne, her method of keeping her opponents on their toes with both her sensuality and her ferocity make her more than worthy of the Dark Knight’s favor. While fast-paced, Jones sets up the frame-by-frame fight sequences to be a lesson in humility for Raina Creel. The girl from the Lower East Side of Gotham bests Creel in both her fighting prowess and her psychology. Although she knows little about Creel, Selina has seen the worst of the worst and is intuitive enough to hit the right kind of nerves with Raina. Jones provides the reader with an antagonist who truly believed that she was untouchable until she made an enemy of a woman who couldn’t be bought or intimidated.
In the end, all the metahuman hormone ingestion and paid-off cops were an utter waste, a facade of security and family as artificial as her facial prosthetics. The death of Adam was unexpected for two reasons. First, Jones set up this antagonist as a woman without a soul who has drilled her sons from birth to be just as steel-hearted. Adam, however, seems like the exception. His soul had not been tainted yet by her mother’s darkness. The fact that he deliberately tries to stop her mother from firing on Selina shows she’s masterfully deceived her youngest to her evil. He was trying to save what no longer existed. Second, after coldly poisoning her husband and forcibly augmenting Raymond, this is the first time since the first issue that Raina has been shown to hold any value to her children.
The death of Adam Creel was the additional incentive for this vendetta to grow beyond territorial invasion. The lack of media coverage following the VCPD bursting in leaves Raina’s fate a mystery. That decision works in that the reader is left to wonder how far in the authorities does Raina’s influence reach. After spending six issues setting up such a complicated character, it would be a waste to see a potential archnemesis for Catwoman to just vanish. Jones has created a mesh of some of the finest underworld villains in comics in this soulless witch and it’s great foundation for a recurring character in this series.
The emotional resolution in Selina is rewarded by Maggie’s improvement. That subtle smile that Maggie gives in that lower right panel is beautifully subtle but telling that Selina’s world just got a little brighter. She is her sister’s redemption, whether it’s verbally acknowledged or not.
The cover is very deceptive and nothing but a tease. This woman has parts of her face soaking overnight and not once did her disfigurement become evident as it is on the cover. Readers were anxious to see Creel’s disguise exposed for all to see, and yet that moment never occurred. Her design seemed structured for either exposure or further disfigurement by her own hand.
Selina’s new support base at the pawn shop should have at least made an appearance. The metahuman enhancement was also a let down; it just made Raymond look like a Freddie Krueger halfway done in the makeup chair. Readers may have been expecting something on the level of Bane, but it was sadly anticlimactic, right down to the begging for his life. Will Saito’s story arc involving chasing after Catwoman is redundant. This feels like a replay of a cliched cop-and-thief-romance that doesn’t really feel like treading new ground.
Finally, this issue had too much static with regards to storyboarding. You have to go over it a second time to understand where your eye has to travel.
While Jones’s artwork doesn’t disappoint and the plot device of a dead child makes for a recurring arch-villain, her sequential art is at times hard to follow along. I’m sad to say that the conclusion of “Copycats” is the weakest of her first arc on this book. What was billed as a big battle became something on the level of a domestic dispute. Still, her art and writing has convinced me to stick with the book because big plans are on the horizon.