[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Joelle Jones
Artists: Elena Casagrande and Fernando Blanco
Colors: John Kalisz
Letters: Josh Reed
What is it that they say about house-guests and bad fish? How they both start to stink after a couple of days? Well, Oswald Cobblepot has been hanging around Catwoman’s new city, and Selina Kyle has been holding her nose for far too long. It’s time to send the Penguin packing! I mean, the guy smelled like fish even before he arrived.
What works in this issue is the unpredictability remains intact. With Penguin in town, following the events of the post-wedding that never happened, you’d think that Cobblepot was here to make Selina aware of who was truly behind her decision to leave Bruce. And yet again, the old bird reverts to type and uses what he has as leverage to gain Catwoman’s skills in a heist, a maneuver that would never work on Batman. And to add insult to injury that final twist of the knife at the end. Masterful depiction of a beloved Rogues Gallery member.
Given that he only name dropped Holly to get Selina’s attention leaves one to wonder how truly terrified he is of Bane and the repercussions of revealing Holly’s duplicity to her oldest friend. If that elixir does what he believes, he’s looking for an insurance policy because he knows he’s a dead man for speaking to Batman alone. Joelle is also smart in linking the custodian’s artifact with the Creels. If all of those creatures are undead, then Raina has again let her greed corrupt one more innocent life. Raina’s path is not unlike Bruce’s when Damian was killed; the grief of the loss of a child is the worst pain a parent can feel. It’s what made the Flashpoint version of Thomas Wayne into Batman and Martha into The Joker.
Her reaction to Raymond urging her to reconsider speaks much of her character flaws, mistaking his concern for her out of sibling jealousy. Perhaps Raina is striving so hard to bring Adam back because she feels that he was the only thing in her life not tainted by her darkness. A darkness she still chooses to embrace. The exchange between Selina and the Custodian – for lack of a better name – is an interesting parallel. The devoted protector of a dark power faces off against a woman of the streets whose pure thrill lies in the act of a theft. Joelle goes the extra mile with Selina in that fight. You’re used to seeing Catwoman with grace, strength, and ferocity in battle. Resorting to brutality isn’t her style.
I would’ve liked to have known more about this custodian. Like her name, for example. She is exotic, but I refrained from using descriptors like “African” or “Jamaican” because I didn’t want to be disrespectful if I was wrong in her ethnicity. Also, Raina’s eyes look too large in some shots; she’s disfigured and missing a nose, but making her look too much like a corpse was unnecessary. It contradicts the way Joelle designed her.
Jones is a smart writer in using the artifact and its powder as a plot device to draw Selina back into the Creels’ business. The art is tight and fight choreography was amazing. I just would like to know more about this woman Selina stole from. Every character is a throwaway until they are given substance and characterization. Even the great Harley Quinn was once a throwaway character. Anyway, the use of Adam’s fate as a precursor to a further confrontation between Catwoman and Raina is a good decision and I look forward to seeing what becomes of him after being brought back. Further, I’m interested to see if Selina can claw any information Oswald has on Holly. See you next time.