Review: Catwoman 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular

Catwoman 80th Anniversary

Review: CATWOMAN 80TH ANNIVERSARY 100-PAGE SUPER SPECTACULAR

Catwoman 80th Anniversary

 

[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]

Writers: Paul Dini, Ann Nocenti, Tom King, Jeff Parker, Liam Sharp, Mindy Newell, Chuck Dixon, Will Pfeifer, Ram V, Ed Brubaker

Artists: Emanuela Lupacchino, Mick Gray, Robson Rocha, Daniel Henriques, Mikel Janin, Jonathan Case, Liam Sharp, Lee Garbett, Kelley Jones, Danny Miki, Pia Guerra, Fernando Blanco, Cameron Stewart

Colours: Laura Allred, Alejandro Sanchez, Jordie Bellaire, Jonathan Chase, Liam Sharp, Alex Sinclair, Steve Oliff, John Kalisz, FCO Plascencia, Cameron Stewart

Letters: Wes Abbott, Saida Temofonte, Clayton Cowles, Jonathan Chase, Tom Napolitano, Tom Orzechowski, Steve Wands, Gabriela Downie, Cameron Stewart

 

Reviewed By: Derek McNeil

 

Summary

Catwoman 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular: Our gal Catwoman is turning 80 next year (and looking very good, if we meow say), and DC is celebrating with nothing less than with a huge soiree, invite only, packed with creators who mean the most to her and to whom she means the most! Stories featured in this 100-page spectacular include a tail-sorry, tale-that takes place at the end of the Brubaker/Stewart Catwoman run, in honor of artist Darwyn Cooke. Plus, Catwoman is caught by an exotic cat collector, runs into a wannabe thief trying to prove himself as her apprentice, encounters a mystery involving memorabilia from alternate continuities, and of course some Bat/Cat fun.

 

Positives

In Scott Snyder’s final issue of Justice League, the League set off on an epic battle to “give reckoning to every story, every event throughout history. The ones you know… and the ones you do not”. The implication seems to be that all iterations of DCU continuity through the matters. Everything matters.

This Catwoman 80th Anniversary exemplifies that theme beautifully, presenting us with stories with various different versions of Catwoman as she’s been presented through her history. The current canon version of Catwoman appears, as does the dominatrix prostitute version from Batman: Year One. Even the Catwoman as played by Julie Newmar in the 1966 Batman TV show appears. If you included the pin-ups scattered throughout the issue, just about every version of Catwoman is represented.

As often happens with an anthology book, the stories are not all equal in quality. However, there are no clunkers. Each is at least an entertaining read. However, a few of the stories stick out as especially good ones.

Catwoman 80th Anniversary

Positives Cont.

“Little Bird” by Mindy Newell and Lee Garbett is a touching story. Years ago, one of Selina’s foster mothers wanted to pass on a Mezuzah onto Selina some day. When Selina sees that it is now on display, Selina makes sure it is returned to its rightful owner. This story shows that even Frank Miller’s street-hardened version of Catwoman has a tender side. She has some treasure pleasant memories in her childhood, even if it was mostly terrible.

Another interesting story by Will Pfeifer and Pia Guerra places a disoriented Selina at a mysterious Bat-Con. This is an odd comic convention where the characters themselves appear to sign autographs or hold panels where fans can directly question them.

There are even some moments of “leaning on the fourth wall” that refer to the Catwoman 80th Anniversary special itself. The special’s cover is visible in one panel as a poster. Also, the “current story line” is referred to as “the one that ends in a couple of pages?”. And it even refers to Tom King’s story in the special when a fan mentions, “I hear she gets pregnant again. And this time the dad is you know who”.

Catwoman 80th Anniversary

Positives Cont.

Speaking of which, “Helena” by Tom King and Mikel Janin is the real gem of the issue. King’s Batman Annual #2 from 2017 showed vignettes from the romance between the Bat and the Cat over the years, even into the future. However, this story focuses in on their daughter, starting with the discovery of Selena’s pregnancy.

This story show Selena struggling with impending motherhood. Like a cat, Selena is a free spirit and hates to be tied down. However, she feels that a child will do exactly that. However, anyone who knows cats, will also know how strong the maternal instinct is. Selena comes to accept her daughter, happily accepting her new role as a mother.

In an epilogue set after Bruce’s death, Selena is telling her grown daughter that she takes after her father. It’s a touching story of how Selena overcomes her uncertainty and comes to treasure her baby daughter. This sweet tale makes me eager to read Tom King’s upcoming Batman/Catwoman maxi-series.

 

Negatives

In my review for The Flash #750, I voiced some concern about the overuse of the decade variant covers. These covers are truly beautiful to behold, but it is pretty unfair to completionist fans to do this with a book that already has a hefty cover price. And if you want a full set of covers, that’s ten times the cost.

It was bad enough to do this once a month for several months in a row. But now, thanks to the recent upheavals in DC’s release schedule, the Catwoman, Joker, and Green Lantern anniversary specials are all coming out in a single month. I suppose I should be glad that at least DC isn’t bringing them all out on the same week. But please, DC, could you put a moratorium on these decade variants for a few months? My wallet needs time to recover from the beating it’s receiving this month.

 

Verdict

The Catwoman 80th Anniversary 100-Page Super Spectacular is a fine collection of Catwoman stories. This special revisits many eras’ interpretations of the character, bringing them back to life, proving that ever story does indeed matter.

 

 

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Derek McNeil

I have been an avid reader of DC Comics since the early 70s. My earliest exposure was to Batman and Superman comics, Batman (Adam West) reruns, and watching the Super-Friends every Saturday morning.