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Catwoman #8

Posted: Wednesday, July 3, 2002
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artists: Brad Rader (p), Rick Burchett (i)

Publisher: DC

Plot:
The book opens by showing us Holly's friends lying to the police about recognizing the picture that the police are using to canvas the neighborhood. We then look in on Catwoman, as her & Slam Bradley come up with a plan that will act to expose the band of corrupt cops, while at the same time hopefully clearing Holly of the cop-killer charge that she is being sought on. We then see Catwoman pay a visit to one of her former fences, and she learns about a deal that the corrupt cops have set up, that has them trading drugs seized during a raid for a suitcase full of diamonds. We also see Slam is busy manufacturing evidence that will presumably expose this group of rogue cops. We then look in on Catwoman as she manages to plant a bomb on the underside of the truck bringing the drugs to the exchange, and she sets this bomb off during the meeting, which fills the air with debris & 200 lbs of pure grade smack. During the confusion we see Catwoman was able to make off unseen with the diamonds, which in turn leaves the corrupt cops standing on rather shaky ground.

Comments:
Another entertaining issue, and one that finally gets around to acknowledging that Catwoman is, or at least was a professional thief. This isn't to say that I haven't enjoy seeing her setup as the defender of Gotham's crime-ridden East End, as it's resulted in some fine reading. However, I'm sure longtime followers of the character will enjoy the little heist that Selina pulls off in this issue, as while it's not the most complex job I've ever seen, it makes good use of all the staples of a good heist, with it's split second timing, and it's wonderful final moment where the victim looks down to discover he's holding an empty suitcase. Now I'm glad that this series has given her a larger role to play than simply a costumed thief, who has occasional run-ins with Batman, as there's only so many jobs that a writer could come up with for her to pull off, and I imagine her previous series covered this ground pretty thoroughly, which in turn necessitated this change in direction. However, it's also nice to see that she will pull off the occasional job when it'll aid in her investigation, and one has to love how this theft left her victims in such a sorry position.

This current arc has also done a fairly nice job developing its threat, as the band of corrupt cops is allowed to use the resources that are available to all police, as we have Holly's picture being circulated around the city as a suspected cop-killer. We also have them using presumably honest cops in this search, and we see that the corruption goes up pretty high, and it also extends pretty low, as the criminal element in the East End look to be in the pocket of these corrupt officers. So in the end this story could easily become Catwoman versus the entire GCPD, as her past would make it quite easy to believe she's up to no good. One also must think that with her past Holly probably has herself a record, and as such she could easily be painted as a strung out junkie who discovered her dealer was a cop. Finally, one also has to wonder about Batman, as you would think he's been keeping tabs on Selina, and that he would presumably know about Holly. As such having Holly's picture posted all over the news as a cop-killer is sure to draw the attentions of the city's resident detective (though I also think Batman looks for excuses to visit Selina).

Brad Rader turns in another fine effort, and even better, this issue he gets a chance to show that he can deliver action sequences with the same sense of energy that made Darwyn Cooke's work on the opening arc so enjoyable. The shot of Catwoman atop the speeding train is a great action shot, and the sequence where she's trying to plant a bomb on the underside of a truck, while also trying to avoid being seen by the car following this truck is a nicely rendered action sequence. The book also does such a good job at simply telling the story, as I don't think there's a single wasted panel in this book. Every panel acts to advance the story, or key the reader in on key elements. The book also has a bit of fun with the final couple pages, as we follow Slam's mad dash to get to his car, while we also see the crooked cops discover that they've been placed in a very dangerous situation, after Catwoman manages to open a locked suitcase without the man it’s handcuffed to figuring out what's happened until it's too late. I also have to make mention of Paul Pope's eye-catching cover, as it makes great use of its largely two color scheme.

Final Word:
Another entertaining issue is a series that has yet to offer up a disappointing issue. In fact since issue one this book has been a shining example of how to deliver a crime-fiction comic. The stories are full of action and intrigue, and are steeped in all the elements that make "film noir" my favorite movie genre. This latest story started off with a bang, and has managed to maintain the sense of excitement developed in the closing pages of the first issue. This issue also manages to incorporate Catwoman's past into the story, as we see her pull off a rather clever heist, that leaves the villains of this arc in a very bad way. I'm also quite curious to see how this theft is going to be used to clear Holly of the murder charges, as right now all it looks like it'll do is get the villains killed, which still leaves Holly as an accused cop-killer. The story also offers up a pretty solid action sequence, as Catwoman manages to plant a bomb on a moving vehicle without being seen.



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