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Catwoman #26

Posted: Friday, January 2, 2004
By: Jason Cornwell



Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artists: Paul Gulacy (p), Jimmy Palmiotti (i)

Publisher: D.C. Comics

Plot:
After opening with a battle between Catwoman and a group of gunmen in a graveyard we jump back a bit to learn the Penguin has brought in the assassin Zeiss to deal with Catwoman, and the hired killer has come up with a plan to draw Catwoman out. Meanwhile Selina has set herself up as the protector of Gotham's East End, but unlike Batman she's willing to let the little crimes slide. However, when a neighborhood girl is kidnapped, Catwoman steps in to save the day.

Comments:
After I finished making an issue in my review of this week's issue of "Batman" about how I find the Penguin to be an inherently silly character, I'm quickly reminded that Ed Brubaker also decided to make use of the character in this week's issue of "Catwoman". However, Ed Brubaker does manage to enliven the scenes involving the Penguin in this issue by having the character interacting with Zeiss, a fairly formidable assassin who I'm guessing has made a previous appearance in the Batman books. Now the contrast between the highly effective Zeiss, and the goofy looking Penguin does make for an interesting comparison, though I do have to argue with Zeiss' dismissal of Bruce Lee as simply an actor, as I've seen all of his films and I'm certainly not watching them for the acting. In any event getting back to the issue, this is an issue that is largely about setting up a new status quo where Catwoman has essentially set herself up as the person that controls Gotham East End, and in a refreshing admission we see she is willing to concede that she's not out to stop all crime in the neighborhood, but rather simply discourage the more harmful elements. The issue also has a pretty shocking cliffhanger moment as Zeiss makes his first strike against Catwoman, though is starting to feel like Slam Bradley is the punching bag that every villain targeting Selina lashes out at in the opening chapters of an arc.

As for the art, there's been a bit of online buzz regarding the new art style this book has adopted, and if one has to pick a side, I have to say I very much preferred what this book had going on before the new art team's arrival, as it was a vibrant, visually exciting style, that was quite unlike anything else on the stands, while the current art team is pretty much a mirror copy of roughly a dozen other books. Now don't get me wrong Paul Gulacy is a pretty fair artist, as the fight in the graveyard is quite exciting, and the art also manages to capture the deadly menace of the assassin Zeiss quite nicely, with his encounter with Slam Bradley in the final pages being a particularly effective scene. However, the art does have a very familiar look to it that makes one truly admire what this book had going before its bid to draw in more fans by adopting a more mainstream look.

Final Word:
Not exactly an action packed reading experience as Ed Brubaker does seem to be cooling his heels as he set about introducing us to the new status quo. Now I have to say that Catwoman does look to have a more grounded stance when it comes to fighting crime than Gotham City's main protector, and it nicely suits the character to have her turning a blind eye to the crimes that don't really harm Joe and Jane Public. As for the evil villains that are plotting in the background I have to say I'm still unconvinced that the Penguin isn't a character who should've been left behind in the Silver Age, as while I can see efforts have been made to make him a contemporary villain, the artist of this issue is clearly enamored with the Silver Age look of the character which looks downright goofy. The hired assassin Zeiss looks like a fairly frightening character though, and I look forward to his eventual meeting with Catwoman, who in turn gets the opportunity in this issue to show off her more ruthless side as she pounds on a couple thugs with a savagery that should lift a few eyebrows.



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