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Catwoman #34

Posted: Friday, August 27, 2004
By: Jason Cornwell



"War Games, Act 1 Part 7: Cold Hard Facts"

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

Publisher: D.C. Comics

Plot:
As the gang war that is raging through Gotham City strays into the East End we see Catwoman is spurred into taking action to preserve the tentative peace she had managed to create. However, the gang war proves to be quite determined to pull in the entire city, as she finds herself in conflict with Mister Freeze who was employed by one of the warring gangs. As the issue ends we see Catwoman learns who is responsible for setting off this gang war.

Comments:
Okay the big explanation for what set off this gang war is one of the goofiest plot devices that I've ever comes across, and it serves to undermine what had been already been a pretty desperate feeling crossover arc to begin with. I mean forget the idea that Batman wouldn't have some means of restricting the access of information that one could pull from the Batcomputer, but this explanation also asks readers to accept that one could set this ambitious plan in motion without raising some serious red flags. However, if one dismisses the moments where this book acknowledges that it's part of a crossover, than what we have is a surprising average issue of Catwoman where once again Selina finds herself having to drive out the criminal element that has intruded on Gotham's East End. Now the book does earn marks for pitting Catwoman against a super-powered opponent, but the cartoonish finish to the Mister Freeze tussle left me a bit disillusioned. Still, the opening exchange where Catwoman deals with a high speed gun fight was well executed, and there is a solid character moment where Leslie lashes out at the escalating cycle of violence that she believes Batman's war on crime generates, and when one takes a step back to consider her comments one does have to openly question whether Batman's well intentioned efforts haven't served to exacerbate the problem.

Paul Gulacy turns in a solid effort when it comes to the delivery the issue's action scenes, as the book opens with a great bit of action that has Catwoman working to stop a running gun fight, and there's a nice sense of motion to the panel layouts. The battle with Mister Freeze later in the issue also benefits from some powerful visuals that nicely convey the villain's gimmick, though I do have to say the panel where Catwoman disarms him could've been conveyed with a greater clarity, as one depends on the dialogue to tell us that he had actually lost his gun. Still, the set piece of the flash-frozen bodies made for a wonderfully moody setting for the fight, as it nicely projects the danger that Mister Freeze poses. The quieter moments aren't as successful though as the characters look stiff, and their faces don't convey much emotion.



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