Current Reviews


Catwoman #39

Posted: Tuesday, February 1, 2005
By: Jason Cornwell

"Three Piece Suit, Part Two of Three"

Writer: Scott Morse
Pencils: Diego Olmos
Inks: Jimmy Palmiotti
Colors: Laurie Kronenberg
Letters: Clem Robins
Publisher: D.C. Comics
$2.50 U.S. / $3.85 CAN

As Slam Bradley is visited by Wooden Nickel, we see the villain's threats against his son make Slam willing to talk to the villain about Catwoman. We than see Slam shows up at Selina's home to warn her about Wooden Nickel but we discover that the villain simply followed Slam to her apartment. As the two have a second fight, we see Catwoman discovers in spite of his wooden weaponry he's not flammable. As the issue ends we see Catwoman decides to take the fight to Wooden Nickel's employers.

A pretty average outing as Scott Morse looks to be unwilling to take the material in any unexpected directions, and this in turn results in a story where one can easily guess where it's heading next. I mean the idea of a villain putting the screws to a supporting cast member to learn the secrets of the hero, is a well worn plot device, and in the interest of progressing the story forward, Scott Morse decides to make Slam Bradley into the type of character who would betray a friend to protect his own interests. The story also fails to answer the question of why didn't Slam simply pick up the phone and give Selina a heads up that the big bad villain was looking for her, and if he had to give her the warning face to face that why not use the phone call to set up a neutral meeting place that wouldn't lead the villain right to her door. Of course by having Slam act like a complete novice, the big, bad villain is allowed access into Selina's inner world, and after a brief battle where Scott Morse dutifully checks off the main weakness that readers would be thinking about when faced with a villain made of wood, he has the villain make his escape, so he can return for the final chapter. In the end there's nothing terribly wrong with this issue, and I still find Wooden Nickel to be a novel creation, but frankly this arc does feel like its fill-in material, as Scott Morse appears to be trying his best the support the status quo, rather than do anything that would shake it up.

Given the rather unusual nature of Wooden Nickel's gimmick I have to say I'm quite impressed by how clearly this idea is represented by the art and any time the character is in the issue I have to say I'm ever so impressed by the art. However, when the character isn't on hand to provide the visual excitement the art isn't quite so impressive, as the panels have a rather ordinary quality about them, as it seems offers all the action from a straight on perspective, and this in turn results in some less than engaging moments. I also have to say the sequence where Catwoman gets the drop on Wooden Nickel wasn't nearly as effective as it could've been, as it fails to deliver the big impact shot after he spots her with his camera zoom eye. The scene where she sets him on fire was also could've been more impressive visually. There's also something fundamentally wrong about the panel where Catwoman has a big smile plastered on her face as Slam almost reveals her real name while she's in costume.

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