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Catwoman #42

Posted: Monday, May 9, 2005
By: Jason Cornwell



"Of Cats and Dogs, Part 2 of 2"

Writer: Matteo Casali
Pencils: Brad Walker
Inks: Jimmy Palmiotti
Colors: Laurie Kronenberg
Letters: Ken Lopez
Publisher: D.C. Comics
$2.50 U.S. / $3.50 CAN

Plot:
As Catwoman arrives at the arena where the killer she's been tracking is employed as a fighter who battles savage attack dogs, we see she is forced to sit through a couple gruesome displays of human depravity, before her killer puts in an appearance. As she enters the arena we see her make pretty quick work of the killer, who in turn is cruelly dispatched by his employer. We than see this man turns his attentions Selina's way, but she makes it quite clear that she is not intimidated, nor is she willing to let him continue his twisted form of entertainment.

Comments:
Oddly enough while the cover visual would seem to suggest otherwise, and all the previous material seemed to give the impression that the story was heading toward a big confrontation between Catwoman and a pack of blood-crazed attack dogs, we made it through this two-part adventure without a single dog attack directed Catwoman's way. Now sure they growl menacingly at her, but apparently these dogs have been so finely trained that they won't attack unless they're intended target is bleeding, though explanation that seems to have been thought up after other sections of the story had already been written, as earlier in the book these animals seem to have no problem attacking a non-bleeder. Still, I guess this explanation does allow the big, bad villain the opportunity to deliver the required evil speech where they delight in the idea that they've got the hero over a barrel, and this in turn affords our hero the opportunity to turn the tables and the villain finds himself menaced by his own attack dogs. Now I understand why the writing didn't offer up the seemingly inevitable scene where Catwoman battled the attack dogs, as the writing made the extra effort to establish that the behaviour of these animals was due entirely the treatment that they received at the hands of their handlers, and as such having Catwoman take them out would feel like she was punishing the wrong villains. However, it did strike me as a little strange that we got an entire arc that seemed to want to play with the cat/dog rivalry, and yet when all was said and done, Catwoman never had to defend herself against a single dog attack. Still, her big battle with the goon who killed the prostitutes was a pretty impressive display, as it was nicely established that Catwoman wasn't holding back on any of her attacks.

First off while the scene never actually plays out inside the book I have to give Paul Gulacy full marks for capturing the sheer intensity of the clash that I had been expecting to find inside. As for the interior art Brad Walker turns in some pretty detailed work that does a pretty effective job when it comes to presenting the seedy nature of the environment that Catwoman finds herself, as the physical abuse of the dogs is really quite unpleasant. There's also a lovely sequence in this issue where we see one of the fighters enters the ring ready for any challenge, and the art perfectly capture the moment where it becomes all too apparent that he's in no way prepared to face these animals. The scene where Catwoman takes out the man who killed several women in the East End was also well done as the impact shots have a wonderful sense of power to them. The scene where this man comes to a bad end was also a nicely disturbing moment, that is deftly handled largely off-panel.



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