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Catwoman #43

Posted: Thursday, June 2, 2005
By: Jason Cornwell



"Pest Control"

Writer: Andersen Gabrych
Pencils: Rick Burchett
Inks: Alvaro Lopez
Colors: Giulia Brusco
Letters: Rob Leigh
Publisher: D.C. Comics
$2.50 U.S. / $3.50 CAN

Plot:
As Killer Croc, under orders from the Black Mask, moves in on the Hill, we see that neighbourhood's protector narrowly escapes her encounter with this hulking monster, and she quickly turns to Catwoman for help. We than see these two woman come up with a plan to trap the less than intelligent Killer Croc into a trap, and once they've immobilized him, they use him to send a message to the Black Mask.

Comments:
Okay you have a character whose main claim to fame is that they are a super-strong, crazed killing machine who occasionally succumbs to acts of cannibalism. With this in mind you are tasked with coming up with a way of having Catwoman defeat this character, and the solution you come up with is to have the character tricked into wandering into a tangle of ropes that have been strung across a darken room, and this character gets all tangled up. Now I realize that the writer could point to the fact that those ropes were quite thick, and that the women used a pulley system to really tighten up those ropes, but asking readers to buy into the idea that this would be enough to stop Killer Croc was a bit of a stretch. The idea that the issue ends with Killer Croc being discovered by his employer rather than the police also shows a poor understanding of the character, as it asks readers to believe that after being handed such a humiliating defeat, Killer Croc's first move would be to sulk off to lick his wounds rather than going on a rampage though Gotham's East End, in a desperate bid to recapture the respect that this defeat had cost him. Still I guess if one is looking for a done-in-one issue that features Catwoman working to bring down Killer Croc than you could certainly do worse than this issue, as up until the lame-duck finish the battle was actually quite entertaining. I like the idea of Catwoman arming herself with a special set of claws that would allow her to get through Killer Croc's thick hide, and there's also a nice little sequence where we see her attempting to slow Killer Croc down for long enough so her partner can get set up inside. In fact given this was a fill-in issue between creative teams I have to give it credit for having a little more heft than I've come to expect from issues like this one, and the continuity references were nicely worked into the issue, as Catwoman relationship with the Black Mask is deftly presented.

First off I have to say I loved the cover to this issue, as its use of empty space is really quite impressive, and it was enough to have me looking the other way when it comes to the artistic cheat this cover employs. Plus the photo-shop elements on the cover are actually worked into the image far better than I've come to expect. As for the interior art while Rick Burchett doesn't really offer up any visuals that grabbed my attention he does tell the story is a clear, easy to follow manner, and the big impact moments of the issue are well done. I mean the credit page arrival of Killer Croc manages to nicely sell the element of surprise, and the opening battle that Catwoman has with the abusive pimp had a nice sense of motion on display. I will say the idea that the Black Mask is allowed to express emotions while wearing a mask struck me as being a strange though, as one of the more unsettling aspects that comes with a character who wears a mask is that you can't read their faces, and as such one is cut off from what they are thinking.



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