Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Summarize, Explode, Rinse, Repeat: A Brief Review of Catwoman #62

You are well aware by now, Gentle Reader, my rabid fangirl-ness for the Amazon Princess. You've seen my modest but ever expanding Wonder Woman Action Figure Collection, heard my sighs of joy and cries of relief over Mr. Heinberg's run, my admiration and heartfelt gratitude for Mr. Rucka's run, and my longing-—ever, ever my longing!-—to one day get my hands on An Amazon Story Of My Own. I adore the Wonder Woman because she is, in fact, truly wonderful: she's strong, proud, beautiful, alien, familiar, complicated, everything that an aspiring writer (that would be This Humble Author) could want to write, an impressionable young woman (that would be This Humble Author, circa 1982) could want to be, and an adoring fan (see above re: This Humble Author) could want to see. She is, quite simply, The Perfect Character.

Therefore I feel it quite safe to say that the Wonder Woman is secure on her pedestal of my esteem, even though she's beginning to have some competition.

When asked my ranking for Favorite DC Superheroes of the Double-X Chromosome Persuasion, I would offer you the following list:
1) Wonder Woman
2) Black Canary
3) Catwoman
4) Big Barda
5) Huntress

A simple list, an obvious one, and certainly it comes as no surprise that the woman who loves Wonder Woman would certainly love Big Barda, and that the woman who loves Catwoman would certainly love Huntress. Loving Black Canary requires no thought, I believe; it just comes naturally to us all. But thankfully, all of these characters have had or currently have great writers on board: Gail Simone (Huntress, Big Barda, and Black Canary), Greg Rucka and Allen Heinberg (Wonder Woman), Brad Meltzer (Black Canary), Ed Brubaker and Will Pfeifer (Catwoman). There have been leaks and trickles throughout the lines, a Wonder Woman here, a Black Canary there, but overall, these writers have had extensive time to develop these characters from What Came Before to What Comes Now, and overall, have done a hell of a job.

That being said, I must confess the following four things: 1) I think I love Birds of Prey more now that Dinah's left and Barda's joined, 2) I will always miss Greg Rucka's run of Wonder Woman, regardless of who's writing it, 3) I adore Catwoman, and found it to be one of the best comics on the market, but 4) I no longer look forward to it as eagerly as I once did.

Catwoman #62

Gentle Reader, the reason for my less-than-enthusiastic response to the Post-Crisis Catwoman is really quite simple: I'm beginning not to care as much about Selina as I used to.

That's hard for me to admit, and I want you to understand that as much as you can. I *adore* Selina. I *adore* Catwoman. I adore Holly and Slam and Ted and brief glimpses of The Bat and everyone else who's popped by for a spell on this very interesting comic book. But I find the One Year Later issues of Catwoman to be rather uninspired, when compared to their Pre-Crisis run.

And it's not just the Sam/Selina storyline, Gentle Reader, although I know several of you have called me to task, again and again, for my fangirl 'shipperness over a more Bat-Cat-Friendly romantic pairing. It's true, Friends, and I admit it gladly. I think the whole Parental Issue would have been Much More Interesting had a certain Batastic character played a larger, more substantial role.

That being said, let me offer an alternative to my narrow-mindedness: I understand why. A Bat-Cat child would complicate things Across The (DC) Universe, and I do think that Catwoman needs to live in her own book, and escape the sometimes overwhelming Batshadow. So, I could have accepted Slam, and I could have accepted Ted. Goodness, I could have accepted Black Mask or Film Freak, or artificial insemination or, what I really thought was going to happen Post-Crisis, a melding of all the worlds' Selinas into Our World Selina, with a slight side effect of pregnancy from a random pregnant Selina Out In The Ether. But with Sam Bradley, particularly because he is now deceased, we need not worry about a Sam-Selina entanglement complicating the framework. And that seems almost too easy.

But in the end, it's even more simple than this: I am *upset* with Selina. The moment when Selina tells Holly and crew about murdering Black Mask, for example, made me Grit My Teeth. Selina says, "I did what I had to do, Holly. I'm not proud... but I'm not ashamed, either." And, kudos for Selina, everyone nods and pats her on the back. Holly flashes back to a similar decision she had to make, way back when, and, just in case she wasn't completely in the mood to forgive Selina, Slam adds his two cents: "She's right, kid. We all have our reasons."

Yes, we do. Selina made a difficult choice, and saved many lives because of it. Do you know who else did that recently, Gentle Reader?

Wonder Woman.

But while Selina gets pats on the back and "aw shucks" congratulations, Wonder Woman gets scorn, derision, abandonment, and loneliness. While Selina gets a happy family scene at the end of the book, Holly, Karon, Slam, and Helena all snuggled up to the Cat Woman, Wonder Woman gets secret identities and juries and distrust from those that are supposed to trust her the most.

And I know the reasons: superpowered vs. human, publicly vs. quietly, ambassador for peace vs. criminal. They're all there for me, laid out in beautiful color glossy. But I think what I'm missing here is a more in-depth Selina. A more introspective Selina. The Selina who questioned herself, over and over again, after discovering The Hell That Had Been Wrought On Her by one mind-altering Zatanna. I want her to be less blasé, about her life, about the murder of Black Mask, about Helena's safety. I want to see how truly complicated having a child has made her life, because as of now, despite all that's happened, it doesn't feel like all that much has changed.

But hope not only springs Ever Eternal, it also draws Endlessly Near. Catwoman #63 comes out This Very Week, Gentle Reader, and according to DC's website, we are moving Out Of Gotham and Into Metropolis. Perhaps this move is exactly what Selina needs. And frankly, I am Quite Intrigued at the thought of the Cat-Woman tangling up again with the Super-Man.

Perhaps a certain Dark Knight might even reappear? This Humble Author can only dream....

17 comments:

Loren said...

As always, a great read, Amy Reads.

I actually thought about you when I read Catwoman and the story unfolded about who Helena's father really is because I know you were not wanting it to be him. I think there's definitely been some interesting decisions Selina has had to make as a result of being a mother...for example, it must have been hard for her to ask Zatanna to use the very device that had been used on her for the very reason that Zatanna used it on Dr. Light. But, I agree that I'd like to see more interaction with the Bat.

As for my ranking for Favorite DC Superheroes of the Double-X Chromosome Persuasion:

1. Wonder Woman
2. Batgirl (Babs, of course)
3. Black Canary
4. Manhunter (Kate, of course)
5. Catwoman

You'll be happy to know, though, that Big Barda, who was never really in the top 10 or 20 for me before is probably close to top 5 now as a result of BOP. I like the way Gail writes her and, I agree, I'm actually enjoying BOP even more post-Dinah.

Skeets said...

I loved Greg Rucka's Wonder Woman. But I admit, I had to abandon it when it became apparent that his run was going to be incomplete thanks to Infinite Crisis. Blinding Wonder Woman was brilliant, because somehow she kicked even more booty. That storyline made me realize for the first time how formidable she was.

It was... interesting... to see some of the fan reaction to her blinding. People were saying that Rucka hated women--why, just look at how he treats women in his other books! Never mind the fact that Superman was killed, Batman maimed and mindraped, Hal Jordon turned evil... If anything bad happens to Wonder Woman, it's because the writer hates women. And how many times has Buffy been killed?

Stupid, stupid people...

Although I do think it's amusing that readers are so protective of poor, defenseless Wonder Woman.

I wish she could have stayed blind a little bit longer. I loved her blind!

Amy Reads said...

Hi Loren,
As always, a great read, Amy Reads.

Flattery will get you everywhere, darling! :)
Thanks for reading :)

I actually thought about you when I read Catwoman and the story unfolded about who Helena's father really is because I know you were not wanting it to be him.

It's just that Sam was too convenient, esp. now that he's dead. It's a way of making Selina have a baby without any daddy complications.
And again, I don't even mind that it wasn't Bruce (although *Swoon* I wanted it to be!), but Sam just felt... peripheral.

I think there's definitely been some interesting decisions Selina has had to make as a result of being a mother...for example, it must have been hard for her to ask Zatanna to use the very device that had been used on her for the very reason that Zatanna used it on Dr. Light. But, I agree that I'd like to see more interaction with the Bat.

Indeed! Although the Zatanna thing seems to have been dropped rather quickly. It's just pre-Crisis, we saw a Catwoman blinded by panic and confusion. In these moments, she decided to kill Black Mask. Now, everything's better without anything being better. Does that make sense?

As for my ranking for Favorite DC Superheroes of the Double-X Chromosome Persuasion:
1. Wonder Woman
2. Batgirl (Babs, of course)
3. Black Canary
4. Manhunter (Kate, of course)
5. Catwoman


I'm really liking Manhunter myself. I've got her run ready to read. I was going to do it on the way to the UK, but I read New Avengers instead :)

You'll be happy to know, though, that Big Barda, who was never really in the top 10 or 20 for me before is probably close to top 5 now as a result of BOP. I like the way Gail writes her and, I agree, I'm actually enjoying BOP even more post-Dinah.

Huzzah! She's *fabulous*!
Ciao,
Amy

Amy Reads said...

Hi Skeets,
I loved Greg Rucka's Wonder Woman. But I admit, I had to abandon it when it became apparent that his run was going to be incomplete thanks to Infinite Crisis. Blinding Wonder Woman was brilliant, because somehow she kicked even more booty. That storyline made me realize for the first time how formidable she was.

Same here. I thought the run with Medusa was absolutely brilliant. Rarely have I seen better writing in comics.

It was... interesting... to see some of the fan reaction to her blinding. People were saying that Rucka hated women--why, just look at how he treats women in his other books! Never mind the fact that Superman was killed, Batman maimed and mindraped, Hal Jordon turned evil... If anything bad happens to Wonder Woman, it's because the writer hates women.

I actually didn't hear any of the fan reaction; I hadn't discovered the online comic community at that point. But I don't understand the "if bad things happen to a character, then the writer must hate that character" mindset. Blinding Wonder Woman demonstrated how utterly singleminded she really is. That was *scary*, not because she is a woman, but rather, because she is that much a warrior.

And how many times has Buffy been killed?

Those people you discuss are probably the same people who hate Buffy Season 6 (This Humble Author's favorite season after #2) because Willow's not awkward and cute and Buffy's not quippy. I love character development, and I love character pieces. It's why I adore Buffy, and Rucka's run of WW.

Stupid, stupid people...
Although I do think it's amusing that readers are so protective of poor, defenseless Wonder Woman.


I'm protective of her in these two senses:
1) It really, really pisses me off that the characters in the DC Universe (not necessarily the writers) are angry with her because of the Max Lord thing, and not with, say, those who kill aliens, or Catwoman killing Black Mask, etc. It's a horrifying double-standard and I think some of it is brought on by a slight fear of a strong female warrior.
and 2) She's getting the runaround from the publishing world right now. I want a consistent monthly comic with a dedicated writer. Is that too much to ask?

I wish she could have stayed blind a little bit longer. I loved her blind!

One of the best scenes from that run was her work with Wally's Flash. Nothing but genius.
Ciao,
Amy

Skeets said...

She's getting the runaround from the publishing world right now. I want a consistent monthly comic with a dedicated writer. Is that too much to ask?

It's especially hard right now, during this new era of crossovers, for a book to be consistent. Although, Gail Simone and Dan Slott have written excellent tie-in books, ones that did not compromise the ability of their books to stand alone.

100LittleDolls said...

I think your criticisms of Catwoman are all fair. I think with this last issue too, a lot of loose plotlines had to be wrapped up, and thus were wrapped up too nicely. And I still feel like it's a real shame that we didn't get to know Sam better.

I do have hope for this next issue arc though!

Fanboy said...

I agree with Loren in that I was thinking of you when I read Catwoman #62. Although I think it was not the most satisfying reasoning in terms of storyline, I think the final reveal in terms of the baby's father did work. I was one of the ones who agreed that it would be great if Selina birthed Bruce's baby, but I think your point about ramifications is well taken. Although I haven't been reading Wonder Woman - as in ever -your love of her has inspired me to pick up he current (infrequent) series. My fave DC, women ...

1. Batgirl/Oracle
2. Black Canary
3. Manhunter (current)
4. Sascha Bordeux (in Checkmate)
5. Zatanna

Fanboy said...

So I just read issue #63 last night. You really need to read the first page.

Amy Reads said...

Hi Skeets,
It's especially hard right now, during this new era of crossovers, for a book to be consistent. Although, Gail Simone and Dan Slott have written excellent tie-in books, ones that did not compromise the ability of their books to stand alone.

I've also heard (oh those wily rumors!) that The Powers That Be want to keep Wonder Woman from being too consistent until Whedon's movie comes up. That can't be right, can it?
Ciao,
Amy

Amy Reads said...

Hi 100,
I think your criticisms of Catwoman are all fair. I think with this last issue too, a lot of loose plotlines had to be wrapped up, and thus were wrapped up too nicely.

Yes, exactly. I really wanted more development. I waited for ever so long to discover the identity of the daddy, and then to just drop Sam in my lap?

And I still feel like it's a real shame that we didn't get to know Sam better.

Yes! That's why I really thought it would be someone more lasting, so we'd get a better sense of things, you know?

I do have hope for this next issue arc though!

From your lips to God's ears!
Ciao,
Amy

Amy Reads said...

Hi Mr. Fanboy,
I agree with Loren in that I was thinking of you when I read Catwoman #62.

I have that effect on people ;)

Although I think it was not the most satisfying reasoning in terms of storyline, I think the final reveal in terms of the baby's father did work. I was one of the ones who agreed that it would be great if Selina birthed Bruce's baby, but I think your point about ramifications is well taken.

I pretty much figured it wouldn't be Bruce because of the complications. That's why I was really rooting for the "it's a complication of the Crisis" answer.
Ah well.

Although I haven't been reading Wonder Woman - as in ever -your love of her has inspired me to pick up he current (infrequent) series.

Do Rucka's run, and start with Hiketeia. It's brilliant, and a stand-alone, so you can kind of see how he writes her.

My fave DC, women ...
1. Batgirl/Oracle
2. Black Canary
3. Manhunter (current)
4. Sascha Bordeux (in Checkmate)
5. Zatanna


Yes, I love all of those :) I'm just getting into Manhunter, and I adored Sascha in the Batman series; I just can't get into Checkmate. Zatanna rocks; I just am still angry after Identity Crisis and Catwoman...
I hold grudges.
Against fictional people.
It's a thing.

And in your other post...
So I just read issue #63 last night. You really need to read the first page.

I haven't been to My Local yet (tomorrow, I hope!) but I did read the first page on DC's site. Is it the "what could possibly go wrong?" thing? :)
Ciao,
Amy

Fanboy said...

I was referring to the conversation she had with Holly about Helena's father.

Amy Reads said...

Hi Mr. Fanboy,
I was referring to the conversation she had with Holly about Helena's father.

Will respond as soon as I read it!
Ciao,
Amy

Skeets said...

I've also heard (oh those wily rumors!) that The Powers That Be want to keep Wonder Woman from being too consistent until Whedon's movie comes up. That can't be right, can it?

I understand that's what they're doing for Superman and Batman. It makes sense for them, because they have better mythologies than continuities. Plus, people know instinctively what is a Superman story and what is a Batman story. Sad as it is, I get the impression that people don't quite get Wonder Woman. She's been around forever, and she's still finding herself!

Another interesting thing to consider. Wonder Woman is the one who takes the fall in "Sacrifice." Not Superman. You would think that if people knew that someone could take control of Superman, then they'd be more afraid of him and actually support Wonder Woman's decision to kill Maxwell Lord. Superman got off easy.

Amy Reads said...

Hi Skeets,
I understand that's what they're doing for Superman and Batman. It makes sense for them, because they have better mythologies than continuities. Plus, people know instinctively what is a Superman story and what is a Batman story. Sad as it is, I get the impression that people don't quite get Wonder Woman. She's been around forever, and she's still finding herself!

It's really true, but also, kind of fascinating considering her dubious origins. I am and will always be a fan of Greg Rucka's imagining of her as a Peace Warrior and Ambassador, and I feel like we really got to know her in that run.

Another interesting thing to consider. Wonder Woman is the one who takes the fall in "Sacrifice." Not Superman. You would think that if people knew that someone could take control of Superman, then they'd be more afraid of him and actually support Wonder Woman's decision to kill Maxwell Lord. Superman got off easy.

Oooohhhh. You get my gold star award for Comment Of The Week! That's genius; I've never really thought about it that way.
Yay! Thanks for that! You've given me yet another reason to shake my finger at the big boys of DC ;)
Ciao,
Amy

Skeets said...

You might not be aware of this, but Veronica Cale apparently appears in 52. Greg Rucka is one of the writers, so maybe he's tying up loose ends from his WW run.

Amy Reads said...

Hi Skeets,
You might not be aware of this, but Veronica Cale apparently appears in 52. Greg Rucka is one of the writers, so maybe he's tying up loose ends from his WW run.

Huzzah! Thanks for letting me know. I am so woefully behind on 52 right now, that we're going to get to the end, and I am going to say, "don't forget the 39!"
err... You know what I mean :)
Ciao,
Amy