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Catwoman has hit another rough patch with an almost absent storyline and a heroine stuck alternating between two modes: survive and grieve. Even Batman fails to show up and save this comic from being a bit bland and somewhat forgettable, but not completely un-enjoyable… just far from the cat-tastic performance I would have expected from Catwoman #4.
After showing up at a very bad time with a body, burnt evidence and a hysterical Selina, the police try to show Catwoman a good time before she makes her escape and continues to suffer the after-effects of her friend Lola’s death… as well as the electrifying grip of a new enemy.
Catwoman’s characterization involves a mixed bag of hit or miss jokes and a forlorn, emotional torrent of guilt about Lola’s death. It is great that writer Judd Winick continues to show Lola and how much she affected Selina, rather than just sweeping this important plot point and character development under the rug. But this character development seems to be heading into an unknown direction as it barely moves forward, reducing the pace of the story to a crawl in this issue.
Several exceptional elements from the previous issue are also missing here and are deeply missed: Batman fails to make his standard appearance (even quick flashes as eye candy for female readers are cut-out) and Catwoman has none of the subtle feline aspects she previously had.
Winick also seemed to be scraping for antagonists in this issue to keep the action high. Enter Reach, whose name “reaches” to an even lower standard of creativity and intrigue than Bone. Her identity is automatically clear to any reader with a brain cell, an unfortunately common phenomenon in comics (of course our protagonist is clueless, but when aren’t they?). Reach’s powers are generic, but do add to some good action scenes in the comics. Readers will feel cheated right now with the little depth her character has, which she needs to gain soon.
Guillem March’s art is beautiful, but lacks the ability to create a coherent story. The emotions on characters’ picturesque faces rarely match up with what they are saying, and the rare times when they do, the art is nearly perfect with a beautiful assortment of colors and lines. A good example is when Selina wears a forlorn, loving expression when thinking of Lola. But every other face of Selina’s and her companion’s on that page never fit the context of what is going on in the story. Some of the expressions got very comical: whenever Selina is fully suited as Catwoman, Guillem draws her with very orgasmic and uncomfortable expressions that relate little to the context of the panel.
Another redeeming quality in March’s art that is hard to find on comic stands is his great attention to detail, not only on character’s faces, but also his carefully constructed backdrops. These lead to a wonderful closing scene that easily makes the next issue of Catwoman a lot to look forward to, despite how the rest of this issue panned out.
This issue was average. A bit disappointing, considering the other wonderful issues this run of Catwoman has had. The villains are at their worst, the storyline is slinking around at a cat-crawl and previously appreciated elements have been noticeably removed. The biggest problem is the underutilization of constructive things for Catwoman to do: Winick needs to get her out of the corner sobbing and back into action.