Pure unadulterated fun with flaws, Catwoman #7 may not have the tension or grim tone I was hoping for after a serious first arc, but it's hard not to laugh and enjoy this issue. With a new and somewhat improved artist and Judd Winick's better-than-average writing, this issue became a blast despite some glaring flaws that seriously mar the issue as a whole. But a lack of enjoy ability is certainly not one of them.
After having a book with Selina losing one of her closest friends, I would expect this issue to handle the loss by having a dark vibe... but the opening of this issue is all-out hysteria. Despite this complete mood-swing, I can not help but enjoy laughing at how implausible and unnecessary it is. A Greek man and two woman are about to go "party" at the girls place. As they exit his Ferrari, they are all starting to strip half-way to the hotel.
Why doesn't this happen more on city streets?
This leads to Catwoman stealing their car. The entire sequence was a great way to not only open on a high, humorous note, but also created a "wedge" between Catwoman and her new electrifying "foe" and introduced the set-up of Selina stealing cars, an old passion of hers rivaled only by jewelry theft. The humor works well despite making me not take the series seriously or ever having it cross my mind that this will be a well-written, climactic issue, but it's more than worth it for the fun. The injection of humor was well-used, and while all we needed to see was Catwoman easily stealing a car, this storyline made it much more of an adventure for the reader. If not for her friend's recent death, this opening would feel very Catwoman. But we skipped that grieving process long ago when our protagonist decided to have some fun with a masseuse...
There are some questionable lines, like when Catwoman complains about a male associate smelling like a "lemon scented puppet." Many provocative lines also make the rounds in this issue when Catwoman describes how it feels to steal a car and seems to get a little carried away during her reverie.
New readers could pick up this issue and understand it with only a few hiccups being Catwoman's ties with the police and her friend's dramatic demise. The drawback of the story is it goes by much too fast and the direction of the series is still on hiatus. Still, it accomplishes a lot with the characters.
The addition of Gwen, Catwoman's new associate, last issue, seemed like a terrible idea when first presented. Catwoman seemed to have learned nothing after her last friend's death as she quickly got deeply involved with another. However, this issue not only characterizes Gwen well, but her purpose is clear and makes sense. She acts as an almost motherly girlfriend to Selina, giving her reasonable advice to keep her from taking risks and getting in over her head (which, if you know Catwoman at all, is a daunting if not impossible task). While she is only fully introduced in this issue, her relationship with Catwoman feels real and strong (again, keep away from gutterous thoughts!).
Detective Alvarez also makes a reappearance, trying to make his existence more than just a contrived plot device. Instead of saving Catwoman, in this issue he is hot on her tail – amidst his complaining of dirty cops. Their resistance to pursue her is only a little more mysterious than Detective Alvarez's insistence on catching her. Other than a valiant start at making him more important to the series, Alvarez is not very important this issue and little is done with him – just enough to show he's not out of Catwoman's claws yet.
The newly introduced electric-powered thief, Spark, is as mysterious from the beginning to the end of this issue. He is obviously powerful, and his relationship with Catwoman is anxiously anticipated in the next issue.
Adriana Melo takes over artistically from Guillem March in this issue, and while there are a lot of improvements and the over all style more than qualified with March's, Melo has one huge flaw in his artwork: faces. Unlike the bodies (which are always shaped well if sometimes over lined), Melo loves to overdramatize characters' faces to the point where the character looks wild and bizarre. The eyes are sometimes drawn enlarged, giving the face a comical look. He also has a thing for showing a characters' teeth in side-splitting smiles that look like they could break a characters face. When these quirks are abused, the characters are almost hard to look at without laughing. Melo mostly uses these quirks on Catwoman, specifically during a scene between her and Gwen. It is very noticeable that while Selina's facial expressions are wildly exaggerated, Gwen's are done well; Melo keeps her eyes small and often holds back the teeth. One venomous gaze Gwen sends to Selina is particularly effective with those pearly whites hidden behind bronze lips – right where they belong.
Tomeu Morey's colors also aide the artwork. The bright barrage of colors during a chase bring the panels to life with the help of vibrant skin-tones contrasting from every character. The dull grays and dingy yellows also help give the setting a run-down and corrupt feel perfectly suited in the Gotham City Police Department.
This issue is a laughable and pleasant surprise. It is the perfect "guilty pleasure" comic. For a more relaxed Catwoman and some fun dialogue and situations, pick up Catwoman's seventh issue.
An all-around nerdette, I’m a comic book connoisseur, horror aficionado, video game addict, anime enthusiast and an aspiring novelist/comic book writer. I am the head of the comic book department and the editor-in-chief of Entertainment Fuse. I also write and edit articles for Comic Frontline. I am also an intern at Action Lab Entertainment, a comic book publisher at which I edit comic book scripts, help work on images in solicitations and help with other comic book related project. My own personal website is comicmaven.com.