Catwoman #1 was not an easy book to support. The cheesecake was excessive, the sex was gratuitous, and the take on Selina seemed, at first, to be incredibly reductive and simplistic. But I enjoyed it anyway. The pacing was propulsive, the action was non-stop, and there was a wit, a sense of fun, that many books in the New 52 lacked. Those were the qualities that kept me interested in the book, and I’m glad I stuck by it: though Winick and March’s Catwoman is still fairly flawed, it’s also a ceaselessly exciting read, a hyper-active take on a classic character that magnifies all her best and worst traits to a cartoonish degree and then sets her loose to wreak havoc in DC’s grimmest city.
I hadn’t planned to pick this up, based on the previews, but after Dini’s fantastic Batman: Streets of Gotham and following his great run on Detective Comics, I though the book deserved a chance. Gotham City Sirens operates as a team-up book between Catwoman, Harley Quinn, and Poison Ivy in the extremely chaotic new Gotham City. Alongside the recent Batman & Robin #1, Detective Comics #854, Batman #687, and Red Robin #1 (and, of course, Dini’s other title, Streets), Sirens is also about the efforts of a number of former supporting characters trying to carve out their own piece of the City, in one way or another. But how does it work?
Despite some quality work, both from writer Paul Dini and artist Guillem March, though, the answer for the book is largely ‘no’. It’s a slight, breezy read, and Dini does a better job than I thought he would in introducing Catwoman into the beloved Harlvey/Ivy mix, but where it ultimately fails is in the art. March and Dini appear to have taken the theory “Give them what they want” to rather extreme lengths – the amount of cheesecake in the book is absurd.
Which is unfortunate. When March isn’t concerned with arching backs just enough to highlight both the breasts and the butts of the anti-heroines in every panel they’re in, he draws some genuinely dynamic fight scenes that were a pleasure to watch. His style is a little too cartoonish for the book at times – it seems like he’s trying to go for funny through exaggerated and never quite gets there – but his work is far from bad, it just isn’t used as well as it could be.
I’m also glad that Dini is following up on what happened to Catwoman in Heart of Hush, even if what happened to Catwoman in Heart of Hush was absolutely ridiculous (in a bad way). Dini provides the core of an interesting book here – Catwoman recovering from a recent trauma with two people she absolutely can’t trust… but the last she heard, Bruce was dead, Tim was seriously wounded, and the guy dressed as Batman beat the tar out of her, so her circle of ‘friends’ is diminishing quickly.
All that could be very, very interesting, played the right way. But instead, Dini and March seem to have opted to play it Charlie’s Angels style, a concept that may not exactly have staying power when you consider the fact that two of the three of them are two of Gotham’s most hardcore villainesses. And, to be entirely frank, I’m not sure I’d miss it if it were gone.
I’m torn. I love Amanda Conner’s art, but I’ve never been one to buy comics solely on art. I haven’t read much from Palmiotti & Grey. I read Claws, which I, um…bought for the art, and it was just fun fluff. Other books, like Hulk, give me enough fun fluff. I didn’t read Terra. I thought about buying that in trade, but no trade has come out. So, I wonder if one big trade containing: Terra, the first Power Girl arc, and that Supergirl issue will come out someday. I don’t read enough books starring females, but, then again, Power Girl isn’t really the book to get a dose of feminine power, is it? Oh well, at least this has been a half-assed excuse to post some chessecake Power Girl covers, right?
No surprises here. As you could tell after the first part, this is forgettable filler. I would have been reading Batman anyway, but I feel bad for all the fans who bought this thinking it was essential to Battle for the Cowl. Again, Batman is gone in this issue, but he might as well be on vacation in Tahiti. This is nothing more than a Nightwing solo story. But hey, it’s not terrible. This is Dennis O’Neil back on Batman folks. It also has incredibly captivating art from a Mr. Guillem March. He’s a newcomer, but I hope to see more from him in the future. Oh, we also got a new character out of this story, but I highly doubt she’ll come up again. Although now that I’ve said that, I’m sure she’ll be the one who gets Batman’s cowl.
Invincible #56 (***1/2)
The…art…is…so…pretty. Sorry I had to wipe the drool from my mouth. We get to see Eve naked in this issue. Well, comic book naked, which of course means all the good parts are conveniently covered. This is probably the worst issue since the revamp, but the new colors are so beautiful I hardly cared. Simply put, Mark finds Amber with a messed up face and he gets mad. That’s pretty much all the new info we get in this issue. Besides the art, I’m also not too bumbed because I just heard that Kirkman is going to cram an entire crossover into Invincible #60. Cool, right?
Detective Comics #851 (***)
Dennis O’Neil on Batman? Check. Last Rites tag? Check. The story is called “Last Days of Gotham”? Check. This has to be awesome, right? Wrong, it’s just mediocre. That’s sad, isn’t it? Do we need another Nightwing and Two-Face story? A new character is introduced, that’s cool. But it’s some lame female Two-Face character. She is pretty though, which leads me to the art. Guillem March is a newcomer who I guess drew some Poison Ivy thing. That makes perfect sense because he draws the female form the best. Sure this new character looks like Charlize Theron at times, but she is pretty. March’s style looks very cartoony, kind of like Anime. I liked it well enough. But the main problem here is still the story. Did anyone think this would just be usual filler? Gaiman’s issues can’t be like this too, can they? Nah.