Art by: David Messina and Gaetano Carlucci and Lee Loughridge
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: September 9, 2015
Back in Black
I'd like to dedicate this review to all the haters out there who claim I'm too negative in my reviews and need to dish out better scores on a daily basis. You know who you are...coming to our site under the guise of "unknown" and/or "anonymous, leaving negative comments and then running off to the dark corner of the Internet you hide out in. Well, come out from the darkness and rejoice my brothers and sisters because I am turning over a new positive leaf where we can all hold hands, sing kumbaya and drink RC cola until the day turns to night and then day once again. Why am I so happy? Because I get to review Catwoman and it's just so damn good. That's all it takes, really. A great creative team writing a kick ass book. No gimmicks or artificial hype needed. So, does Catwoman #44 continue the trend? Of course it does, but let's talk about it, shall we?
This issue starts out with me looking like a great, big dummy. I usually don't care about that and I really don't here because Eiko is alive! I thought she died last issue and worse...I thought that Croc was taking her into the Gotham sewers as a snack. I have never been happier to be wrong. The continuing scene itself is good on it's own merits as Selina tells Eiko to give up the Catwoman thing and Croc tells Selina she won't get out of this war clean. It's a really good opener, but Croc completely steals the scene and if you don't fall in love with him after these couple of pages, you have no soul, Great job, Genevieve.
With Eiko on the mend, we get to see more of her training Stephanie Brown and again, I couldn't have been happier. While Stephanie goes through her rounds, Eiko seems distracted and after very little prying, Steph realizes it's all about Catwoman. This book kept Catwoman at arms length for so long that it feels refreshing to have her back with such force and that continues when Stephanie runs into her immediately after leaving Eiko.
If you were following this series up until now, you know that Selina pretty much left Stephanie out to dry when she asked for training. So, it's a little odd seeing Selina give her a mission. I say "give" because she doesn't really ask Stephanie, just tells her the details and trusts that she will do the right thing. It's a cool mission that ties into their recent past together and I'm looking forward to seeing Stephanie tackle it.
Valentine then takes us back to the crime noir part of the book that I have grown to love so much. Selina has called for Antonia and Ward to have dinner and discuss family matters and even after Antonia tells Selina she has been meeting with Penguin, Selina drops an atomic bomb on her cousin. She wants her to run the Family. What what? Part of me is so sad, but knowing it's so she can go back to being Catwoman full time, I'll get over it.
The issue ends with Black Mask making a huge power play that is also about perceived revenge. Valentine has made me more of a fan of Black Mask than I ever thought I could be, but right now, I want to find him and take him out myself. It's such a powerful scene that readers of Valentine's run will simply love, but it's the reason for it that will blow your mind. Everything comes home to roost in a couple panels and it ends simply with a Father looking out for his daughter.
Holy crap, this issue was great. To say it was setup is doing it a disservice because it was more like a finale that is setting up a new beginning. From the first panel, things seemed different in a good way and it only got better. The big thing is Selina going back to being Catwoman full time and that alone will change the landscape of this book drastically. Then throw in Stephanie Brown, Eiko, Black Mask, Antonia, Penguin, Killer Croc...you get the point. I have been such a huge fan and supporter of Valentine's run and it looks like it's going to pay back ten fold from here on out. I cannot wait.
David Messina has really settled in on this book. This is his best issue since jumping on, but I think I might end up saying that each month. What is so great is that as the book is slowly transitioning into a more traditional Catwoman comic of sorts, so has Messina's art. The highlight of the issue for me was easily his Killer Croc. It's the best Croc I've seen in a long time and I hope we see more of him (and other Gotham rogues) soon.
Bits and Pieces:
This issue made me glad to be a fan of this book. It looks like Selina is going to go back int he costume full time and while that makes me a bit sad, I know Genevieve Valentine will nail it. Why? Because this issue is a bit of a sneak peek of what's to come and it was great. David Messina's art is just as good and if you aren't currently reading this book, you are crazy. See, I'm not always so negative, am I?