Thursday, April 9, 2020

Throwback Review: Convergence: Catwoman #1 (2015) Review

Stuck in the Middle

Written by: Justin Gray
Art by: Ron Randall and Gabe Eltaeb
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 15, 2015

I am a Catwoman fan.  Purple, grey, matter how you dress her up, I'm in.  However, I wouldn't actually call her a "champion" and leading up to this issue, I had a few major questions. Why the hell is she in Metropolis was the major one, but also how Justin Gray would portray her and who would she end up fighting were on my mind.  Well, everything is answered in this issue, but does that mean it's good?  Let's find out.

Here's a shocker...Catwoman was in Metropolis looking to steal some expensive jewelry.   Sure, it seemed forced, but I'll go with it because Justin Gray makes it so much fun.  It seems that Selina isn't the only one with an eye on the prize and it was great watching Catwoman play the hero as she tries to be the bad gal.  Isn't that the rub of any great Catwoman portrayal?  She walks that thin grey line between good and bad and Gray uses this intro to remind us how much fun that can be.  Then the dome goes over Metropolis and like most of the other Convergence issues, that grey line disappears.

Flash forwarding a year ahead, we see a military unit hunting the most dangerous  These guys are the lowest of the low and they don't go unnoticed.  Catwoman interrupts their fun and then monologues as she kicks their asses.  This part was really forced.  I am a "show me" guy when it comes to character development, but unfortunately, this is in the "tell me" vein of storytelling.    I do like what we get here...without much of value, Selina has nothing to steal, so to get her kicks, she's become a crime fighter.  In particular, she has been protecting the people of Suicide Slum.

While this would be enough back story for most Convergence stories, Justin Gray goes even deeper. We get a peek at Bruno Mannheim, the head of Intergang.  While people struggled to adjust to the dome life, he seized the opportunity and kidnapped the city's doctors and pharmacists and now controls the supply and distribution of medicine.  In other words, he controls the city.  I have enjoyed the issues that showed how people reacted and dealt with the new reality of life under the dome and this one is one of the most detailed.  Unfortunately, it's also redundant.  Bruno tells us what he's done over the past year and then Catwoman tells us the same thing pages later.  We get it...Bruno is bad.

This is all set up for Catwoman to break into an Intergang controlled lab and rescue a doctor from Suicide Slum.  As she is doing just that, the dome goes down, Telos' speech rings throughout the city and Catwoman finds herself face-to-face with Batman.

This issue is a really good look at life under the dome.  Selina may be a hero of convenience, but she's still a hero in my mind.  Justin Gray does a good job playing with that aspect of the story, but in the end, it makes it feel "small".  I'm not sure that's a bad thing...bigger, badder heroes are dealing with that whole Convergence thing, but it does make this feel a tad unnecessary.

Ron Randall's art is okay.  There was nothing here that blew my mind and nothing that offended me. It was cool to see Selina back in the purple costume, but after that wore off, everything else was middle of the road.

Bits and Pieces:

Justin Gray gives readers a detailed glimpse of life under the dome and how Catwoman fits into it.  It's a nice little story, but the scope feels off and in the end, it just feels unnecessary.  I'll be back next month, but my expectations for this story have gone way down.


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