Friday, March 11, 2016

Catwoman #50 Review

Blackgate Prison Blues (Live)

Written by: Frank Tieri
Art by: Inaki Miranda and Geraldo Borges, Eva De La Cruz, Blond and Travis Lanham
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: March 9, 2016

I know that many of you people out there are looking forward to Rebirth and while I'm still taking a cautiously optimistic approach, I do agree that there are a ton of DC books that are in desperate need of a retooling, a reboot a rebirth and any other “re” word you can come up with.  Catwoman is not one of those books.  It's been just fine for almost a year including the awesome Selina turned mob boss run of Genevieve Valentine and now the back in black, guest star laden run of Frank Tieri.  So, how does DC reward Catwoman and her fans?  By not including her in Rebirth.  I do understand the reasoning (kind of), but it still sucks and even makes this milestone #50 issue a little bittersweet.  Selina is popular enough to be one of the few New 52 titles to make it to 50 and is the only one not continuing in June.  Oh well, I guess I'll jump off my soapbox and give you my review for this issue.  Does Frank Tieri continue kicking ass and make me even more pissed off about Catwoman’s unfortunate future?  Let's find out…

The issue begins with Selina behind bars and it's not fun like that movie, Chained Heat, but disturbing like that movie, Chained Heat 2.  She knows the score and starts beating up inmates, but with the Penguin’s million dollar bounty on her head, she's going to be getting real bloody.  At least for now, it's not her blood and hey, it's Salisbury Steak night.  

I really liked this opening scene.  Frank Tieri continues giving us a tough as nails Selina Kyle who just happens to be the smartest gal in the room.  Sure, that's a tallest midget in the circus kind of thing here since she has to remind everyone, inmates and guards, that no Frost Diamond equals no bounty.  That's when we see that the game is rigged with some very colorful villains subbing for the Blackgate guards.

We peek in with Alice Tesla and while I already figured that Selina had her working on decoding Penguin’s blackmail list, I liked seeing her on edge to the point of accidentally beating the crap out of a guy just trying to return a baguette to a lady in a downpour.  It's a nice bit of comedy relief, but also points out that the tension is high for everyone...including the reader.

Meanwhile, back in Blackgate (please read that as Ted Knight), Selina has to deal with the “guards”.  While Zsasz gets creepy and stabby with her, Clayface and Firefly start wrecking shit up, but for a page or so, Selina was holding her own...until Scagnetti gets all Hammurabi on her.  That's when Frank Tieri’s promise of “a lot of Gotham characters” really comes into play.

If you know Selina Kyle then you can probably guess the two friends that show up to help her.  I won't spoil it, but I will tell you that in a couple of pages, Tieri explains the sitch, completely nails the characters and made me smile.  No Sleep ‘till Gotham, indeed!

The fun continues as Alice and Selina finally break the list and the way Selina reacts it's like it's the glowing suitcase and the lost arc (says melting faces) all rolled into one.  It does reveal who Mr. Blonde is and when Selina goes to meet him, you'll agree it is pretty damn big.  

The issue ends with a bit of cat and mouse between Selina and Mr. Blonde and while everything works out the way it should...bad guys get there's, Selina gets hers, it actually sets up a pretty cool rivalry that I really want to see more of.  Again, Tieri shows Selina going up against one of the smartest guys in the DCU and it ends with her sipping a drink on a tropical beach.  Did I mention the drink has a little umbrella in it?  Well, it does.  

This was a great ending to a really good story.  Frank Tieri didn't have to use smoke and mirrors to win me over, just great characterizations and a well thought out heist turned bad that was a lot more than it seemed.  The story was smart and action packed and while there was a ton of cameos, they were well done and made complete sense.  I want Tieri to continue writing Catwoman and it's such a shame that Rebirth is going to end his run prematurely.

The art holds its end of the bargain as well.  Inaki Miranda has just gotten better with each issue and that's saying a lot since I've thought every issue looked fantastic.  Geraldo Borges lends a hand and while he does a good job, there is a noticeable transition.  

Really, the only thing I can fault this issue for is needing two backups to make it to the double issue length.  It's an odd complaint because I thought they were both good, especially the second story which was just plain fun, but throwing them in to justify the higher price point just rubbed me the wrong way.  That being said, I can't blame Frank Tieri for giving fans three great Catwoman stories, can I?

Bits and Pieces:

If you are a fan of Catwoman, then you need to read this issue!  Frank Tieri wraps ups his “Run Like Hell” story in a way that fits his main character...tough as nails and smart as a whip.  While it's such a shame that the DCU will have a lot less Catwoman once Rebirth hits, Tieri and Inaki Miranda are sending her out in style.


1 comment:

  1. nailed the ending - and the stupid winking ending made me laugh. The two back ups were really nice little pieces with some brilliant art in both of them. Dan Panosian went balls out with his art - stellar work. Textbook extra sized issue - end the story you are telling with aplomb then 2 character pieces where everyone put their back in to it rather than something out the bottom draw or some "pin ups". Thoroughly enjoyable and such a shame this is ending. Thats's 4th dc i was reading that's been cancelled.. its getting to be a bit of ball ache.

    Good review Jim. Summed it up perfectly