Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Catwoman #52 Review

Mask Appeal

Written by: Frank Tieri
Art by: Inaki Miranda, Pop Mhan, Giuseppe Cafaro, Eva De La Cruz, Beth Sotelo, John Starr and Travis Lanham
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: May 11, 2016

I have been a huge supporter of Catwoman throughout the New 52 run and yes, that even includes the Ann Nocenti part...kind of.  My scores may not have reflected the sheer amount of fun I had reading such stories as the "Race of Thieves", but looking back at it all now puts a smile on my face.  It also paved the way for Genevieve Valentine's excellent mob boss story and now, Frank Tieri's ending of the series.  If you asked me to guess at things that I have no right to guess at, the upcoming Rebirth messed with the story Tieri really wanted to tell and instead of an organic run, he was forced to give us a couple of stories before bowing out.  Whether that's actually the case or not, I think he did a really good job with the time and space he was given, but I'm still left wondering what could have been. However, I am not here to debate the would've, could've, should've of the universe, I am here to review this issue which is the finale of the New 52 Catwoman.  How was it?  Let's find out...

The issue opens with Selina trying to make sense of what she saw at the end of last issue.  No, I'm not talking about Black Mask's crazy Heath Ledger Dark Knight homage because thankfully, she didn't see that.  No, I'm talking about her seeing her ex-boyfriend who should be dead, David.  Not only is he very much alive, but has started a False Face Society civil war with, you guessed it, Black Mask. Get out of that sexy nurse's outfit, Roman, you have some fightin' to do.

The issue continues with Selina trying to figure out things the "old fashioned way" and I'd say that it's more of a mix of the old and the new and something that I have loved since Tieri and Inaki Miranda have taken over this book.  What I'm talking about is the awesome, yet very subtle, use of tech that Selina has been employing lately.  Last issue it was the fiber optic finger flashlights (say that 5 times fast) and here we see her bust through a window using sonic boots.  I wish I could make that sound as cool as it looked, but instead...Look!

Catwoman certainly knows how to make an entrance!

This leads to Selina having some face time with the man she used to love and after getting rid of White Mask's entertainment for the night, actually makes it a true and startling face-to-face.  That triggers a flashback to the good old days of ryhmin' and stealin' and we see what happened after the back alley first meeting of David, Selina and Richard Sionis.

It all seems very simple on the surface, Richard Sionis really likes masks.  He likes them so much, I bet he even watched "Son of the Mask"...Yea, he's that hardcore.  Well, he can't get his hands on the biggest prize, "The Faceless Mask", so he wants David and Selina to get it for him.  It's really a win-win for Sionis and a way for Tieri to show just how tough Selina has always been.  However, it goes a little bit deeper than that.  This scene ties into both last issue, but also the "Night at the Museum" backup story from issue #50 and when you connect the pieces of the puzzle, you realize that this isn't just a White Mask origin, but a Catwoman origin story as well.  Maybe the most covert origin I've read and a cool way for Tieri to end the Catwoman series.

I'm a little ahead of myself because back in the present, while it seems like Selina has David dead to rights, some of his False Face buddies show up and even things up for a second before Black Mask arrives...Folks, we got the makings of a Mexican Standoff on our hands!  Thank god Roman decided to dress for the occasion, though a nice Carmen Miranda outfit might have set the mood a little better.

Back in the wayback machine,  we see the aftermath of David and Selina's theft and again, it all fits perfectly into what we've already seen and really shows why Selina was trying to get the Mask back at the beginning of last issue and why she said "This horrible thing has caused me more pain..."  Of course, it also throws out the question of what the hell really happened to David.

In the present, Black Mask fills everyone in on just that and it really doesn't put David in a good light. Screw that, he's a real douchebag!  He took the opportunity (that also stemmed from Richard being a sexist asshole!) and ran with it, Selina be damned.

The issue ends with Selina not making the hero's choice, per se, but the choice I was hoping she would make and the choice that made me smile from ear to ear.  Black Mask and Selina have been mortal enemies for so long and while it wasn't exactly "nice" to see them agree on something, it was totally awesome.  Plus, Tieri ends the series by showing that when everything is said and done, Selina Kyle will always be one step ahead of everyone else in the room.  Awesome!

Frank Tieri ties up his story so well here that I can't help but love it.  It's one of those issues that is good on it's own, but how it ties into everything else makes it even bigger and better.  In fact, it makes those other stories better as well.  Because of that, I also liked it as an ending to the series as well, though it makes me sad that we won't be getting a Catwoman issue next month or in the foreseeable future.  Everyone has their book that they wish was coming back in Rebirth and this is mine.  It does close pretty open ended, so I can only hope that's a sign that we'll see Selina again sooner rather than later.  In a fitting last panel, we see Catwoman riding off into the night and I can truly say that I am going to miss her.

As much as I loved the story, I may have loved the art even more.  Inaki Miranda has kicked ass since joining the book with Tieri, but the star of the show this month was Pop Mhan.  His flashback art was great and was an excellent combination of all the past scenes we've seen in this overall arc.  Will DC do the right thing and get him on a regular book in Rebirth?!?!  The whole art team deserves a pat on the back which I would give them, but things like that always go wrong for me and usually result in the filing of papers.  So, all of you just pat yourselves on the back for me.

Bits and Pieces:

Frank Tieri has the bittersweet job of ending the Catwoman series and does it in style.  He doesn't rely on smoke and mirrors or forced emotions like some of the other finales we've been getting, but instead just tells a damn good story that ties perfectly into his overall arc and slips in a little origin while we aren't looking.  Pretty sneaky, sis.  The art was just as fantastic and while I am sad to see Catwoman zoom off into the sunset (actually, into the night), I'm glad that I was along for the ride.



  1. Agree with you completely. In a week full of what feels like filler this was the standout book to me. The only downside is it could have probably used an issue or two for more filling out, but can't complain too much.

    1. yep...I think Tieri wrote one of the best #50 issues and now one of the best ending issues. I do think the story had to be condensed...the whole False Face Society war never panned out, but as a Catwoman story, I thought it kicked ass

  2. Deserved a longer run. This team was going places with this book. But was a nice bitter sweet way to go out - betrayed but with a bag of loot out of it.