Thursday, August 30, 2018

Throwback Thursday Review: Catwoman Annual #2 (2014)


Written by: Genevieve Valentine
Art by: Pat Oliffe, Tom Nguyen, and John McCrea
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: December 24, 2014

I'll give Genevieve Valentine full credit for taking an awful Catwoman book and turning it into an awesome Selina Kyle one.  The direction of the character had been set forth in Batman: Eternal, but Valentine has taken the concept and run with it.  Readers of the regular series have gotten a first-person view as Selina has quickly climbed the ranks of the Gotham Underworld and claimed her place as not only the head of the Calabrese Family but Gotham itself.  A real testament to the power of her storytelling is that this Annual comes after only three issues, but is so good because it adds so much to her young run.  It's the story of Eiko Hasigawa, the Daughter of Gotham's Yakuza Crime Lord.  It's the story of Catwoman.

Yes, for those who haven't been reading, Eiko Hasigawa is Catwoman.  As she tells Batman in this Annual, there wasn't anyone rushing to fill the position when Selina "retired" to her pantsuit and this Annual shows her first steps in the role.  It also continues to show the similarities both have assumed their new roles.

To say Eiko has Daddy issues is an understatement.  Her Father is always testing her and while she says he never loses, she has a plan.  That plan involves being Catwoman.  Like Selina, Eiko is leading a double life that balances the awfulness of her family "business" with trying to do some real good.  This Annual shows that the path is not an easy one, but it's the right one.

Eiko is one of the reasons I quickly fell in love with the new Catwoman and seeing the early stages of her becoming Selina's replacement was so good.  Valentine shows how strong, smart and honorable Eiko is and it only made me love her more.  At first, I thought Eiko was just an impostor, but after this Annual I am fully on board with her being the new Catwoman.

While I really enjoyed this Annual, it is far from being new user-friendly.  Anyone who hasn't read Valentine's previous three issues will have no idea what the hell is going on.  I suggest going and reading those issues and then picking up this Annual.  It really is worth it.

The art is split between three artists and it is obvious.  The changes are jarring and make certain transitions and characters a bit confusing.  It's an annual and multiple artists are par for the course, so I didn't let it ruin the experience for me.  You shouldn't either.

Bits and Pieces:

This Annual is a great behind the scenes look at one of my favorite new characters.  Genevieve Valentine does a great job expanding her new Catwoman Universe by showing the origins of the new Catwoman.  Yes, Selina Kyle is here, but the real star is Eiko Hasigawa and I for one loved it.


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