Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Catwoman 2021 Annual #1 Review


Valley Guy

Written by: Ram V
Art by: Kyle Hotz, Fernando Blanco and Juan Ferreyra
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: June 29, 2021

I was not a fan of the last issue of Catwoman, with its forced flashback stories showing the reader Selina is a badass. However, I think most of us reading this book already knew that, and it slammed the brakes on something that some may not realize...that this book feels more significant and connected to the overall DCU than it has in years.  So, does this Annual get things back on track?  Let's find out...

The issue opens with Father Valley getting biblical as he does as we see that Leo didn't die in the alley he was left bleeding out in, but was saved.  Not by Selina, but she does go to the hospital to check in on him and promises she will take care of that proverb spouting asshole herself.  She also knocks over a nurse's cart full of medicine because, you know, she's pissed.

Okay, this is a decent start with Selina in the present ready to take it to Father Valley.  Wrong!  Ram V decides that it's time to give us some background on Valley, and it felt like we got an entire Annual to Explain why a religious villain in Gotham has the last name of "Valley."

To me, there are a couple of problems here.  First, it seems a little too late in the game to get this information, and second, it doesn't seem that relevant to this book and the big story we are eventually going to get back to.  I can add a third bit here for good measure... it was boring.

Sure we get an Azreal with a flaming sword and talk of St. Dumas, but Ram V seems like he gets caught up in his storytelling and continues way too long with it.  It looks great throughout, but by the end, I just shrugged my shoulders and remained as ambivalent to Father Valley as I was when he first showed up.  That is a bit of a lie because even while reading it, I was getting irritated that we weren't pushing the overall story forward, just like the last Catwoman issue.  I saw many reviewers playing that last one off as a "cool down issue," so I can't wait to hear what they call this one.  I'm sure they will be singing, "that's what Annuals are for," as if they are some modern-day Dionne Warwick.

In the end, we do see that the people of Allentown are pushing back at the police, and things are getting explosive.  I don't know why Hadley, who just got to Gotham, tells Riggs that, but oh well, at least something was going on.

Bits and Pieces:

This is an Annual and second straight issue of Catwoman that readers can skip.  I am still excited about this book and its ties into the bigger DCU, but things have to get back on track soon! The art in this issue is excellent, but the story felt like an overlong and convoluted way for Ram V to explain why a religious villain in Gotham goes by the name Valley.


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