Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Catwoman #34 Review


Shot in the Dark

Writer: Ram V
Artist: Fernando Blanco
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: August 18, 2021

We are almost at the big Fear State Crossover, and it felt kind of like nobody told Ram V the schedule.  The last issue felt like he suddenly had to put 10 lbs of story into a 5 lb bag, but hopefully, that pays dividends starting now.  Plus, Mr. V ended the issue with Batman saving Catwoman, and how crazy is that?!?  So, does this issue take advantage of all that setup and hit hard?  Let's find out...

I will tell you right away that this issue doesn't take full advantage of the setup but instead gives the reader a bit of the same design, with some added pieces.  It's weird because I would usually get upset because of it, but I like this issue more than the last.

I know some readers will feel the same way because of Batman's arrival, but that wasn't the case for me.  Ram V tries to get that Bat/Cat magic going, but I preferred Batman not sticking his nose in Alleytown and letting Selina be a hero on her own.  To me, the only reason Batman even showed up in this book is that they will be crossing paths in the Fear State crossover anyway.  Nothing like a Bat-Family event to change the year apart rule!

Batman does get information about Father Valley, though it's a shame he doesn't learn about the St. Dumas connection (yet?), and passes it on to Selina.  What happens then?  Yet another Catwoman vs. Father Valley fight.  What is this, Round 8 by now?!?!  At first, this fight seemed like a carbon copy of the others, complete with Valley telling Selina what her primary sin is.  It keeps changing slightly, but I can see Selina having a boatload of sins tucked away in that leather catsuit of hers.  The big difference here, though, is that Valley has brought the family into the equation.  I have gone on record about not liking Father Valley much, but this move shows he's done his homework and means business!

Now, I'm not going to say that I loved the setup to get Hadley to the end of the issue.  The idea of old plans and sightlines didn't connect well with my brain (I am a dummy), but it also slammed the brakes on the issue's pacing. However, I guess Ram V needed it to get to the cliffhanger, and it was a damn good cliffhanger!

Like I said earlier, this issue didn't push the overall story forward as much as I had hoped, but I still liked it.  The art (besides Hadley, he looked like he might be on meth or heading to join Task Force Z... or both) was good, and the fight between Selina and Father Valley had some stakes.  I guess the best thing I can say was when I got done reading this issue, I wished I had the next one right away.  It's been a while since I could say that about this book.

Bits and Pieces:

After a couple of down issues, I found myself enjoying this one.  Sure, it's still doing some spring cleaning before heading off to Fear State, but everything felt more vital than it has lately.  For now, I am back on the Catwoman trolley, and that makes me happy.


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