Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Catwoman #58 Review



Written by: Tini Howard
Art by: Nico Leon
Colors by: Veronica Gandini
Letters by: Lucas Gattoni
Cover art by: David Nakayama (cover A)
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: October 17, 2023

Catwoman #58 finds the Gotham War heating up when Vandal Savage plans to get the Henchmen Union and Batman's rogues on his side, turning Gotham City into a burning war zone.
Is Catwoman #58 Good?

There's very little I can say about Catwoman #58 without sounding like a rant, so we'll stick to the basics.

This is a terrible comic. That's not an "it's not meant for me" assessment or an "art is subjective, so it doesn't match my tastes" reaction. This is objectively a poorly written, and yes, sub-par drawn comic.

When last we left the Bat and the Cat in part four of Gotham War, Jason Todd inexplicably felt inclined to lead Selina's mass robberies in her ridiculous scheme to reduce violent crime by increasing non-violent crime. Rightfully fearing Jason had gone too far, Batman captured Jason and subjected him to an unethical mind whammy that causes crippling fear whenever Jason's adrenaline spikes. The ethically compromised Bat Family were none too pleased, and fighting ensued.

Now, Batman vacillates between hero and blubbering, ineffectual idiot while Gotham is burning down around his ears. Selina confronts Scandal and Vandal about their secret machinations, leading to an offer by Vandal to grant immortality if they join forces. The Rogues are given a similar offer by Vandal to ransack the city to recover special artifacts, resulting in Rogues equipped with Bat-gadgets laying siege to the city.

What's great about Catwoman #58? Really, the only good thing you could say is this issue feels like the first in the event to live up to its title. Gotham is experiencing a war in the streets. The path to get here is silly, and the execution is horrendous, but we're finally at a point in the event that feels like a war has begun.

What's not so great about Catwoman #58? There's not enough room in this review to cover every flaw, so I'll touch on the highlights.

First and most glaring, Batman is written like an ineffective idiot. Buildings are exploding all around him, the city is burning, and yet, he doesn't make a move to stop any of it or help innocent people in peril. When several buildings begin exploding right in front of him, he only pauses to take Selina's hand and look lovingly into her eyes. As fires rage, Batman simply goes home and gets into his civvies to relax. It's hard not to conclude Howard has never read a Batman comic in her life.

Second, everyone is in reaction mode, only saying or doing something when Vandal Savage makes the first move because Vandal's presence is somehow a secret. How did Selina's Henchmen Union come under Vandal's control without her knowledge? How did Vandal walk into the Rogues meeting without anyone noticing?

Third, forget about the plot and pacing. The scenes are strung together, but there's no flow, urgency, direction, or tension. This comic reads like a checklist of canned scenes just to get the story from A to B, but at best, it's a loose collection of individual ideas.

How's the art? For readers keeping score, Nico Leon made a public dust-up a few months back about being given impossible deadlines to finish the art due to late script delivery. This is the comic referenced. Does this comic look rushed, incomplete, or otherwise sub-par in the visuals? Yes. I'm sure Leon worked with the time he had, but you can tell the quality took a dip. Some panels are blatant copy/paste shortcuts. The characters look quickly sketched on pre-rendered backgrounds. And the design choices are odd (why is Selina wearing platform stilettos?). In all, not Leon's best work, so as unprofessional as it may be to air his grievances in public, his grievances were warranted.

About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.

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Bits and Pieces:

Catwoman #58 is a disaster. Howard either has never read a Batman comic or has no idea how to present a valid Batman in her own script. The plot is a haphazard sequence of events, and the character work leaves much to be desired. Overall, this issue and event have been lackluster at best.


1 comment:

  1. For not having enough space to explain it all, you actually articulated all that was wrong with this event very well and to the point, a very good review! It seems to me that this was the endgame they wanted to get to or had in their mind with absolutely no idea or worse no care to form an idea of how we would get here so instead as you said, it reads extremely choppy and anticlimactic. Here we have batman 138 where absolutely eveyone and i mean everyone is going crazy and just throwing punches, not one of this supposed super geniuses plans for what they want to do currently let alone a step ahead and again instead they let their emotions completely overrule all the training experience and discipline they have had to deal with issues. If this was a group of semi competent normal people let alone heroes, this war would not even have happened. Then we have this issue where everything gets solved in 2 seconds with Selina only now realising that waitttt she actually cares about this man supposedly so perhaps she shouldn't try to keep emotionally abuse him and Batman being the furthest thing from Batman that could be. Also comsidering that the city is crying partly because of what Catwoman did and her irresponsibility, her comments about the baby crying just makes me dislike her even more. She had her way with this city and now conveniently just put it aside when things got out of hand. Again you put it very well, it seems like these writers have never read a batman comic or batfamily comic in their life ( look there are plenty of bad ones amid the good ones, but still she is the one volunteering to write for this characters) and don't get what makes them who they are, their motivations and attitudes. If the dialogue in this issue is any clue, I would have to strongly guess that at least Tini Howard has only read fanfics about batfamily(which is basically some other characters for most of the time with how ooc they are written in most of them) and is only referencing them in her run. It would wxplain "the greatest criminal" comment, the ooc passive non character that is Batman, Jason yelling like like a little child in the middle of a very serious situation that 'his parents' suck, all the references to Selina always being there in the Batfam and raising the kids without anything being shown previously etc etc.