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Catwoman #10

Posted: Tuesday, September 3, 2002
By: Ray Tate



Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Brad Rader(p), Rick Burchett(i), Lee Lourdige(c)
Publisher: DC

I'm basing this review on the letters pages. It seems that Ed Brubaker and company will address how Holly can still be alive when she happens to be quite dead in Action Comics Weekly a post-Crisis title. Don't be ridiculous. DC hasn't any continuity. So go with it. Don't try to explain the impossibility. Simply start fresh. We'll all be better off.

Holly was dead in a huge way. So unless you bring in cloning, metagenes, or twin sisters. There is no plausible way to explain how Holly can shed twenty years, survive a bomb blast and dying in Selina's arms. Don't bother explaining something that cannot be explained. You're on a roll. Please, continue.

Holly exists because Catwoman is really an unofficial animated series book that somehow escaped Joan Hilty, editor of the Cartoon Network books, and in the tradition of Pinky and Brain seeks to rule the comic book racks.

This fretting over Holly being alive after being dead makes no sense. As an animated series book,Catwoman maintains its own continuity away from messy chaos of the DCU. For instance, in this issue, Selina is friendly with Bruce Wayne and Batman. The only time Catwoman's ever been friendly with Batman or hinted at a shared history in the DCU was in Grant Morrison's JLA and perhaps during the Clench chapters. You may as well simply call them in the past as hero and villain acquaintances.

According to the post-Crisis, Selina doesn't even know Bruce Wayne save by reputation. Furthermore, Ed Brubaker makes Bruce charming and intelligent two facets he does not show publicly in any other bat book set within the DCU. However his persona in Catwoman snugly fits with animated continuity. As for Batman, Brubaker's Batman looks and acts like the genuine Dark Knight, a hero again who only exists outside the DCU. He's even drawn with longer ears. In terms of characterization Batman acts more like a hero and an outsider who obeys the law only when it is fair and just. Batman isn't the GCPD's lapdog. Batman uses the law when it serves him. He will break the law when such an act serves justice.

"We promise never to turn Selina into one of the good guys."

Too late. A good guy isn't necessarily somebody who obeys the letter of the law. A good guy serves justice. In Superman: The Animated Series The Man of Steel was not being a good guy by dangling a government agent out the window to press him for the whereabouts of Volcana. By doing nothing, Batman acts like a vigilante in this story to prevent a miscarriage of justice. This version of Catwoman engages in more heroics than the big three of the DCU. She is a hero. She is an outlaw. She is a vigilante. Not one of her actions can be described as villainous. She breaks the law, but no more than Batman has in the past.

In the stealthy footpads of Modesty Blaise, Selina finds a victim of a bent legal system. The lawyer who defended his client originally should be disbarred for doing such a shoddy job. The lack of physical evidence--since the poor woman never fired the gun, there would be no gunpowder residue on her hands--combined with the testimonial of the two lives she saved should have originally set her free with perhaps some community service as a sentence. Bad lawyer, but not a bad writer. Mr. Brubaker by blaming the lawyer finds a subtle means to show the need for a Catwoman while setting into motion a clever escape brilliantly played out by Rader and Burchett.

The artists not only render well the action scenes. They display a versatility in a grittier animated style. Bruce and Selina in the early scenes and the coda look naturally older within the style than Holly a fresh-faced teen or early twenties accomplice. The representation of age is important to the story. The woman in need is Selina's contemporary, yet she looks older. She has had the harder of lives. There is a sense that comic books see prisons as a place where villains are stored until they're needed for another story. The cons never seem to experience any real hardships. This comic book starkly portrays what prison can do to person.

Drawn in a lively, action-packed style, meticulously plotted with a beginning, middle and end, possessing its own internal continuity and outside influences be damned, Catwoman prowls forth a hero for whom you can cheer and one whose identity still in a way remains secret. She is a throwback to an age abandoned.



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