Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artists: Paul Gulacy (p), Jimmy Palmiotti (i)
As Catwoman is looking the sharpen up her fighting skills for her impending encounter with Zeiss by going a few rounds with Wildcat, we see Selina's not exactly having a good day as she manages to alienate both Holly and Slam thanks to her inability to assuage people's problems when they confront her with their concerns, We then see she has cause to regret these burned bridges as Zeiss steps forward to face her on a rain-swept rooftop.
I like the idea that Selina is allowed to recognize that she’s up against an opponent that could wipe the floor with her if she doesn't get her act together, and if nothing else it's nice to see her first move to step up her training is to pay a visit to Wildcat. There's also a solid bit where we see Selina gets an earful from Leslie about her use of underaged operatives, as frankly it's nice to see someone pointing out the idea that the idea of teenage sidekicks is a Golden Age idea that doesn't transfer all that well into the present day, and it's nice to see someone pointing out placing children in the line of fire is not a particularly heroic thing to do. The exchange between Slam and his son does a pretty fair job of presenting the idea that the relationship between the two is rather strained, but also that they both care a great deal for each other. I also rather enjoyed the fact that Slam's injuries have been noticed, as far too often in comics a character's visits to the hospital don't seem to register with the people who really should have taken note of them. The last page cliffhanger moment is also a welcome sight as frankly the story has taken far too long to get us to this point, and I'm delighted to see next issue has been set up so that we can expect the action to be in full motion right from page one. The issue also does a pretty fair job of explaining why Selina simply doesn't give Batman a call to help her deal with this problem, though knowing Batman I fully expect he'll be showing up to give her a hand with Zeiss even after she made it clear she didn't want, or need, his help.
First off I have to say that's a great looking cover, as it's a wonderfully stark image that makes good use of its single display of color on the black and white image. As for the interior art I have to say the battle shots between Selina and Wildcat have a fantastic sense of power to them as that shot where Selina is tagged in the head is wince inducing. The art also manages to sell me of the idea that Zeiss is one bad guy, as the single panel of his eyes is enough to get Selina off her game, and leave her open to that painful looking shot to the head. The last sequence of the villain arriving behind Catwoman is also quite ominous, as we know it's Zeiss before Catwoman, who assumes the person behind her is Batman. My only real problems with the art are that the characters are saddled with these flat, and at times downright strange looking hair styles, and the art also has the annoying habit of not fitting it's characters inside the panels, as we get odd looking shots where half the characters body is cut off by the panel border.
The problem that this issue has is that the scenes that show us the people in Catwoman's supporting cast being driven away by her behavior don't feel all that convincing, as frankly they both feel like they are complaining that she changed the color of the wallpaper in the den, while the house is burning down. I mean yes it's upsetting that Selina didn't tell Holly about the group of inept assassins that have been dogging her heels since their visit to New York, but it pales in comparison to the more important idea that she's currently been targeted by Zeiss, a very effective hired killer who has shown a clear pattern of striking at Selina through the people she cares for. Then we have Slam Bradley getting in a state because his son is upset at his clandestine relationship with Catwoman, and so naturally Slam decided the ideal time to take his pound of flesh out of her and completely ignore that he freely choose to hook up with a known felon is when she is in the sites of a killer who has shown a willingness to kill people at random simply to make a point. I mean this latter exchange does manage to leave itself a backdoor as it clearly spells out that Slam's drunk, and that he instantly regrets his comments after she leaves, but I have to say I wasn't impressed with his behavior during this exchange, as in order to separate her from her supporting cast the story requires both of them to lose sight of the bigger picture of dealing with a stone-cold killer that is gunning for Selina, and instead get caught up in problems that simply don't carry the same degree of importance.
When It Rains, It Pours:
This issue was a bit disappointing in that it presents Selina's supporting cast as a little quick to forget the idea that Selina has been targeted by a killer, and instead they get caught up in their own concerns and seem willing to turn their back on Selina when she needs their help the most. Now to a certain extent I can understand why Ed Brubaker did it like this as it does act to cut the character off from her support system, and leave her all by her lonesome when she's confronted by Zeiss. However, since it was already a given that the final battle was going to between Catwoman and Zeiss, it seems a bit excessive for him to offer up these moments in this issue where the bridges are burned, as it reflects rather badly on Holly and Slam that they are willing to walk away when Selina's in so deep. Now I didn't expect them to be much help in the final battle, as Slam's entire contribution in the previous encounters with Zeiss is to show how ineffective he is when he's set against a highly skilled opponent. However, the fact that both of them are willing to get so upset over matters that seem rather trivial when compared to the bigger picture doesn't make them look all that good.
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