"Of Cats and Dogs, Part 1 of 2"
Writer: Matteo Casali
Artists: Brad Walker (p), Jimmy Palmiotti (i)
Publisher: DC Comics
Plot: As Catwoman investigates the vicious beating deaths of a number of prostitutes in the East End, she stumbles across this serial killer as he targets another victim. While the killer is able to slip away, she is able to save this woman's life. As she follows up on a connection that all the victims shared, Selina is made aware of another troubling situation that is playing out in the East End, and during a second encounter with the killer, Selina is able to establish a clear connection between these two criminal activities.
Comments: I've never been a big fan of the arcs that fall between two creative teams, as the writers always offer up rather generic stories that are more often than not instantly forgettable. Now part of this is due to the restriction that they can't make any lasting changes to the book that the new creative team would have to address before they could start their arc, but the simple truth of the matter is that there's nothing all that remarkable about this opening chapter beyond the fact that it's a decidedly violent affair. Still, it's a rather run-of-the-mill adventure that has Catwoman dealing with a ruthless killer who looks to have some connections with a powerful mob boss. Since this is a two part arc though, it wouldn't do to have Catwoman actually capture this killer in the first chapter, so what we get is a couple quick encounters that only serve to show readers that Catwoman really isn't all the good at her job. Still the story starts off well, as the parallel delivery that shows us two very different battles got the issue off to a memorable start, but it quickly lost this momentum when it got caught up in the actual plot, which I have to confess I'm not fully sure I understand all that well. I expect that the next chapter will explain why the murderer has decided to target the working girls of his employer, but truth be told I found myself wondering why Selina was convinced that there was a connection between the dog fighting and the killer. While her theory is proven correct later in the issue, there's seems to be no connection between the two before this point of the story that would explain why she allowed her investigation to be side-tracked. Still, the issue does a pretty good job of playing up the danger that attack dogs can pose, and I expect before this story ends Selina will discover this for herself.
Brad Walker's work is really quite impressive. The intensity of the violence in this issue is very well presented by the art, and a great deal of the impact of this issue's opening sequence is due to the art's ability to sell the ruthless nature of both of the attacks. The art also does a pretty solid job when it comes to showing the dogs in action, as many times in comics the artist seems to have difficulty capturing the motion of animals like dogs, but Brad Walker displays no such problem. The credit page shot where Catwoman arrives on scene was also nicely done, though the follow up encounter could have used some impact panels, as the attacks that land on both combatants don't feel like they have much power behind them. Still, I did enjoy the little panel where the whip comes out, as I rather enjoyed how it cut across the panels. Paul Gulacy also turns in a lovely movie poster style cover image.
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