Catwoman #10 // Review
One of the world’s foremost thieves is on the trail of a rather important artifact in the latest issue of Catwoman. Joëlle Jones continues her clever walk with DC’s favorite cat burglar. The art in this issue is handled by Fernando Blanco with colors by John Kalisz. The issue overcomes a bit of a disjointed plot structure to maintain the intrigue in Selina Kyle’s sabbatical to the small town of Villa Hermosa.
The issue opens with Selina suiting up as Catwoman to hop on a motorcycle and head off to chase after a van containing, among other things, a terrified colleague of Selina’s. Then the issue lurches forward to a high-end auction before suddenly returning to where the previous chapter left off in the rain with Catwoman surrounded by the Penguin and his associates. There’s a lot of jumping around in the course of the narrative. The momentum of the issue is a bit scattered as intermittent moments of pursuit are layered-in with scenes of intrigue. There’s a suspicious meeting at the campaign headquarters of mayoral candidate Raymond Creel. There’s a meeting in a secret room accessed through a closet of a back alley warehouse space.
Jones is bold with the scattered rhythm of the issue. Isolated moments have a sparkling inventiveness about them. At auction Kyle bids on an item, she’s going to steal later-on anyway. Jones’ delivery of this moment carries a delicious bit of characterization for Selina. The journey into a secret space in a rundown warehouse holds an earthbound fantasy about it. Without any decent narrative rhythm, though, the action doesn’t have the impact it could. It’s strange to see the momentum of a chase sequence chopped-up and stuffed in and around the edges of the issue, but it’s refreshing to see Jones try an issue with a nontraditional narrative composition.
Lack of rhythm aside, Blanco’s delivery of the actin moments feels stiff this issue. The drama is far more assertive on the page than the action. Blanco also handles the moodiness of a variety of different locations quite well. Big establishing shots of locations allow Blanco the opportunity to really dive into conjuring the intricate details of every scene. Blanco’s great at delivering the atmosphere, which fits Jones’ writing perfectly. Kalisz amplifies the mood with tightly-resonant coloring. There's’ enough detail on the color of the sky in the background on the splash page that one could practically identify the exact time of day. The deep blues and blacks and grays of a rainy night are contrasted against the warmth of a large estate for the auction and the bright fluorescent lighting of the campaign office. The variation in color adds a great deal to the overall mood of the issue.
Presumably, Jones and Blanco will have a chance to settle down into something a bit less disjointed next issue, but for the time being the creative team is juggling a lot of different elements with admirable poise in Catwoman’s tenth issue.