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Vaguely entertaining stories
on 25 July 2014
The stories running through issues #13-18 of DC Comics' New 52 `Catwoman' are collected, along with issue #0, as [ASIN:1401242723 Catwoman Volume 3: Death of the Family TP (The New 52)]]. The quality of storytelling in this volume has dropped from the previous one, which had it turn dropped from the first volume.
The artwork in some of the stories felt "disconnected", in that the story jumped from panel to panel without any bridging scene, while the dialogue seemed to be unrelated to both art and story, as if the script was written without reference to the art, or vice versa. The first two issues involve a run-in with the Joker as part of the Death of the Family crossover event, which really do suffer from the disconnectedness mentioned above. Then it's another two-parter in which Selina is hired to steal Eclipso's Black Diamond from an ARGUS vault, when you really start to wonder what is going on as far as the scripting goes. A demon manages to escape during this heist, which will return in a subsequent issue. The third two-parter involves stolen art and a run-in with the Batman, along with a sub-plot apparently involving the Penguin.
A new source for jobs pops up, who I don't remember from the previous volumes, the missing Spark is mentioned once in passing, and regular partner-in-crime, Gwen Altamont, is almost unrecognisable as the character for the previous volume, though she does get a little sub-plot to herself. I found the artwork to be far too cartoony and decorative for my taste, and the scripting and artwork appeared to be not on speaking terms in several places. I did not find it as entertaining as the previous volumes.
The issue zero is a new secret origin for Selina, involving early training in Fagin's orphanage, a search for her real identity in later life, and getting thrown out of a window by her employer and landing in an alley full of cats. Same ol'. Same ol'...
There is also a story from Young Romance #1, taking place between issues #17 and #18, which opens with Selina stuck on a rooftop with her stolen paintings, reminiscing about her first meeting with Batman.
THE SPOILER ZONE
Issue #13 opens with a Valentine from the Joker, and a new commission to interfere in an incomprehensible chess game played with outsize pieces and played across Gotham City. The pieces turn out to contain people, and are booby trapped...
Issue #14 sees the Joker getting into a deadly game with the Catwoman for the life of the orphan she rescued from the exploding chess-piece, as he has a good rant about their respective relationships with the Batman.
Issue #15 opens with Selina and Gwen crashing a party and looting the family jewels. They pass Detective Alvarez on the way out as he responds to the theft. A clue is left behind as they exit, which will come back in a later issue. We see Catwoman checking in on little orphan Milo, in yet another scene that foreshadows a later one. Then it is off to meet a Trip Winter, who is a source of commissions for Selina, who sends her to steal a Black Diamond from the ARGUS vaults. This ends up unleashing a number of magic artefacts, and Selina gets possessed by the spirit of Eclipso, but only a little...
Issue #16 sees Selina and an ARGUS lab-rat facing down immeasurable evil in the ARGUS Black Room, as she tries to steal Eclipso's Black Diamond, fights various demons, and car-jacks the Haunted Tank.
Issue #17 sees Selina getting involved in some street-gang violence, as a the Penguin's organisation starts to stick its fingers in new places, before it is time to steal the Batman's favourite paintings from the Gotham Museum. Meanwhile, Detective Alvarez has got a new partner, and they have found Gwen's fingerprints on that artefact from issue #15. Selina finds that Milo has vanished, and then runs into one of the Penguin's men in the museum, and they make a joint escape, as Selina's back-up has just been arrested by Alvarez.
Issue #18 opens with Batman looking at the scene of the crime in the museum, and then hunting down Catwoman for a bonding session over the Joker's attack and the death of Damian. Selina then infiltrates Police Headquarters in order to bug Alvarez' office; while Gwen is sprung by the Penguin's lawyer and taken away for a chat. The last page is that demon from issue #16 finding a new host, Joe Pazzo, the Penguin henchman we've been seeing a lot of.
Issue zero is a new secret origin for Selina, involving early training in Fagin's orphanage, and a search for her real identity in later life, leading to her getting thrown out of a window by her employer and landing in an alley full of cats. This in turn leads to the start of the Catwoman identity, but she discovers that Selina Kyle's files have been deleted from the workplace, and her memory has also been affected by the fall...