CATWOMAN #20 Review

By John Funderburg

SYNOPSIS: Raina Creel’s thugs are making a move on the pawn shop where Catwoman has set up headquarters, and if Selina can’t stop them, it could cost the lives of the allies she has working there. Luckily, none of them will go down without a fight; unluckily, Raina’s biggest bad may have more fight than any of them can handle.

Holy toxic tincture, Batman!

Within the walls of Creel mansion, Raina Creel’s dastardly plan is finally coming to fruition.  She’s invited Villa Hermosa’s fiscal elite to an elegant party with promises of a tonic that will change their lives.  What the attendees don’t know is that Creel has added a supplement to the Lazarus water, a parasitic compound called Narssistrine, which will leave the drinker entirely open to suggestion; a functioning body with a dead mind.

Selina, unaware of Raina’s plans, heads to the Creel estate for a different purpose – she needs the Lazarus water to ensure Linda recovers from her wounds (and perhaps save her friendship with Carlos).  Will she be able to prevent an impending disaster she has no knowledge of, or will she arrive too late?

It’s taken me a bit to get into a Catwoman story that uses zombies as part of its narrative drive, and while I still don’t think it really works as compelling subject matter, I’m beginning to be “okay” with it.

Sort of.  I mean, we’ll see how it wraps up.

This month’s book is better than last January’s at least.  We get a solid emotional moment between Selina and her sister Maggie, and we also begin to understand what Raina Creel’s goal is (even though it is overly trite).

But a few headscratchers do remain:

  • Raina Creel is keeping a team of fenced-in zombies on her property – for what purpose? Seems foolish.
  • Catwoman has yet another costume change, when she just changed her look a couple of issues ago when she emerged from the Lazarus Pit – why?
  • Selina leaves her nearly catatonic sister alone in the pawn shop believing a group of stray cats will protect her if the zombie hoard comes back – I realize I’m reading a comic here, but that doesn’t make any sense.
  • And lastly, the rabbit foot that Zatanna gave Selina makes its reappearance – we still don’t know what it’s used for, but I’m guessing it’ll be some sort of deus ex machine in next month’s issue.

We’ll see what happens in the coming issues – maybe some of this will be resolved logically.

Joëlle Jones remains strictly behind the keyboard and away from the drafting table this month, leaving the artwork in the very capable hands of Fernando Blanco.  While nothing will ever quite compare to Jones’ signature style, Blanco’s work is competent and energetic – this issue looks handsome overall.  But the true star this month is the colorist, FCO Plascencia, who seems to be tapping into the bold and vibrant palates of Laura Allred.  Ferocious fuchsia, pinks that pop, and virulent splashes of toxic yellows and greens infect each page.

So there you have it.  While Batman lore does come in contact with the supernatural on occasion, the zombie angle here just isn’t working for me.  I hope Jones can wrap this up and move us back into a more crime or heist-focused storyline for our feline friend. – John Funderburg

GRADE:  B-