There’s a lot of great Darwyn Cooke “good girl” art in this issue as Selina goes undercover to find the john who’s been killing all the girls, which I suppose could kick off an interesting discussion of how male gaze works in a non-realistic styles like Cooke’s. But it doesn’t make for a great issue. There’s a terrific opening with Selina visiting Leslie Thompkins, but after a dream sequence for Leslie.
Like three pages. Beautiful art, with Cooke doing a Will Eisner Spirit nod. It has absolutely nothing to do with the comic itself. It’s just padding. Selina’s visiting Leslie to get Oracle’s digits; Batman doesn’t give Selina his white friends’ phone numbers. It’d be something if they wrote Batman—or even could imagine writing him—as more thoughtful than a sixteen-year-old rich kid.
Oracle comes through—off-page—and Selina and Holly go undercover to interrogate the used car dealer who sold the killer his car. Selina gets to wear the costume; Holly gets to walk the Cooke “good girl” runway. Again, great art. But not a particularly good mystery development. It’s a fun, mischievous scene but has to basically hold up the comic because afterward, it’s just a chase scene.
The bad guy gets past Selina, and to pass the level in the video game, she has to search three different warehouses before he kills again. Writer Ed Brubaker intercuts Selina’s mission with the killer and his date flirting and being sweet when really we know he’s going to disintegrate the girl.
The art’s neat, and some of the dialogue’s excellent; plus, Leslie and Selina are cool pals, but it’s like half an issue with clutter to make up the rest. It’s Darwyn Cooke art, so the issue’s definitely worthwhile; it’s just not a great installment in the arc. Brubaker doesn’t have much narration from Selina this issue either. The whole thing’s a little off.
But very pretty.