blogging by Andrew Wickliffe

Catwoman (2002) #11

Cw11Presumably, regular writer Ed Brubaker needed someone to cover for him so he could work on Catwoman Secret Files, so Steven Grant fills in on the writing here–Brad Rader’s on pencils, with new-to-the-series Mark Lipka and Dan Davis on inks.

It’s an outstanding issue for Rader. The issue’s entirely action, with Catwoman breaking into a mansion and defeating its elaborate security systems so she can steal a cat statue. There’s a bookend about an FBI agent and his partner setting up the robbery victim—a female gangster—so they could also catch Catwoman. The bookend’s terrible, but it’s an okay sort of terrible.

The issue’s just filler. There’s no reason to read it outside being a Catwoman reader, not even for other Catwoman canon. There’s a nothing-burger previous relationship between Catwoman and one of the people in the mansion, there’s not great fighting, but Rader’s sense of action pacing for Catwoman escaping the traps is phenomenal. It’d be a great action comic if there were any stakes whatsoever, but Grant writes Catwoman as a carefree adventurer. It seems like thin characterization until Grant gets to the FBI agent who’s narrating. The ending’s silly and desperate.

At times, the issue feels like they’re doing a Batman: The Animated Series Presents Catwoman special—just change the costume—but then the overwrought FBI stuff makes it feel more like it’s just a not skeevy rendition of a Jim Balent issue.

Worth the twenty bits? Maybe not. But it’s nice to see Rader developing even when the story and the vibe are middling.

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