Review – Catwoman #17: Hero or Villain?

Comic Books DC This Week
Catwoman #17
Catwoman #17 variant cover, via DC Comics

Catwoman #17 – Joelle Jones, Writer/Artist; Laura Allred, Colorist

Ray – 7/10

Ray: Joelle Jones is finally back on this title as both writer and artist for an arc, starting with Catwoman #17, that seems like it’ll wrap up Selina’s time in Villa Hermosa and set up her return to Gotham, and it emphasizes both the strengths and weaknesses of writer/artist titles.

The strength is that Jones, when filling in both roles, can do bold panel layouts and spreads that put most artists to shame and feel more like art pieces than sequential storytelling. The weakness is that this book can sometimes feel more like an art book than a serial story. Catwoman #17 opens with Selina getting an offer from Luthor, as he tries to force her to choose between being a hero and villain. What amused me was that she barely seemed concerned with this, largely dismissing him and heading onto a series of flashbacks to her early years, her love with Batman, and her decision to leave him. It’s gorgeous scenes, but it’s all stuff we’ve seen before.

Into the depths. Via DC Comics.

Then we flash back to Raina Creel’s battle for the Lazarus Pit, as Jones once again plays with the timeline of this series. Creel is certainly a vile villain, but I’m not sure she’s ever become a compelling one over the course of the series. She mostly seems to exist to do hideous things that repulse Selina, like killing someone just to test if they’ll be resurrected in the pit.

They are, but this particular pit has some hideous side effects. Then the issue swerves us again with the addition of a major guest-star – the first fellow superhero Selina’s encountered in her walkabout, and one who just screams “reset”. Fans of Joelle Jones’ art will find a lot to like here, but the problems of pacing that have haunted this run are still here. I don’t know if this run will ever escape the fact that its beginning and its end were preordained by Selina’s role in a much bigger and more-hyped comic.

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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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