Okay, last month I did a small baby comparison of this series to Hawkeye (2013-2015) and called it a crime series. This month, right now, I am instead going to compare it to Hawkeye (2013-2015) and call it a western.
In the first five pages of Catwoman #28 we see a city. We see a dog. Then we’re shown two groups, with their labels below them. It’s as close to a western introduction that I’ve seen. I can practically hear the “doo-doo-dooo, dun-dun-duuun.”
It’s this combination of genres that makes this comic work so well for me. It’s not new by any means, but the way it’s framed and who the story’s about feels new and fun in ways that no other western or crime series has in some time. The blending of genres and elements wasn’t new, but it still worked well in Hawkeye and it’s working here too.
Now, not everything is perfect in this issue. The series so far has done an okay job of focusing on the necessary threads, but I think this issue loses track a bit, because while everything comes together, it doesn’t quite all fit in this one issue. Both of the major confrontations feel rushed and maybe even a bit forced at this point, and the final page cliffhanger feels a bit out of nowhere. Typically I’m all about editing down as much as possible, but this is a rare case where I think this story would have been more effective if given a bit more space.
But this is a small thing, really, because, ultimately, this issue is extremely rad. There are a couple of standoffs. People get shocked. There’s a cool double page spread, and a very strong and exciting cliffhanger.
Something I appreciate about this issue is how great the dialogue “sounds.” There is at least one example where I just reread a few captions a couple times because they had great rhythm. This issue was a great example of word choices that don’t feel natural or realistic, but the drama and flow makes the whole thing work extremely well.
On the art side, this issue doesn’t have anything I liked as much as the smoke fight or the car crash in the last issue, but the opening page is delightful.
Cityscapes are like catnip (human-nip?) to me, so that opening image is one that immediately struck me. Imagine drawing approximately 1,000,000 rectangles!!! What a thing. Blanco has a strong showing here, even if it’s not my favorite art of his in the series so far. Each issue has him inching closer to Michael Lark’s Gotham Central work, which, yeah, there’s another amazing crime series as a comparison, why not?
One final highlight is with letterer Tom Napolitano. His work throughout the issue is good, but the last page in particular has some really smart use of color to help legibility and to match the color of the art. It’s an interesting touch that I haven’t seen often, but totally works.
I’m excited this series is continuing with this creative team. This is a series that I’ll miss for the next two months, but I’m happy it’s only for the next two months!
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