After taking a moment to bandage herself up after being shot at and nearly drowned, Catwoman sneaks back out into the night to pay a visit to the person who has been spying on her and has taken a hit out on her. Though she doesn’t find that person yet, she does come across one of their hired hands - Lyle Bolton, aka Lock-Up...a villain who Selina isn’t acquainted with. He knows Catwoman, though, and seems to have studied her quite intently. He knows that she’s impulsive and vindictive and impetuous and short-tempered and that’s allowed him to build the perfect trap for her – right in the room they’re in. He’s Lock-Up, after all, and locking people up is his specialty. He leaves a few grenades behind before exiting, and though he thinks he’s got the upper hand, he doesn’t, primarily because this is Catwoman’s book and she’s got that nifty plot armour that protects her. The grenades blow, Catwoman’s costume gets a little bit shredded, but otherwise she’s fine. Angry, but fine. She gets out, takes out his goons, and then gets Lock-Up to talk about the people that hired him to take her out.
Across town, at a place called The Emperor’s Jewel, some of Villa Hermosa’s most influential, white collar criminals have gathered for an exquisite, exotic dinner, while they wait for news on what’s become of Catwoman. Though the festivities are marred a little by the absence of Raina Creel, it’s also Raina’s downfall that opened up this vacuum of power in Villa Hermosa. Catwoman arrives at the Jewel and is greeted by a woman cyborg in an evening gown. Fresh out of witty comebacks – she's had a day, after all - Catwoman invites the cyborg to fight, and easily takes her down within a few short panels. She then bursts in on the dinner party and presents them with the file that they’ve all been after, the one that would hand the keys of the criminal kingdom over to whoever holds it. She tells them that she’s keeping the file to herself, and that they all operate under her convenience now. If they want to come after her for the file after that, well, they know where she lives.
Laer that night, Karen Rain – the woman who hired Selina to steal the file in the first place – goes to meet her, only when she sees Catwoman waiting for her, she pulls out a gun and shoots. Only, Catwoman doesn’t die, because Selina wasn’t wearing the costume – her new friend Jim Craddock, aka Gentleman Ghost was. Catwoman approaches Karen from behind and accuses her of being the sniper who had shot her at the end of the last issue, and that whoever she is, it’s not Karen Rain. Karen doesn’t put up much of a fight and reveals herself to be...False Face, master of disguise. He asks Selina how she knew it was the Karen Rain persona who had shot Selina, and Selina explains her reasoning. She then hands the file over to Craddock – she is a woman of her word, after all – and tells False Face that he’s free to go – mostly because he has a pretty face, but also because she wants the other criminals in town to know that she’s capable of a little mercy.
There’s really no two ways about it – Ram V writes a fun Selina Kyle. For a character that has gotten a little too mired up in darkness and tragedy over the better part of the last two decades, it’s great to see her get a caper every once in a while where she gets to be bright, funny, quippy, and lethal, and walk away with the sort of win where she hasn’t had to lose anything in exchange. That sort of thing hasn’t happened enough to everyone’s favourite felonious feline, and it’s definitely something she could use more of. Sure, she’s been shot, has assassins on her tail, has nearly drowned, was locked up and bombed, but through it all, Selina keeps on standing up, dodging the worst, and moving forward. The panel where Selina tells the cyborg woman that she’s out of witty comebacks is great – she’s clearly been through a lot, and even the wit needs a bit of rest and recuperation. Didn’t mean she was any less capable though. The rest of the script sparkles with little jokes and witty one-liners that make this a quick but enjoyable read, like the Schrödinger’s Cat bit.
The twist that Karen Rain was behind everything wasn’t too much of a shocker either, but the fact that it was False Face was a nice twist, to keep it all interesting. To be honest, False Face is very much a character who is welcome to come back to the series – he’d be an interesting foil for Selina, and an interesting ally for Raina Creel. Plus, the character is definitely having a moment right now, with versions appearing both here and in Batman Beyond this month.
Gentleman Ghost is another welcome guest star. He’s not used much in this issue, but where he’s used turns out very effective, and he’s a delightful foil for Selina – dangerous, but in ways she’s not used to, and definitely a helping hand when she needs it. It’s nice to see that there is honour amongst thieves, and it’s nicer still to see Selina expanding her list of contacts outside of the citizens of Gotham City.
Given that giving the keys to the kingdom over to Gentleman Ghost is the sort of thing that could definitely have some long-term ramifications for Villa Hermosa, one wonders how much of this plot was run past Joelle Jones, or if she had any say in it, given that she’s currently the main showrunner where Catwoman is concerned. Giving Selina all the power seems like a smart, natural step, and though she technically relinquishes it to Craddock at the end, her enemies don’t know that, and the knowledge that she’s running things in the town is definitely something that would send Raina Creel deeper into the deep end than she already is.
Mirka Andolfo’s art continues to be as much a delight in this issue as it was in the last. It’s animated and kinetic, expressive, almost as though you’re watching a well-made Catwoman animated series, and it really does kind of make you yearn for one. Andolfo is a very talented artist, her characters being imbued with an old school sort of sex appeal while still remaining modern and expressive. She’s fantastic at allowing the characters to act – Catwoman’s wistfulness at missing Batman while simultaneously thinking to herself that Villa Hermosa is her town now, Karen Rain’s surprise when shooting Catwoman doesn’t work – it’s all done extremely well. Much like her last costume, this current version of Selina’s costume isn’t one that every artist can make work, but Andolfo’s take on it is excellent – sleek, simplistic, sexy. Arif Prianto’s color palette is excellent as well, and definitely helps define the animated, kinetic book that both script and pencils imbue the book with. All told, it’s a fantastic team that’s come together to create something fun.
The end of a two-part caper, this is a fun, bright issue that features Selina at the top of her game, and her fans definitely shouldn't miss out on it.
Catwoman #15: Territorial
- Writing - 8/108/10
- Storyline - 7/107/10
- Art - 9/109/10
- Color - 8/108/10
- Cover Art - 6/106/10
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