Friday, January 6, 2012

Catwoman: Crooked Little Town

Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Brad Rader, Cameron Stewart, Rick Burchett, Michael Avon Oeming, and Mike Manley

I don't often buy trades of superhero comics.  If I am interested, I usually buy them as they come out, or in cases where I've missed a particularly good run, I'll pick up back issues at sales or in used bookstores.  Ed Brubaker's run on Catwoman is something that completely slipped past me about a decade ago, and clearly came at a time when neither he, nor any of the artists he worked with, had developed names for themselves.  Looking at the cover of Crooked Little Town, the second collection of his run with this character, it is almost impossible to find the writer's name, or the name of any of the artists.  I guess that says a lot about how much Brubaker's fame has grown in a little under ten year's time.

Anyway, this trade collects one longer story, and a few shorter ones about Selina's new approach to life as the guardian of the East End of Gotham City.  She is not afraid to take on the mob, and spends most of the book hunting down some crooked cops with the help of private eye Slam Bradley.  The story is nicely written, and shows the more tender side of Selina when her young friend Holly gets hurt.  Also, there was an extended cameo by Detective Crispus Allen, who was my favourite character in Gotham Central, which was probably the best comic DC published in the 2000s (and should have been resurrected for the New 52).

The art in this volume is very consistent.  Brad Rader is a very good artist, yet I'm not sure if he's done anything since this book.  I definitely don't remember seeing his name anywhere else.  His style fits nicely with that of artists like Cameron Stewart (who inks him here), Darwyn Cooke, and Michael Avon Oeming.  I picked up two more of Brubaker's Catwoman trades when I got this one; I'm looking forward to reading them.

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