Friday, January 27, 2012

Catwoman: Relentless

Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Cameron Stewart, Javier Pulido, and Mike Manley

I'm still not sure how I missed out on Ed Brubaker's run with Catwoman back in the early 00's.  This trade collects eight issues of that run (from #12 - 19), and is broken into two stories.

'Relentless', the longer arc, has to do with the Black Mask seeking revenge on Selina for stealing his diamonds in the previous trade.  He hatches a very complicated plan that involves freeing one of Selina's oldest friends from prison and setting her up in a Fagin-like operation.  He also hires Selina's brother-in-law at a shell corporation so that her family would have to move back to Gotham.  He then sets about dismantling Selina's world, and the good work she's been trying to do for Gotham lately. This is a pretty standard story, elevated somewhat by Cameron Stewart's art. 

The second story, 'No Easy Way Down', is excellent.  It's drawn by Javier Pulido, but in a style that is remarkably different from what I've come to expect from him.  His art is more minimalist than normal, and it looks a great deal like Darwyn Cooke's.  This story has Selina, her friend Holly, and private detective Slam Bradley (who, in Pulido's hands looks a lot like Christopher Chance, were he a boxer) all wallowing in their various personal miseries after the events of the previous story.

This part of the comic is very well-balanced, and utterly compelling.  The growing closeness between Selina and Bradley is the best thing about this trade, as they move from colleagues to something much more.  It's a relationship tinged with self-doubt and self-pity though, and it more than anything else here makes me want to read the next trade.

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