REVIEW: ‘Batman Catwoman,’ Issue #3

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Batman Catwoman #3

Batman Catwoman #3 is published by DC Comics under the Black Label imprint, written by Tom King, art by Clay Mann, colors by Tomeu Morey, and letters by Clayton Cowles. The Phantasm is rapidly building up a body count as the Joker’s old cronies fall under her blade. While in the future, the Joker’s body has been discovered, and Dick and Helena have begun investigating who killed him.

It has been said that the ending of a piece of a book is the most crucial part. That last moment is what the reader walks away with. That last impression that will linger most vividly in the mind. It can truly make or break an experience. I’ve seen plenty of great finales reading comics. The need to keep readers coming back month after month encourages writers to find compelling hooks to leave on that last page. Making the reader need to know what happens next. I’ve also seen lots of final pages that were trying to go for that big finish but fail to stick the landing. When the twist is so far out of left field that it fails to surprise or compel, but rather confuses. However, rarely have I read a finale to a book that left me feeling such a mix of both that I cannot begin to decide how I feel about it. Yet, Batman Catwoman #3 delivers just such a finale.

Our story opens in the future, as we see Commissioner Grayson and Helena Wayne atop GCPD Headquarters. With the Bat-Signal blazing in the background, Dick fills in Helena on the news of an elderly Floridian who was found dead in his home recently. Signs point to it being the Joker. As the current Bat in Gotham, Helena decides to head down to see what can be found out about what transpired, as well as who could’ve killed him.

While the tale unfolding in the future hits a great stride and never stops, Batman Catwoman #3’s present events are not so well handled. As the book bounces from scene to scene, there is little cohesion in the narrative. One moment, Selina is yelling at Joker in the store she confronted him in previously. The next moment he is in a holding cell being chewed out by Batman. There are others besides, but their content would be slipping into spoilers.

This confusing assortment of scenes hampers this book’s great moment to moment writing. King delivers some incredible tension in this issue. As some of the scenes heat up, the dialogue gives exactly what it needs to.

Mann’s phenomenal art also strengthens Batman Catwoman #3’s scenes. Every tension-filled moment, every jaw cracking punch, and every tender touch between Selina and Bruce are captured with extraordinary skill. The height of the book”s visual presentation comes during a dinner between Helena and her mother. Discussing the unfolding homicide case in Florida, Mann’s art always delivers the perfect angle and captures how much both parties aren’t saying with their words.

The art gains even more life thanks to Morey’s colorwork. Sharp contrasts highlight individuals and perfect color palettes are chosen to emphasize each scene’s emotional direction.

Lastly, we have another excellent performance on letters by Cowles. His placements are fantastic here, as the dialogue bubbles are not only kept out of the way of the art but often felt as if they become an extension of it. Creating an added flow to the images.

When all is said and done, Batman Catwoman #3 leaves me liking it less than I want to. While each scene is delivered with the classic one-two punch of excellent writing and great art, the narrative never comes together for me. And while a little mystery in a story’s presentation can help fuel a sense of drama, too much can leave a reader feeling lost and confused. Sadly, this was how I felt as I put this book down.

Batman Catwoman #3 is available now wherever comics are sold.

 

Batman Catwoman #3
3.5

TL;DR

When all is said and done, Batman Catwoman #3 leaves me liking it less than I want to. While each scene is delivered with the classic one-two punch of excellent writing and great art, the narrative never comes together for me. And while a little mystery in a story’s presentation can help fuel a sense of drama, too much can leave a reader feeling lost and confused. Sadly, this was how I felt as I put this book down.