REVIEW: ‘Batman/Catwoman,’ Issue #5

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Batman Catwoman #5 - But Why Tho

Batman/Catwoman #5 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. After being taken by The Phantasm, Selina now finds herself on a sort of ride-a-long as The Phantasm takes Selina to see what she believes is important. Meanwhile, in the future, Selina is confronted by an old frenemy in the form of Harley Quinn.

As a title under the DC Black Label, Batman/Catwoman isn’t bound by the normal continuity of DC’s mainline comics. This is an important fact to remember as we delve deeper into this tale. Because there are moments in Batman Catwoman #4 that feel decidedly different than what one would expect of these characters. In particular, this is true of Catwoman.

This issue is all about Selina. With all three storylines centering directly on her, Selina takes center stage in the past, present, and whenever the third part of this book takes place. However, while everything revolves around her, only in the future does Selina behave in a way that feels particularly like Selina. How she approaches her time with The Phantasm in the present and a drunken pity party she throws herself in the unknown time point, both fail to come across as how Selina is as a character. And with no apparent reason for these drastic changes to her personality given, their appearance in this book is jarring, to say the least.

While in the future, Batman/Catwoman #5 does a better job with its star character as she is forced to confront a rather upset Harley Quinn. And while this plotline gets Selina right, it does stumble a bit with Harley. While it is a smaller moment than the major fails the story has with its other plotlines, it is significant for Harley and her long and complicated history with the Joker.

The only other thing to note about the story is its lack of forward motion. This is not surprising, given that writer King is known for his slow-burn approach to storytelling, but this is the first time this sort of stall has happened in this series. It’s particularly poorly timed, as some strong story beats might’ve distracted from the book’s odd handling of its lead character.

Despite my struggles with Batman/Catwoman #5′s plot,  the art continues to be amazing. Mann brings every scene to life with an excellent sense of the dramatic. The high points in this book visually are when The Phantasm is in the panel. Mann captures a real haunting menace with this character whenever she graces the page. The top-notch visual presentation goes to further heights with Morey’s gorgeous colorwork. The atmosphere is brought to its fullest thanks to great color selection and lighting work on the part of Morey. Rounding out the presentation of this book is Cowles lettering. The lettering here is clear and provides the reader an easily read story that never imposing on the art.

So at best I can call Batman/Catwoman #5 a mixed bag. While its art continues to deliver many gorgeous panels, the story continues to confound me.

Batman/Catwoman #5 is available now wherever comics are sold.

Batman/Catwoman #5
2.5

TL;DR

So at best I can call Batman/Catwoman #5 a mixed bag. While its art continues to deliver many gorgeous panels, the story continues to confound me.