Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Catwoman #19

I thought the second page was going to read, "Using a gigantic laser pointer!"

Last issue Batman knocked Catwoman off of a motorcycle while they were traveling at approximately 82 miles per hour (that's something like 433 Kilometers per hour if you're from any other fucking country in the world). Her helmet fell off and she landed on her face. I always thought that Catwoman didn't have any super powers but since she's still alive to have another issue on the shelves this month, I guess she has some kind of Cat Power. It definitely isn't the landing on your feet power since she slid across the pavement on her dainty face. So it must be either Freaks Out Over Shiny Things, Howls Like a Madwoman When in Heat, or Has Nine Lives. I suspect she may have all three of those Cat Powers. She's definitely lost at least two lives so far in The New 52: last issue and the Zero Issue's explanation of how she became Catwoman when she survived being thrown off of a skyscraper. She may have used up some more but I only remember most of her comic books in vague, shadowy details full of butts, boobs, and Batmen.

This issue begins with Catwoman already in a straight jacket inside a padded room inside what I suspect, and I'm going out on a limb here, is Arkham. It's equally possible she's just in her apartment's sex room. Except then she starts Narration Boxing and I'm pretty sure the synonyms she's coming up with for her location tend more toward "asylum" than "sex room".

Obviously there is some overlap.

Hours ago, Justice League of America were hanging out in ARGUS discussing how stupid the name of their parent company is.

J'onn: "It stands for Advanced Research Group Uniting Super Humans, Katana."
Katana: "So shouldn't it be ARGUSH?"
J'onn: "I do not know. Maybe there is a dash in there somewhere that counts for something."
Hawkman: "Hold up. 'Uniting Super Humans'? Weren't we brought together to take down the Justice League? Shouldn't that be 'Usurping Super Humans'"?
J'onn: "At least it is not SHADE with that stupid 'E' standing for 'executive'. I am sure ARGUS stands for something top secret that would blow their whole secret agenda if they told us the real meaning of the acronym."
Katana: "I am sorry for the shame of this next statement but are you stupid, J'onn? It's the word they chose to make into an acronym that exposes their real agenda! The monster with 100 eyes to keep guard and watch everything that everybody does? They're a fascist surveillance group backed by the government to keep control of the American population, powered or non-powered. Forgive me for my bluntness. I must go join my husband now."

The Justice League of America has set a plan into motion that will eventually get Catwoman into the place she's in at the beginning of this comic book. It all happened over in Justice League of America #3 but it looks like Ann Nocenti is going to rehash some of that here in this book. Except Ann Nocenti's version doesn't include Green Arrow. So Nocenti's version is better! And putting her inside Arkham is way easier than I ever imagined.

I would have expected some kind of competency hearing at the very least.

Once Catwoman is finally returned to the present and allowed to experience Arkham Asylum, it becomes time for another episode of Ann Nocenti's Knowledge Fun Farm! Hooray!

"Hi kids! You know how sometimes your mother or father or grandparent gets taken away in a white van and put in a padded cell? Well have you ever wondered what can be done to make them better? Well, one way is to use a tried and true method called "scared straight"! That's where you make them behave by showing them how horrible their lives can be made if they don't! If you don't like that method, how about deprivation devices? Those techniques still work because people hate being deprived! Especially Americans! You know what I'm talking about, right kids?! Oh! And what about painting the walls of their loony room pink? Yes, kids! It's a doctor's prescription! It soothes the patient by lowering their alpha waves! Oh boy, aren't we learning a lot today! But that's not the only way to combat insanity! A patient can also take pills or be thrown in the hole! Those are sure fire ways to cure a patient! You know how they're sure fire? Because we fucking say so! That's all from the Farm! Take care and don't tell your parents I said 'Fucking'!"

Catwoman is brought in to meet Jeremiah Arkham. Probably because she was dropped off at the gate by a VIM (very important Martian). Arkham doesn't like the way Catwoman refuses treatment so he shoves her in the Super Max part of the asylum. The cell they place her in is in-between The Black Mask and Vortex. Catwoman learns some Knowledge Farm Fun Facts about Gargoyles from The Black Mask and gives some of her own Knowledge Farm Fun Facts to Vortex about diamond cutters. It's almost as if Ann Nocenti doesn't trust that her audience has ever read a book or gone to school or been curious about anything ever. I think I'm dumber just reading her comic books simply because she expects it of me. And I don't have a lot of intelligence to lose before I'm declared brain dead. Some day, I'm sure someone will simply find me rocking and drooling in my office chair as I mutter, "Ann Nocenti. Ann Nocenti. Ann Nocenti." over and over again.

Catwoman convinces Vortex to stop taking his medication which means he's ready to use his powers as soon as he makes the decision to stop. In the chaos that ensues, Catwoman makes a break for it.

Earlier she tore her right arm free to cut the glass of her cell. Now she's shoved it back into the straight jacket for some reason. I might understand the reason but I've been reading this comic book and my synapses just aren't firing correctly.

After Catwoman takes care of the guards, Vortex's power begins sucking him toward her. Now her straight jacket is in tatters and both arms are free, so I don't have to worry about why she wanted to shove her arm back into the straight jacket.

Oh Goddammit Catwoman! Make up your mind! In or out?

And notice how Ann Nocenti sneaks in another Knowledge Farm Fun Fact for the kids? Now we know about a Lunatic's Choice! I'd do another Knowledge Fun Farm picture but I've filled my quota of drawing farm animals today. That quota is one.

Vortex throws Catwoman from his shoulders and she...holy shit. This had better be the last fucking time!

There's no way she's stuffing her arms back into those rags!

Catwoman must find another straight jacket somewhere else because while the guards are busy cracking Vortex's skull, she's busy tying Jeremiah up in her straight jacket. Maybe Arkham Asylum has self-repairing straight jackets. It's just the kind of thing Nocenti would come up with. Nanobot Containment Garments! She already decided that Arkham Asylum is a holographic projection of an old house on a modern building. That isn't canon, is it? She just made that up, right? I know inside it's more modern but it's still got the same old ancient candy shell, doesn't it?

Using a clue from The Black Mask, Catwoman finds a secret exit into the Gotham Underground. The Gotham Underground is a lot like a Lovecraftian landscape. She eventually climbs out through a manhole which is nothing like the rooftop trap door that she crawled out of at the end of Justice League #3. Perhaps I should have just read this one first since the comic ends with "the story continues in Justice League of America #3". Even though it had an editor's note to see Justice League of America #3 earlier in the comic book. Whatever DC.

Catwoman #19 Rating: -1 Ranking. I guess Geoff Johns simply told Ann Nocenti to have the JLA capture Catwoman and throw her in Arkham and have her escape at the end. They probably should have compared notes a little more thoroughly though. Ann Nocenti's writing is still awkward and her dialogue unnatural. Although she has now populated the Gotham Underground with whimsical shadowy creatures that are having a great big party.

Perhaps it's an underground race of baton twirling stalkers.


  1. ...if you only know the real madness behind the scenes... but i'm a professional artist. i can't give you a word about it. ok, may be one. i've done pencil and ink of 4 pages ( from the scene when she enter in the cell to the one when she kicks the two guardians)...and they re-ink all pages changing a lot of stuff (like the jacket)...i'm not sure exactly why they have done that...really, i don't understand.

    1. Thanks for the bit of behind the scenes! I think DC fans are really struggling with some of the stuff coming out of The New 52. We all understand the need for editorial to be sure the stories work on a broader context. But the ball just seems to keep being dropped on local content, like the straight jacket. Now that's not a big deal and I was mainly just having a laugh about the discontinuity.

      To know that even the artists are scratching their heads at some of these decisions gives me some perspective. I just hope DC's quality continues to improve as it has since the launch of The New 52. And hopefully writers and artists will get a little more leeway and made to feel more in control of their own work.

      Thanks for commenting!