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DC Domination: February '13

by Steph

Welcome to our all-DC Comics feature here at Impulse Creations. Each month, we'll pick three recently released comics from the publisher's line-up and let you know whether they're good, bad, or just plain ugly. This week's batch includes CATWOMAN #17, BATWOMAN #17, and WONDER WOMAN #17.

I’m only a few pages into the new CATWOMAN, and I can’t help but feel like Ann Nocenti is trying too hard to write catchy dialogue. Every line is a little too creative when plain English would work perfectly well; by overburdening sentences, each new one loses meaning.

Let’s face it. This isn’t how characters would talk, either. They might spout a clever one-liner or two, but they wouldn’t speak like they thought up oddball metaphors and slang ahead of time. Rhyming prose is even worse (“I’m no cop. I’m a thief. But I could use your eyes on the street,” says Catwoman, when she’s not talking about fly paper or Macsmack and not giving “a hoot about drugs.”)

In between deciphering the language, you’ll find the story: Catwoman and her friends are stealing precious art, and the cops are out to stop them. While I like the dynamic between two particular members of the police force — and Selina’s interest in the boy the Joker tortured, Milo — I grew tired early on of Nocenti’s heavy language.

Finally, the story reaches a point where Catwoman talks straight — about her concern for Milo and her sudden disinterest in pilfering jewels. Nocenti tones down the word choice, and it’s much more readable.

And the comic gets better in general as Catwoman meets one of the dumbest crooks even seen in panels. Some good jokes come out of it. That’s not to say the issue doesn’t dip into the weird again, with the feline-lover shouting for Batman on rooftops.

Rafa Sandoval’s artwork is a stylish fit for the fancifully told issue, but there’s more than one odd shot of Catwoman’s crotch. I’m not sure what that’s about.

Recommendation: A little tightly wound in words, this issue could use loosening up.

The pages of BATWOMAN have been transformed into something out the mind of H.P. Lovecraft.

It’s weird and artistic, with all sorts of monsters and reality tears, but the exceptional J.H. Williams II is perfectly equipped to depict this sort of visual distress and chaos.

Williams is also co-writing with W. Haden Blackman, telling the story — the confrontation of the “mother of all monsters” — from different perspectives and styles.

From that, Williams and Blackman spawn an interesting idea: rewriting the stories of these evil creatures and starting anew. Given these small glimpses into different characters’ innermost thoughts, this development makes a bizarre sort of sense. But deciding whether it’s possible — whether it won’t end in madness — involves huge risk.

Near the end of this haunting (but short) issue, Batwoman asks a huge question. It’s the (somewhat anticlimactic) conclusion to an arc as the team battles with Medusa (it was good to see Batwoman team up with Wonder Woman), but even bigger things await the superhero. This is quite the cliffhanger, and Williams’ work is as mesmerizing as ever.

Recommendation: This issue teases what's next for Batwoman. It's good but a little light.

The last time I checked, family drama was ruling WONDER WOMAN. And it’s only grown since then.

Wonder Woman and Zola meet up with some colorful characters — Hera and War, for instance, and the ever-amusing Strife — to discuss the future of Zola and Zeus’s baby.

Somehow, all this talk of gods and mortals feels grounded and approachable, like they’re really one of those crowds — those uncomfortable relatives and distant relations. At the root of it, the same problems and tensions that underpin any family dynamic are here, driving the story. Brian Azzarello keeps it familiar despite the grandeur.

The artists (Tony Akins and Amilcar Pinna) make the issue pop. I love all the character’s exaggerated expressions, like they’re crazy family members tearing at each other’s throats.

And the whole of it has a wonderful “comic book superhero” running through it even with the focus on Olympians. There’s Orion’s machinery, which can track a person by analyzing a strand of her hair, and giant sharks about to swallow helicopters. It’s all a bit larger than gods.

Recommendation: Immortals are more fun when they're acting as immature as mortals.

Agree or disagree? Let us know what you think of these comics — or suggest other titles you'd like to see reviewed — by sending an email to Or let us know about a topic in comics that's been bugging you!

This article was published on Monday 25 February, 2013.
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