The Problem With CATWOMAN

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Posted by No_Name_ (17403 posts) - - Show Bio

When I first heard that Catwoman would be getting her very own ongoing series as part of DC's New 52 initiative, I couldn't have been more excited. I remember thinking, 'at last, Catwoman gets her own comic book again.' I remember looking forward to seeing how DC would reinvent her character and return one of the most prominent female characters in the Batman Universe and at DC Comics to the forefront. What we got was a rather controversial first issue that started with Catwoman seen moving from rooftop to rooftop over Gotham, half clothed and ending with Catwoman and Batman in a very, well, intimate position. In context, a lot of it made sense. The case can be made that Catwoman, in general, has always been both very bold and very sexualized, and that these characteristics have always been facets of her character. This was not really the conflict I had with this series. The problem I saw was deeply embedded in the negligence and irresponsibility of her character, and her refusal to grow. It was something I felt hindered the book from being all that it could be.

In general, I always had a fondness for writer Judd Winick's work, particularly the character development that he cultivated in Red Hood's character. In fact, I would argue that it was not until Winick had gotten a hold of Jason Todd that the character actually became interesting -- and that's mainly because he really developed Jason's character and gave him a direction. Jason evolved, as we saw in his appearances prior to the start of the New 52, so it's unfortunate that we haven't seen a whole lot of that same brand of character development in CATWOMAN.

== TEASER ==

CATWOMAN's fundamental flaw stems from the fact that she is has experienced a tremendous amount of grief and turmoil, witnessed her closest ally and only true friend shot to death as a result of her carelessness; and yet, she's shown very little remorse. Sure, she's been sad, but I mean true remorse; the kind that calls for action and change, and leads a character or an individual to look inside themselves and try to fix whatever it is they are doing wrong. Lola, Catwoman's fence, died within the first few issues of CATWOMAN, and it doesn't feel like the character has learned anything from it. She hasn't stopped being careless. She isn't more cautious with her own life and the lives of those around her, and I really think she should be. Proof of this can be seen in the last panel of the latest issue of CATWOMAN (#11) where Selina screws up royally be allowing Gotham Police Detective Alvarez and a group of prostitutes and junkies to be captured and taken by the series' most recent adversary.

We recently interviewed Ann Nocenti, who will be taking over writing responsibilities on CATWOMAN, about her plans for the character, what direction she plans to take the book, as well as what kind of character development we can expect. Nocenti revealed not only that she did not have a lot of experience writing Catwoman's character, but that she also hadn't read any Catwoman stories in the last ten years. She did, however, clue fans into her idea for the future of Catwoman by touching on the things "that make her tick," particularly in the upcoming September #0 issue.

She has an origin issue coming out, we're going to remind readers of why she ticks the way she ticks…so that when that comes back into play…I think I will probably deal a certain amount with what drives her to want the most glittery things she can find. What is the compulsion to be a master thief? Especially because sometimes she just clearly does it for kicks. It's not like those noir robbers that do it because they want he cash. With her it's got more to do with some inner turmoil -- she will never be happy no matter how many jewels she gets.

If you've been reading up on the series then you might recall that in CATWOMAN #11 we saw some of what "makes her tick" finally come to light. Catwoman revealed her innermost demons to a character name 'Spark,' who she had been teaming up with over the course of the last few issues. In this scene Selina bears her soul after Spark questions why she cares so much about "prostitutes and junkies." She replies that the police aren't doing anything to help them, and somebody has to help. The moment that followed explained why, and brings the reader back to the start of her series. She does what she does because of where she came from, and the amount of struggle, abandonment and pain she had to endure growing up.

You see, Selina too was taken, so she can relate. Of all the moments combined throughout this series, this might be the most powerful. It gives the reader a look deep inside the soul of Selina Kyle, who, for the majority of this series has seemed unremarkably vapid. It's a scene that shows us that the character does have some depth, and that there were things that happened to her that really, truly hurt her and impacted her in a way that would lead her to defend those she feels she can relate to. This was a great moment; and a great victory for any reader hoping to see the character develop -- but it still doesn't change the fact that Selina is still clueless and clumsy.

I understand the idea that to grow up and to mature you have to go through some serious stuff. You have to make mistakes in order to learn and to get better. I also think that if I were to lose someone really close to me, I think I would learn to be more careful with my life and the lives of others. Eleven issues in and it still doesn't feel like Catwoman has learned that lesson, and as a result it's hard for me to sympathize with a character who watched her best friend die as a result of her actions and irresponsibility, and not change. When we spoke to Ann Nocenti, we asked the writer if she planned on addressing Catwoman's reckless nature.

CV: We have seen her lose some very important people in her life, (Lola) die as a result of her recklessness. We haven't really seen her character in the last ten issues really grow and recognize that her recklessness is the root of so many of her problems. Is that something you're going to be addressing in your CATWOMAN run?

AN: Definitely. I think that's a good question. Lola was her fence, and now Gwen is her fence. It's also who you choose to associate with. It's not like Catwoman is out there befriending really stable, nice people. She's clearly attracted to people who live with a certain amount of risk. I mean, Lola and Gwen were both painted as very down-to-earth girls who just happened to do these heisting gigs for her. It's like, she also picks people who are already kind of teetering on a tightrope, even if their personalities don't manifest in the way hers does.

CATWOMAN: WHEN IN ROME

While Nocenti doesn't really answer the question of whether or not Catwoman will change her behavior and learn from her mistakes, she does acknowledge the fact that Catwoman attracts people into her life that like to play with fire. Here is hoping that the series takes a turn that will lead Catwoman to grow as a character, learn from her past mistakes, and pay homage to the people that died as a result of her reckless behavior (Lola). And it wouldn't hurt if Ms. Nocenti took into account some other great Catwoman characterizations like those we saw in Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale's CATWOMAN: WHEN IN ROME and Darwyn Cooke's CATWOMAN: SELINA'S BIG SCORE. Those are two really amazing Catwoman stories we think she may want to read since, you know, she hasn't read Catwoman in ten years.

#1 Posted by Inverno (12835 posts) - - Show Bio

I haven't read it yet. But I didn't think it was that bad...

#2 Posted by danhimself (21913 posts) - - Show Bio

I thought this was about your disdain over Anne Hathaway in TDKR

#3 Posted by webofthornns (670 posts) - - Show Bio

I've really enjoyed Catwoman, is one of my favorites actually, dreading Ann Nocenti after she destroyed Green Arrow's book

#4 Posted by RGE (1 posts) - - Show Bio

Don't be such a Catwoman hater Sara... this book isn't as serious as the others and that's what's great about it it's fun and crazy just like Catwoman is! I do hope that when Ann takes over she doesn't screw up this book. The critics need to lay off this awesome book!

#5 Posted by JohnnyWalker (821 posts) - - Show Bio

if they would also get rid of the artist too.

#7 Posted by The Stegman (20867 posts) - - Show Bio
@webofthornns: You can't really destroy something that was dead from issue one.
#8 Posted by G-Man (29478 posts) - - Show Bio

@danhimself: She wasn't called "Catwoman" in the movie.

Staff
#9 Posted by The Mighty Monarch (2190 posts) - - Show Bio

She's stuck in a painful vicious cycle. She WANTS to be more cautious, but she's stuck in her ADDICTION to the danger. It's boring if character development gets thrown in too fast, Winick really emphasized the crippling weight of her addiction, and how it was preventing her from making the changes she needed to make. A careful cautious Catwoman is closer to a boring character, but this adrenaline addict is so much fun because her actions and situations are all the more unpredictable. And Catwoman overcoming her reckless nature right after the first sign she needed to early on would've been completely boring compared to the heart wrenching stuff we got. All those few moments where she retreats into a fetal position, and then when she snapped into an animalistic rage when provoked out of that fetal position; and when she spent an entire issue soul searching about needing to make changes.... when she couldn't fight it and went to Gwen to repeat the vicious cycle... I could actually hear my own heart breaking for her in that moment.

There was nothing wrong with Winick's Catwoman, I wrote a 3-page college essay for an English class on why the series was so phenomenal and all the rich depth it contained. Got a freaking A on it. Not all Winick work is amazing, but this is easily one of the ones that is.

Nocenti's not read any Catwoman in 10 years? That's a pretty crappy sign for the quality of what's to come, especially after she's been struggling to write Green Arrow any better than the first few writers. Talking about how she's going to fix this series? That's crap, Catwoman's got NOWHERE to go after Winick except down.

#10 Posted by The Stegman (20867 posts) - - Show Bio
@The Mighty Monarch:  
 


She's stuck in a painful vicious cycle. She WANTS to be more cautious, but she's stuck in her ADDICTION to the danger. It's boring if character development gets thrown in too fast, Winick really emphasized the crippling weight of her addiction, and how it was preventing her from making the changes she needed to make. A careful cautious Catwoman is closer to a boring character, but this adrenaline addict is so much fun because her actions and situations are all the more unpredictable. And Catwoman overcoming her reckless nature right after the first sign she needed to early on would've been completely boring compared to the heart wrenching stuff we got. All those few moments where she retreats into a fetal position, and then when she snapped into an animalistic rage when provoked out of that fetal position; and when she spent an entire issue soul searching about needing to make changes.... when she couldn't fight it and went to Gwen to repeat the vicious cycle... I could actually hear my own heart breaking for her in that moment.

There was nothing wrong with Winick's Catwoman, I wrote a 3-page college essay for an English class on why the series was so phenomenal and all the rich depth it contained. Got a freaking A on it. Not all Winick work is amazing, but this is easily one of the ones that is.

Nocenti's not read any Catwoman in 10 years? That's a pretty crappy sign for the quality of what's to come, especially after she's been struggling to write Green Arrow any better than the first few writers. Talking about how she's going to fix this series? That's crap, Catwoman's got NOWHERE to go after Winick except down. 

 
Very well said.
#11 Posted by Danial79 (2208 posts) - - Show Bio

I would have thought a writer would have to be well versed in a character to be chosen to write them. Ten years is a lot of character development to be unaware of. How will she know if she's backtracking or writing a story that's already been written? Obviously Editorial would tell her if she did, but still, you get what I mean.

#12 Posted by The Mighty Monarch (2190 posts) - - Show Bio

@RGE said:

Don't be such a Catwoman hater Sara... this book isn't as serious as the others and that's what's great about it it's fun and crazy just like Catwoman is! I do hope that when Ann takes over she doesn't screw up this book. The critics need to lay off this awesome book!

Actually I think it was. This was one of the most serious of the New 52 I thought. She has some really deep rooted issues that can't be overcome so easily. I haven't gone through have the stuff she has and it's still taking me years to deal with a lot of my problems. This series has been extremely intense and deep in my experience.

#13 Posted by Duke_Nasty (1017 posts) - - Show Bio

Im really enjoyin getting caught up on this series.

#14 Posted by danhimself (21913 posts) - - Show Bio

@G-Man said:

@danhimself: She wasn't called "Catwoman" in the movie.

stinking technicalities always making me look dumb

#15 Posted by poisonfleur (2733 posts) - - Show Bio

On a positive note, it's good to see some female leading comics.. I wish her series the best.

#16 Posted by moywar700 (2775 posts) - - Show Bio

@G-Man said:

@danhimself: She wasn't called "Catwoman" in the movie.

What was she called?

#17 Posted by CrimsonCake (2666 posts) - - Show Bio

I might pick this up but I don't think I read her original series.

#18 Posted by NightFang (9648 posts) - - Show Bio

Just return her too being a orphaned ex-prostitute turned (jewel) thief/blackmailer and anti-heroin, who might be related to the Falcone crime family and has a live-hate relationship with Batman.

#19 Posted by The Stegman (20867 posts) - - Show Bio
@moywar700: Selina Kyle 
#20 Posted by G-Man (29478 posts) - - Show Bio

@The Stegman said:

@moywar700: Selina Kyle

She was also called "Sexy Hotpants" but I think they cut that scene out.

Staff
#21 Posted by No_Name_ (17403 posts) - - Show Bio

@The Mighty Monarch: I really think that the first part of your argument would totally work if Judd were staying on this title. Now that he's leaving, you can't expect Nocenti to abide by any of Judd's plans for the book.

#22 Posted by The Stegman (20867 posts) - - Show Bio
@G-Man:  
 


@The Stegman said:

@moywar700: Selina Kyle

She was also called "Sexy Hotpants" but I think they cut that scene out.

Well to be fair, Morgan Freeman was really drunk when he called her that.
#23 Posted by The Mighty Monarch (2190 posts) - - Show Bio

@NightFang said:

Just return her too being a orphaned ex-prostitute turned (jewel) thief/blackmailer and anti-heroin, who might be related to the Falcone crime family and has a live-hate relationship with Batman.

How much of that was she not in Winick's run? Possible Falcone relation is the only thing not brought up, but it was never contradicted either.

#24 Posted by The Mighty Monarch (2190 posts) - - Show Bio

@Babs said:

@The Mighty Monarch: I really think that the first part of your argument would totally work if Judd were staying on this title. Now that he's leaving, you can't expect Nocenti to abide by any of Judd's plans for the book.

I mean, that's my argument for nothing being wrong with this series, and why Judd SHOULD have been staying on the title. No, I can't expect Nocenti to stick with his stuff, and I think editorial probably wants her to shy away from it because I get the feeling Winick isn't leaving the series because he's personally done with it. My point was simply that there WASN'T a problem with Catwoman, and the idea that there was really bothers me because so many people were already disregarding it from the start simply because there was prominent sexuality.

I'll give Nocenti a chance, but due to the presumed circumstances of the writer change, I don't think it's possible for her, or really hardly any writer if Winick had been replaced by someone else, to take the series in any direction but down from what it was under Winick.

#25 Posted by M-Demon (46 posts) - - Show Bio

I've seen a few blogs about how Catwoman needs to "improve" but interestingly enough, most of the comments on all of those blogs have more people in support of the current Catwoman title than not. I didn't grow up reading Catwoman, but I've enjoyed the run so far. I'll be going through post-crisis runs to get fully caught up on the character over the next few months so I guess I'll be able to match it up against 1985-2011 Catwoman and give my take then. But with that being said, I've actually really enjoyed the series so far.

#26 Posted by X9 (746 posts) - - Show Bio

Am I the only one who actually liked the series so far?

I had great fun, the stories were fine and it made me like Selina even more. Could it be better, yes, but it's unfair to say it's not good. At least I think so.

#27 Posted by The Mighty Monarch (2190 posts) - - Show Bio

@X9: I'm probably the biggest supporter of Winick's current Catwoman, and I've honestly rarely thought it could be much better. It's fun, yeah, but it's just filled to the brim with deeper intensity just below the surface.

#28 Posted by jhazzroucher (13979 posts) - - Show Bio

I love Catwoman

#29 Posted by cc1738 (344 posts) - - Show Bio

The character sucks and needs to die!!

#30 Posted by chipsnopotatoes (328 posts) - - Show Bio

Judd Winick is terrible. I'm so glad he's leaving but I'm not getting my hopes up on Nocenti. I'd much rather they throw away this reboot and go with the Selina Kyle we saw in TDKR. And, yeah, have Jonah Nolan write.

#31 Posted by x_29 (2272 posts) - - Show Bio

Catwoman is so sexy. Anne Hathaway was awesome.

#32 Posted by bingbangboom (746 posts) - - Show Bio

I think at this point I would enjoy it if DC made a series of comics that spin off from The Dark Knight Rises. Considering Nolan isn't going back to Batman, it would be a wasted opportunity.

#33 Posted by Mr_Wayne69 (172 posts) - - Show Bio

These comments are hilarious. One of you mentioned Sara as a 'hater'... really? Look, the book may be cool to some of you but you have to admit it could stand to use some improvement. Serious book or not, this book is flawed to a fault. Judd has been hit or miss in his comics career (more of the latter imo). Overall having a female writer as the voice of a female character is a no brainer. Even though I'm hearing that she supposedly sucks over at Green Arrow... none the less, Judd sucks in a few books so...

I have a cool idea to pitch to DC that can take Ms. Kyle to heights she's never seen before.

#34 Posted by jointron33 (1902 posts) - - Show Bio

im assuming by taken she means raped?

#35 Posted by tim_mik (115 posts) - - Show Bio

I didn't mind this run and thought Judd was getting there with Spark's involvement, but Ann did take Green Arrow down the wrong path and I'm afraid she'll do the same here. Why admit to fans that she hasn't even read anything about her?!?!

#36 Posted by Om1kron (1168 posts) - - Show Bio

@G-Man said:

@danhimself: She wasn't called "Catwoman" in the movie.

BOOM GOES THE DYNAMITE!!! lol

#37 Posted by x_29 (2272 posts) - - Show Bio

Catwoman should take a few tips from Sara's favorite female heroine, Starfire!

#38 Posted by Tyrannotaur (288 posts) - - Show Bio

When I got back into comics again last fall I jumped on alot of the New 52 books that had characters I liked from my youth. I've always been a fan of Black Cat from Spider-man and always liked Femme Fatale/ thief characters, so I wanted to give Catwoman a chance. Previously my only experience with the character was from movies or TV shows. This has turned out to be one of the DC series I look forward to every month along with Batman, Batgirl and Batwoman. I love March's artwork on the series and really don't understand the hate towards it. The writing from Judd Winnick has always been very enjoyable. Though I will say the current story arc with Dollhouse is possibly the weakest of the book so far. I am glad to see some insight into her history however.

As for your complaints Sara, I always saw her as being stuck in the denial stage of grief. She doesn't want to admit to herself that it's her fault that she got her friend killed. She blocks out the pain by feeding into her addiction, which is stealing and being an adrenaline junkie. It's similar to what alot of drug addicts do, and why it's so hard to get off heavy drugs. I think that if Winnick had more time with the book we'd definitely see her finally come to the realization of what she has done and hopefully change her ways. Especially with what he is alluding to with Spark. Once that relationship falls apart like it is bound to, I'm sure we will see her start to try and change. Or at least that's what I am hoping for.

I have to say with all I am hearing about Nocenti's work on Green Arrow has me a bit nervous that the book will have an abrupt end at the first new wave of New 52 in 2013... I sure hope not. I need my Selena fix every month!

#39 Posted by chipsnopotatoes (328 posts) - - Show Bio

@Mr_Wayne69 said:

These comments are hilarious. One of you mentioned Sara as a 'hater'... really? Look, the book may be cool to some of you but you have to admit it could stand to use some improvement. Serious book or not, this book is flawed to a fault. Judd has been hit or miss in his comics career (more of the latter imo). Overall having a female writer as the voice of a female character is a no brainer. Even though I'm hearing that she supposedly sucks over at Green Arrow... none the less, Judd sucks in a few books so...

I have a cool idea to pitch to DC that can take Ms. Kyle to heights she's never seen before.

Two words. Bronwyn Carlton. Catwoman fans from the 90's still shudder at the mention of her name. I've read Nocenti's Trail of the Gun where she wrote Selina as this shrieky borderline crazy creature. Ick.

#40 Posted by Amathar (3 posts) - - Show Bio

The pre52 Catwoman series was one of the best I've ever read. This seems to be the problem with the new52. They've thrown out the baby with the bathwater. After what had been accomplished before, this new Catwoman series just made me so sad I had to stop reading it.

#41 Posted by ragdollpurps (15570 posts) - - Show Bio

Meh, not excited about Nocenti. If she really hasn't read a Catwoman comic in ten years she better freshen up, and the only thing I liked that Winick brought to the table was Spark. He grew on me. I love seeing Selina mix it up with someone other than Bats, but his depiction of her lacked any of the finesse that I love the most about Selina. Pretty much only continue to buy this title out of loyalty to the character and female solo titles, so hopefully things will start looking up.

#42 Posted by Gordo789 (201 posts) - - Show Bio

Ugh, i liked the first story arc in catwoman, warts and all, but I couldn't stand the second story arc with her teaming up with some random nobody metahuman reject from Infamous. It's a shame, she's a great character.

#43 Posted by No_Name_ (17403 posts) - - Show Bio

@x_29 said:

Catwoman should take a few tips from Sara's favorite female heroine, Starfire!

I would love to know what this comment even means.

#44 Posted by fodigg (6094 posts) - - Show Bio

I feel a little bad that I read the headline and immediately said "the art" out loud.

#45 Posted by Queso6p4 (1413 posts) - - Show Bio

Good points, Sara. I actually dropped this series (at issue 10) because I felt the character wasn't developing much at all, especially after Lola's death.

@The Mighty Monarch said:

She's stuck in a painful vicious cycle. She WANTS to be more cautious, but she's stuck in her ADDICTION to the danger. It's boring if character development gets thrown in too fast, Winick really emphasized the crippling weight of her addiction, and how it was preventing her from making the changes she needed to make. A careful cautious Catwoman is closer to a boring character, but this adrenaline addict is so much fun because her actions and situations are all the more unpredictable. And Catwoman overcoming her reckless nature right after the first sign she needed to early on would've been completely boring compared to the heart wrenching stuff we got. All those few moments where she retreats into a fetal position, and then when she snapped into an animalistic rage when provoked out of that fetal position; and when she spent an entire issue soul searching about needing to make changes.... when she couldn't fight it and went to Gwen to repeat the vicious cycle... I could actually hear my own heart breaking for her in that moment.

There was nothing wrong with Winick's Catwoman, I wrote a 3-page college essay for an English class on why the series was so phenomenal and all the rich depth it contained. Got a freaking A on it. Not all Winick work is amazing, but this is easily one of the ones that is.

Nocenti's not read any Catwoman in 10 years? That's a pretty crappy sign for the quality of what's to come, especially after she's been struggling to write Green Arrow any better than the first few writers. Talking about how she's going to fix this series? That's crap, Catwoman's got NOWHERE to go after Winick except down.

Even given this seeing some more of her inner turmoil would've made this more engaging/believable. If I recall correctly, she only grieved for one issue afterwards and then it was like she was over it. That's what I didn't like. In addition, her behavior, at least up to the point I read, was pretty typical and predictable, not unpredictable. Her revenge on the mob was quite satisfying to watch, though. And with addiction, it often takes truly life altering events, like the ones she experienced, to get people back on track so expecting her to start to do so is not unreasonable. I do agree with you on Nocenti's lack of comic association for the past decade but she can remedy that fairly easily with a trip to a decently stocked library.

#46 Posted by jrock85 (2874 posts) - - Show Bio

Nocenti has a tendency to let her political views spill over into her writing, so I'm not sure that she's the right fit for this title and this type of character.

#47 Posted by Webjaker (366 posts) - - Show Bio

said "When I first heard that Catwoman would be getting her very own ongoing series as part of DC's New 52 initiative, I couldn't have been more excited. I remember thinking, 'at last, Catwoman gets her own comic book again.' I remember looking forward to seeing how DC would reinvent her character and return one of the most prominent female characters in the Batman Universe and at DC Comics to the forefront."

That was my opinion. I had become a huge Selina Kyle fan - in fact when i finally picked up Gotham City Sirens, I was pleasantly surprised that it wasnt at all about sex and scantily-clad gotham vixens (this assumption made me originally avoid the title). So Catwoman #1 was actually one of the issues of the New 52 I was MOST excited for. ...then i read it and I was embarrassed that I had told my friends I was so happy Catwoman was getting her own book.

I guess (possibly) the problem was that I and most people had become Catwoman fans because of who Catwoman had become over all the years and the entire point of the New 52 was a new beginning. And where most of the DC characters were unaffected - resetting Catwoman so what she was when she first started (which was probably just eye-candy to get teenage boys interested in a batman comic) is quite a change from the Catwoman we knew pre-flashpoint.

So, with other characters we dont mind seeing them develop back into what we loved about them, we need a little more with Selina. I flip through Catwoman issues and I see butt, boobs, butt & boobs, etc etc and Im not gonna waste my money on that. Maybe Im an idiot, but I wanted to read about Selina Kyle's character and adventures, not how sexy she is. But, as always, i am in the minority ....

#48 Posted by Jawshco (240 posts) - - Show Bio

I really like the current run on Catwoman in the new 52. I like the fact that she's has contradictions and makes stupid mistakes. That's part of who she is I think. She's a conflicted, impulsive lady with a big heart, but very little self control. The fact that Winick showed the results of her choices was a good call in my book. He probably could have developed her further, but I don't see a bit problem with title as it is.

#49 Posted by Judge_Dredd (149 posts) - - Show Bio

@Jawshco: Agreed. Catwoman is my favorite series of the new 52, and her characterization is done flawlessly here. It's too bad the creative team is changing after only 12 issues.

#50 Posted by jpblair88 (45 posts) - - Show Bio

couldnt agree with you more. the sexiness didnt bother me at all. it was the lack of character development that has bored me out of this book. It really isnt Winick's best work at all. If we could get a series similar to Brubaker's run ill be happy.

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