Catwoman: Crime Pays
by Will Pfeifer, David Lopez (DC Comics, 2008)

Catwoman was, for a while, one of the best little DC books on the shelf. Sure, it wasn't comparing to flagship titles like Superman, Batman and the Justice League, but this femme fatale was putting good stories together with good art for a winning combination that I looked forward to reading each and every month.

It's been cancelled, sadly, and Crime Pays is an example of the kind of writing that led to poor sales.

The disappointing thing is, there's a lot of good story in this collection. Newly parted from her infant child, Selina is trying to rebuild her life after everything she owns is stolen and her home is destroyed. Watching her find her stride is a hoot as she brawls her way through an assortment of mooks and goons trying to find out the source of her woes.

The Adam Hughes cover that unsubtly frames Selina Kyle's prodigious cleavage is, well, icing on the cake -- although I do have fond memories of the days when she wasn't necessarily drawn like a Cat-Barbie.

But much of the story here takes place on a faraway planet in a distant galaxy -- and, well, that's just not where Catwoman belongs. She's a street fighter and a high-rise thief, not a science-fiction heroine. But DC, in one of its recent blunders, decided to send some of its finest villains off to some "prison planet," where Selina gets to mix it up with alien tech, apparent superpowers and an alternate reality where Batman (hero) and Catwoman (crook) are both killers. What were they thinking?

I hope DC takes Catwoman back to her roots -- the street and the penthouse, not outer space -- and continues exploring the character of a villain with a heart of gold. Or is she a hero with a larcenous streak? It's hard to tell. Either way, she's one of the DC's best female solo acts, and she deserves her own title.

review by
Tom Knapp

9 January 2009

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