Catwoman: Her Sister's Keeper
by Mindy Newell, J.J. Birch (DC Comics, 1991)

It strives to be the heir to Frank Miller's landmark Batman: Year One. But Catwoman: Her Sister's Keeper, doesn't hit the mark.

The book, written by Mindy Newell, picks up on key elements of Miller's controversial origin for Selina Kyle. Specifically, Selina is a streetwise whore, and not a nice one with a heart of gold, either. Her only soft spot is for her underage hooker pal, Holly, and her only source of excitement is news of this new Batman fellow who's working the streets. Oh, and she hates this guy named Stan, who takes the "evil pimp" cliche to new heights and has, for reasons never explained, chalk-white skin.

Oh, and she has a sister who's a nun, but she doesn't like to admit it.

OK, so the powers that be at DC tend to frown on new revelations of Selina's past as a prostitute; policy seems to dictate that particular origin story be buried and forgotten. I have no strong leaning either way, as long as whatever story they tell is told well. Her Sister's Keeper is not told well. Consider this choice bit of dialogue.

Batman: So it's to be a war between us.
Catwoman: It's always a war between the sexes.
Batman: And who will draw first blood?
Catwoman, kissing him: Me?
Catwoman, hitting him: Hisssss
Catwoman, clawing him: You're just another cop, aren't you -- smarter, cooler, more seductive -- but a cop just the same ... and I don't do cops. First round to me, lover.
Batman: Unnghh
Batman, bleeding, as Catwoman flees across the rooftops: First round to you ... but there will be another....

Dialogue overall is choppy and awkward. Motivations seem weak. Scenes change abruptly, without a discernible flow. And the artwork ranges from fair to mediocre.

There are a lot of good Catwoman stories on the shelves. This one, despite a certain degree of notoriety for its touchy content, is just not a very good read.

review by
Tom Knapp

23 August 2008

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