Joelle Jones has had a very good run going on Catwoman. She has taken Selina Kyle out of Gotham City and placed her in a place that is still foreign to her in Villa Hermosa. The slow build of how big of a threat that Raina Creel has become to Catwoman has been solidly built. Raina Creel gaining credibility speaks to the work Jones has put to make her someone that is formidable. Now bringing in the Lazarus Pit into the equation has put Catwoman against a wall as she has to deal with Raina’s rise while also pondering Lex Luthor’s offer as part of the Year of the Villain. Let’s find out how things go now with Catwoman #17.
Writer & Artist: Joelle Jones
Colorist: Laura Allred
Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: As Selina Kyle walks out of the cave housing the Lazarus Pit she sees the Legion Doom symbol shine in the sky.
Selina then remembers her conversation with Lex Luthor. Lex offers Selina the location of the Lazarus Pit that Raina Creel is going after. Selina insists that she must get back to Gotham City. Lex continues to push his offer by asking if Selina wants to stay to be a hero or leave to be a villain. He then asks her what is actually in Gotham City for her to go to.
A little later as she races off in her motorcycle Selina remembers her evolution as Catwoman and how Gotham City has played a large role in that. She goes on to remember all her confrontations with Batman that led to an intense romance with Bruce Wayne and the wedding that fell apart.
Eventually Selina finds the location of the Lazarus Pit. When she goes inside she finds that Raina Creel and her crew are already inside.
Raina, with her son zombified Adam Creel, kill Sam Yilmaz and the scientist she brought. She then has Adam roll both guys into the Lazarus Pit to see if it works. The two guys rather than coming out normal are in a zombified state like Adam.
Raina then has the three zombified guys attack and heavily injure Catwoman.
Everything starts becoming hazy as all Catwoman remembers is walking into the Lazarus Pit and then coming out of it in one of her original costumes. She decides to push through all this and goes back to Villa Hermosa to find Raina and her crew.
Selina decides she needs a shortcut and goes to the Magic Club.
Inside Selina finds Zatanna watching a magic show while ordering a drink. End of issue.
The Good: Catwoman #17 is an odd issue. A lot of what happens in Catwoman #17 takes place before the events of the previous issues. Filling in those holes in the story, especially as it pertains to Lex Luthor’s offer, was good to see. At the same time, the only progress that we actually see because of this only happen is in the final page with Catwoman finding Zatanna for help.
Where Joelle Jones continues to excel in her run with Catwoman is the internal battle that Selina Kyle has in considering herself a hero or villain. She has been in-between both roles for such a long time that when confronted with the decision of which side to choose she stays silent for a while. Selina remembering her evolution as Catwoman was important in highlighting what Lex Luthor proposed to her. Even if her decision isn’t fully made, we see how Selina continues to lean on the hero side of things.
This again speaks to how personal things have gotten with Raina Creel. This is the first time that Selina is presented with a threat that only she can stop. There is no connection to Batman or other heroes when it comes to Raina as a villain. While she may want to return to Gotham City now Raina isn’t someone that Selina can come back to deal with at a later date.
To that point Catwoman’s search for help furthers the narrative that Selina can’t be a solo act all the time. She has often taken the Batman approach of taking everything on by herself. But with Raina, things have taken such a supernatural turn that Selina can’t simply suit up as Catwoman to defeat her. Turning to Zatanna for help has a lot of potential for opening Selina up to other ways to deal with the threats at hand.
Jones artwork was once again the star of the show. Jones, along with colorist Laura Allred, give Catwoman a style that completely stands out from every other comic book on the market. It is distinct and matches the personality of Selina Kyle. All the artwork for the flashback scenes were particularly strong. Jones made adjustments in each version of Selina Kyle over her career as Catwoman that spoke to that specific era. It made the internal battle Selina was going through stronger because of how great all of it looked.
The Bad: As well written as Selina Kyle was Catwoman #17 is an issue that should’ve taken place before or the place of Catwoman #16. There was absolutely nothing done in Catwoman #17 that should’ve been seen in the previous issue. More than anything else you could have easily skipped out on Catwoman #16 and jumped into this issue without missing a beat.
It did not help at all that Jones made it a point to show us everything from the previous issue in Catwoman #17. The only difference was that she told the events of Catwoman #16 in more of a recap form. This hurts the overall flow of this story that Jones is telling involving the latest chapter in the Catwoman vs Raina Creel war.
The connection to Year of the Villain with Lex Luthor’s offer expanded on did not help Catwoman #17 at all. Jones has stretched Lex’s offer to Selina Kyle be told over the course of three issues. That is just unacceptable. With how hard DC is attempting to put the Year of the Villain direction over we should not feel like all these offers Lex is making overshadows the storyline creators like Jones are developing in their comics. Unfortunately that is exactly what is happening.
What hurts this even more is the fact that Lex’s involvement is not needed. Jones could have instead had Selina’s tracking skills eventually lead her to Raina. That would’ve been a much stronger way to put over how deeply skilled Selina is. But having Lex just hand over the location of the Lazarus Pit that Raina happened to find just came across as a cheat code that Jones inputted. Especially given that we already know from “City of Bane” over in Batman that Catwoman is not siding with Lex’s offer.
Which also comes back to how the current problems with continuity across the board is hurting DC Comics right now. There is no sense to if this is happening before or after the events of “City of Bane” because of the Legion of Doom signal. It is completely throwing everything off for those who are invested in more than one comic from DC.
Overall: From a standalone perspective, Catwoman #17 is very strong. Joelle Jones understanding of Selina Kyle’s character shines throughout the course of Catwoman #17. Unfortunately the choice in direction makes all the previous issue completely unnecessary. Catwoman #17 is essentially one big recap of the events that just happened. The connection to Year of the Villain also proves to be nothing more than a deus ex machina to progress the story. Not hiding that fact puts a big damper on what has otherwise been a solid story involving Catwoman and Raina Creel’s rivalry.
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