Joelle Jones has been on a roll with her run on Catwoman now that she has gone all in on this next phase of Raina Creel’s plans. The whole zombie route Jones has taken with Raina Creel’s character had an odd start but has found itself. More importantly it has pushed Catwoman in many unexpected ways, even surprising Selina Kyle herself. Now with Catwoman forced to fight Raina and her zombie infested crew can Selina overcome all the odds? Let’s find out with Catwoman #20.
Writer: Joelle Jones
Artist: Fernando Blanco
Colorist: FCO Plascencia
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Hearing all the disruptions the crazed zombified Adam Creel is creating Raina Creel tells her crew to throw Adam in with the rest of the zombies. As that happens Raina is informed about protesters outside her house. Raina doesn’t care much and instead pays attention to the party she is hosting for the wealthy elite are arriving at.
In the Creel Mansion backyard Adam breaks out of his chains. He then uses his strength to release all the other zombies who have been caged up. The zombies then face off against all of Raina’s guards.
Over at El Triángulo Pawn Selina Kyle carries her sister, Maggie Kyle, to a place she can be safe. As she does that Selina promises to get Linda back safely.
While sitting with Maggie, Selina breaks down as she thinks how what Villa Hermosa has turned into has pushed her beyond what Gotham City did. Thinking how Raina also has the Lazarus Water, Selina is not sure what to do next.
Suddenly a group of alley cats appear and signal to Selina to put on the Catwoman costume Alfred Pennyworth sent her a while back (costume was sent to Selina by Alfred back in Catwoman #1).
A little later, at her apartment, Selina understands what she must do and puts on her previous Catwoman costume and leaves the cats to watch over Maggie. As Selina leaves Maggie is shown to start moving as she slowly pets one of the cats. Maggie then smiles.
Inside the Creel Mansion all of Villa Hermosa’s elite are enjoying themselves as Raina watches on.
In the backyard of the Creel Mansion Adam leads all of the zombies against all her mother’s guards. Raina sees this from her command room and rings a bell. This bell is heard by all of the zombies and they instantly turn their attention to the protesters at the front gate.
The rioters are frozen in fear as they are attacked by all of the zombies. Raina then has Evelyn grab the container holding the Lazarus water for her.
At the entrance of the Creel Mansion Catwoman suddenly shows up and saves a pregnant protester from being killed by some of the zombies. Catwoman then uses her agility and fighting abilities to fight off all the zombies coming at her.
Meanwhile Raina mixes a drug called Narssistrine with the Lazarus Water that she plans on using to create an army of undead she can control. Raina then orders her waiters to serve the Lazarus Water drinks to all the people at her party.
Not knowing what they are drinking everyone at the party drinks the Lazarus Water. As soon as they drink it they all start reacting negatively to it.
Outside the mansion Catwoman has made it to the entrance of the house much to Raina’s displeasure. Knowing she is being watched by the cameras Catwoman tells Raina she is there to finish things. End of issue.
The Good: Catwoman #20 does exactly what it needed to in order to maximize the excitement going into Joelle Jones final issue. Everything seems to be against Selina Kyle as Raina Creel plans have come to forwishen. Having all the odds against her made for a compelling narrative to be built around if Selina can step up as Catwoman to save the day.
Right away Jones uses all the momentum she has created for Raina Creel’s character to have her go full on supervillain. There is no ounce of remorse in everything that Raina does. Whether it’s having her son, Adam Creel, join all the other caged zombies or talk down to her crew, Raina shows that she only cares about herself. Raina’s selfishness as the sense of power consumes all she is makes her a villain that stands out.
There is absolutely no questioning Raina’s position as an evil villain. Positioning Raina in this way gives greater meaning to how she is using the Lazarus Water to control not only a city but the world. It is a very old school villain route that works because at the end of the day it is a simple take over the world plan. In doing so Jones creates a terrifying aura around Raina that matches her appearance.
Adding in how Raina has created a situation where even when her zombie son, Adam Creel, turns against her that she can still manipulate the situation worked extremely well. It’s little touches like this that shows how Raina was prepared for almost everything. This made how she controls the chaos she has created a more compelling thing to see play out.
All of this works to give Selina Kyle a strong character arc within Catwoman #20. We’ve see how no matter how hard she has tried Selina has been a few steps behind Raina. Seeing her pushed so far made it understandable that Selina would break down after all she has seen. There is no one left for her to turn to. Which made the moment this hit her while trying to get her sister to safety a powerful character moment. Its moments such as this that make a character like Selina relatable to the reader even in a fantastical setting.
Breaking down like this was exactly what Selina needed. She has been trying to play the tough superhero this entire time that she wasn’t being honest with herself. Having this moment of honesty with Maggie by her side made the confidence that she felt when she saw her old costume a bigger moment. It added to how the costume that she was wearing before getting to Villa Hermosa signifies more than it just being her modern costume. This costume is a symbol of how far Selina has evolved as Catwoman.
Maggie reacting positively to her sister returning to form made all of this an even better character arc. We’ve seen how Maggie has been in this unresponsive state for such a long time that it had become normal. Seeing Maggie slowly move as she started petting a cat and smiling when her sister returned to her superhero form was great to see. It all spoke to how well Jones has developed Maggie’s character to make this meaningful character moment that hasn’t talked.
Fernando Blanco also did a very good job taking the adapting the style Jones created when she handled the artwork for Catwoman and mixing it with his own style. There were a lot of elements of the grounded look Jones created. At the same time Blanco still kept what makes his artwork different is still there. The contrast between how gritty all the scenes at the Creel Mansion are drawn to the cleaner look to Selina and Maggie Kyle’s scenes are a good example of this. Having these tone shifts between setting made them all compliment the overall story in Catwoman #20.
The Bad: For as much as Joelle Jones gets right in building towards the end of her run the ending of Catwoman #20 does not hit as it intended. The biggest reason for this is that Raina Creel freaking out about Catwoman’s presence did match how the villain was built up at that point. Raina should not have freaked out in the way she did. It almost looked like just being present ruins Raina’s plans.
It would have been more understandable if Raina reacted in a way that she saw this as an opportunity to put an end to Catwoman. Everything up to now has gone her way that she should actually be happy to see Catwoman walk right into her home. The disconnect between where Raina started and ended Catwoman #20 was just an odd note to end on.
Overall: Catwoman #20 does about everything right to build excitement for the conclusion of Joelle Jones run on this series. Jones has crafted a compelling narrative around this conflict between Catwoman and Raina Creel. Hopefully Jones can end her Catwoman run on high note in the next issue.
To comment on this article and other Comic Book Revolution content visit our Facebook page, Twitter feed and Instagram. You can also catch up with all of Kevin’s thoughts about comics, anime, TV shows, movies and more over on Twitter.