Things have been picking up for Selina Kyle as she has set up shop in Villa Hermosa. Last we saw her she was double crossed by Penguin after completing a dangerous job. Now before we get to what Joelle Jones has planned next for Selina Kyle we are taking a short break as Ram V steps in to write a Catwoman story. I am not familiar at all with Ram V’s past comic book work. But given the great momentum Jones has built for Catwoman I hope that Ram V can keep that going with this side story. Will that happen? Let’s find out with Catwoman #9.
Writer: Ram V
Artist: John Timms
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Inside a casino Selina Kyle participates in a high stakes card game with Xin Liu, who is known as “The Broker.”
One week earlier the police respond to a break-in at the GL Jewelry shop.
Nearby Carlos tells Selina the the shop got cleaned out and the items were all probably taken to The Broker in Chinatown. Carlos mentions that no cop ever goes near The Broker’s operation.
Selina asks Carlos how he is holding up. Carlos reveals that an expensive bracelet he had was stolen that he was going to give to Amar. Selina tells Carlos to hang in there as she has a feeling things will work out.
Selina then calls Swifty to ask him to visit Villa Hermosa. Selina tells Swifty to get specific tools since they are going after The Broker.
She then calls James to act as her shill.
Selina then bumps in to Detective Dean Hadley, who knows all about Selina and that she is likely to after the people who robbed the jewelry store. Detective Hadley tells Selina not to get in his way on this case because she doesn’t want to be on his bad side.
After this meeting Selina then gets back on the phone with James and asks him to look into Detective Hadley.
Back in the present Selina wins the card game against The Broker. James, who is in disguised and was playing at the same table, gets pissed off and shoots Selina.
Outside the casino Detective Hadley hears the gunshot and rush inside.
The Broker orders his men to clean this mess up before the cops arrive. His men quickly take Selina’s body out of the room.
Detective Hadley barges in and immediately starts questioning The Broker, who plays dumb. He spots some blood on the floor leading to another room. He goes in the room and notices a bloody dress on the floor and a ventilation shaft open.
As Detective Hadley rushes off The Broker orders his men to secure his safe.
Elsewhere Selina has changed into her Catwoman disguise. She makes it to The Broker’s safe, which is being well guarded. Catwoman quickly defeats all the guards in under ten seconds. She then uses a special device in order to open the safe.
Just as Catwoman opens the safe Detective Hadley confronts her. Detective Hadley reminds Catwoman of his warning from earlier. Catwoman responds by asking Detective Hadley if he is good at landing on his feet.
Before he can answer Catwoman attaches a grapple hook to Detective Hadley and jumps out a nearby window. Detective Hadley is unable to keep his balance from the rope pulling him and falls out the window with Catwoman. Catwoman catches Detective Hadley and leaves him hanging on the edge.
Eventually Detective Hadley makes his way back up to find The Broker and his men all tied up. He then finds several boxes on the floor that all hold the stolen items from the jewelry store. There is a note with Carlos’ bracelet that says “Detective Hadley, the wallet is all yours. MEOW!”
One week later Selina watches Carlos give Amar the bracelet he bought.
Detective Hadley confronts Selina and asks her if he help them in this case because of the stolen bracelet. Selina states that they are all chasing things they can’t have and that if a kid like Carlos can’t catch a break what hope is there for them.
Detective Hadley then asks Selina how she was able to succeed on the job.
Flashing back to the day before the job Selina goes over her plan with James and Swifty. As Selina goes over she would switch Detective Hadley’s walky-talky so that when he called for backup Swifty and his men would respond instead. From there Swifty would get all the stuff from the safe and leave it for the actual cops to find while James captured The Broker.
In the present Selina states that there is no fun in revealing her secrets to Detective Hadley. Detective Hadley asks why that is. Selina jokes that Detective Hadley doesn’t strike her as a guy with rhythm. End of issue.
The Good: Catwoman #9 works extremely well as a standalone story. The story itself is exactly the type of thing that readers expect Selina Kyle to get involved with. Focusing on telling a strong heist story made up for how Catwoman #9 never shook off the feeling that it was a filler issue.
Not taking any of the events that have taken place in this series thus far, the best aspect of Catwoman #9 is that it is an evergreen comic book. Ram V writing for this issue works to tell a story about who Selina Kyle is that could be read at any time. Keeping continuity to a minimum helped in that aspect as all you need to know is Selina lives in Villa Hermosa. Outside of that Catwoman #9 works as something you could come back and read again or be an introduction to Selina Kyle in the comic books.
Immediately what Ram V gets right about Selina is her extreme confidence in her abilities as a thief. He turned that confidence into telling a Ocean’s Eleven-style story with Catwoman acting as the Danny Ocean of this story. Everything that Catwoman did came across as just another job for her. This is a world she is completely comfortable in and knows exactly what needs to be done for a successful mission.
We see Catwoman carry a swagger that very few characters have. It is the type of swagger in which you can’t deny the type of charisma Selina has. It all works alongside the confidence that Selina has that her plan will work to perfection.
The great thing about this is that Ram V does not waste any time in showing how quickly and efficiently Selina works when something a job is right up her wheelhouse. There was no need to spend a lot of time scoping The Broker out. She knew exactly the type of person she was dealing with and what kind of people she needed to recruit to get the job done.
Keeping things simple to Selina only recruiting two guys made the entire pacing of Catwoman #9 much better. Ram V did not waste a bunch of time trying to put over what James and Swifty skills are. Since they were the only two people that Selina recruited you knew these guys were extremely skilled. By setting both these guys up in this way it allowed James and Swifty’s skills to be put on display during the job rather than in monologue filled scenes.
This also allowed Ram V to put a bigger spotlight on how Catwoman is someone that does not have a wasted motion. Everything that Selina does in and out of her Catwoman costume has a purpose. Whether it’s swiping Detective Dean Hadley’s or faking getting shot, there was a reason for everything that Selina did throughout Catwoman #9. That made seeing Catwoman take out several well armed gang members in less than ten seconds be something you expect from her. It was just another day on the job and all spoke to how confident Selina is as Catwoman.
This job being about Selina helping out Carlos and Linda’s pawn shop helped build out this part of Catwoman’s world. With Villa Hermosa still being a new setting for Selina this issue was able to establish the strong connection she now has with Carlos, Linda and other people she is interacting with in the city. At the same time, Ram V did not deviate from who Selina is as a thief always looking for the next big score. This was just something in which she was able to put all her skills as a thief and use it to help others in need.
The one-shot structure of Catwoman #9 also benefited the newly introduced Detective Dean Hadley. Ram V did just enough to get over what kind of cop Detective Hadley is. He was just in this issue enough to establish himself as someone that could be a good addition to Catwoman’s supporting cast. The back-and-forth he had with Selina showed that he could be the kind of ally Selina needs given all that is going on in Villa Hermosa.
John Timms provided Catwoman #9 with solid artwork. Given the Ocean’s Eleven tone of this story Timms was able to go all in on the fun of what was happening. That was best on display with how Timms drew the facial reactions on Selina’s face as her plan worked as she layed out. He also did a very job in showing how efficient Selina is as Catwoman as there is no wasted motion in what she does and how she fights.
The Bad: The one negative for Catwoman #9 is that it is a filler issue. Given that last we saw Catwoman she was surrounded by Penguin and his gang made this story feel oddly timed. This story would’ve been better if it did not come right after such a big cliffhanger for Joelle Jones’ ongoing run. It would have been much better if Ram V’s story in Catwoman #9 came right after Jones first story arc. Then there would not be this feeling that everything about Catwoman #9 was filler material to buy time for Jones and her team’s next big storyline. This is not a big deal given the quality of Catwoman #9 but something where you are left questioning the timing of the story.
Overall: Catwoman #9 is a well written one-shot story. Ram V’s story is works extremely well as an entry point for this series as everything about who Selina Kyle is on fully display throughout this issue. Keeping the story simple to a heist that Selina begins and ends successfully made everything that happened even more compelling. If you were looking for a place to start reading Selina Kyle’s solo adventures Catwoman #9 is a great place to start.
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