Batman: One Bad Day: Catwoman #1 review

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I haven’t been particularly interested in most of the One Bad Day one-shots. Creating a Killing Joke kind of comic for a few of the other rogues sounds like an uninspired concept to me. I also haven’t really enjoyed some of the previous one-shots in this series; it’s been a little underwhelming, for the most part. But I like Catwoman, and I’ve enjoyed Wilson’s Invisible Kingdom comic over at Dark Horse. So let’s have a look and see if this one’s any good, shall we?

I have mixed feelings on this comic. The first half is pretty fun, even though it really is just a pretty standard heist scenario like a lot of other Catwoman stories. There’s good energy, here, though. It’s fun to see how exactly Selina sneaks into an auction house, using infiltration techniques, disguises, martial arts, acting and sleight of hand. It had me thinking that the entire comic was going to be about this heist and how she pulls it off, but as it’s gaining momentum, it somewhat abruptly ends and the second half of the book starts. The second half, however, is not quite as interesting for me.

The main problem that I have with the second half is that the main villain is not well-defined at all. Of course it’s okay to have a villain remain shrouded in mystery every once in a while, but after finishing this comic I couldn’t tell you what makes this villain interesting or why anyone should care. Moreover, there’s a subplot in which Selina tries to resolve conflict between her sister and herself, and while Wilson attempts to link this subplot to the main plot, it’s just not fleshed out enough to make me invested in any of this.

 

Batman also appears, because what would a One Bad Day story (or the publisher, for that matter) be without him? I do like that Bruce is written as a pretty chill guy, who genuinely cares about Selina and wants to help her while still trying to give her the space she needs. But when they first meet on a rooftop, their romantic interaction comes off as a little forced to me, like editorial demanded that this scene should be included. It interrupts the main story, and it’s too on-the-nose in how it hammers home that Batman and Catwoman are extremely attracted to each other and can barely resist each other’s touch. That said, another scene later in the book has a far more realistic and enjoyable interaction between them. However, all things considered, I don’t think this comic needed to have Batman in it. This could easily have been a solo outing for Catwoman, and it probably would have been a better story if it was.

The quality of the writing itself is fine, although the narration runs on a bit long at times. The narration boxes are concise enough but it takes Wilson a while to get to the point. There are also a few questionable moments in terms of character work throughout. I’m thinking of one in particular, although I can’t say for sure if the script dictated this or if the artist decided to render it like this:

There is a scene where Selina meets the villain for the first time. The villain talks about the jewel that Selina intends to steal, and Selina is reminded of her troubled past, and she starts to shed tears in that moment. This type of body language, facial expression and her tears create a rather melodramatic sequence that just doesn’t fit her character, because I don’t think that these things should affect her like that when she’s focused on the job. And even if the creative team deems it absolutely necessary to have her show sadness, I think a more subtle approach where we see her trying to hide her emotions would have been far more effective.

Speaking of McKelvie’s art, it’s clean and the coloring is very easy on the eye. There are moments where the sequential art is pretty well executed, too. Selina looks great; she’s attractive and fit and moves with grace and ferocity at the same time. For the most part, I’m enjoying the artwork, but it’s the little things that bug me. For example, the backgrounds are often very bland and uninteresting to look at, which gives more than a few of the locations and scenes in the book a hollow atmosphere. Then there’s a panel where some of the smaller/minor characters in the background don’t have faces; I always hate it when artists do this, it just looks lazy to me. The art is not bad, but the style makes it look unrefined to me.

Recommended if…

  • Selina Kyle is your favorite Gotham character.
  • Heists and Catwoman is a dangerous combination.
  • You’re looking for an OBD one-shot that’s not as dark as some of the previous ones have been.

Overall: Not a bad comic, but it’s not a must-read, either. The first half is fun, but the second half doesn’t have the same energy and is significantly less interesting to me. The story has a weak, unconvincing villain and the subplot is not fleshed out enough, but I’m glad that it doesn’t delve too deep into flashback territory and it stays focused on Catwoman as the main protagonist. I don’t recommend this comic to anyone but Catwoman completionists or those who are determined to collect every single One Bad Day special. Everyone else can safely skip this one in favor of more fulfilling books on stands this week. This is an expensive book, after all.

Score: 5.5/10

Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.


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