The last time Catwoman had an annual, it was during a rather dark time. However, it’s a new day and age for Catwoman and thusly, the prospect of a Catwoman annual doesn’t have me running for the hills.
Is it good?
Catwoman Annual #2 (DC Comics)
Eiko Hasigawa is the heir to the biggest Yakuza gang in all of Gotham and all signs pointed towards her one day taking over the family business. That all changed when she encountered Catwoman, who interrupted one of her family’s jobs one fateful night. Since then, she has become obsessed with Catwoman: what she does, why she does it, and who she is.
See that statement about playing Go? That’ll be a recurring theme in all of this.
Instead of focusing on Selina Kyle, this annual focuses directly on Eiko, our new current Catwoman, and what makes her tick. We get a really good understanding of Eiko, how she views herself and what her life is like initially. Then we see how her desire to find Catwoman conflicts with her family life and starts shaping her into a new woman with new priorities. It’s rather interesting stuff and gives this side character a lot of dimension. The only issue I have with this tale is that it feels a tiny bit unclear about why she donned the Catwoman outfit and took on the identity at points. Revenge against her father and her family, or something else? That’s not exactly clear.
The writing by Genevieve Valentine is pretty solid. The pacing on the book is slow going and the comic does feel long, notwithstanding the fact it has more pages/is annual sized. That’s probably because of the fact that the narration is very repetitive in the book and really likes to beat into the audience’s noggins the whole metaphor and idea around the game of Go and Eiko discussing her life. It gets rather tiring and annoying after a while after hearing the same lines and thoughts over and over again, even if they work fine the first time. While the narration can be tiring, the dialogue and character interactions are well done. You can really get wrapped up in what the characters are talking about and how they act around each, with my personal favorite scene being where Eiko is confronted by Batman when she is wearing the Catwoman costume. The ending is mixed to me, since it seems like the story kind of peters out at the end instead of wrapping up naturally. Could have been a lot stronger finish, but the writing overall is fine.
The artwork for the issue is divided up by Pat Ollife and John McCrea and their styles don’t really mix all that well. Ollife’s work is a bit more cartoonish and has cleaner lines while McCrea’s has a grittier and more noir look to it. Frankly, McCrea’s style would be a better match for this annual since it would match Garry Brown’s style on the main book better. However, neither one of them is bad and they do a decent job bringing the comic to life — they just don’t work mesh. Their characters look fine, the action and layouts are decent, and both artists have the same colorist, so the book keeps a consistent tone overall.
Is It Good?
Catwoman Annual #2 is a solid character focused story, really diving into the life of/bringing the new Catwoman to life. It has some issues with the narration but the writing and story read very well overall. If you have been liking the new Catwoman run so far, be sure to check this comic out as well.