Writer: Justin Gray
Artist: Ron Randall
Colors: Gabe Eltaeb
I’ve never been a big Catwoman fan. The concept has always been a bit cliche for me. I will admit that I did have a certain affection for the rendition in Batman Eternal. But still not a huge fan. In fact, I’ve never had a huge yen for any of Batman’s enemies, not the way that some comic book readers glom on to one as their absolute favorite. This issue my make me change my mind.
As with any issue of Convergence or one of its tie-ins, it is difficult for me to put my finger on exactly which earth-bubble this is taking place in, or which earth-bubble the armored Batman is from. This is one of the Metropolis’, and, for maybe the first time in the Convergence arc, I’ll finally admit that maybe it does not matter. The story removes any of that concern for me. The point is that a Batman has been sent to this bubble to defeat this Metropolis’ champion in a winner-takes-all fight to the death for the fate of their two cities.
Justin Gray does a fantastic job of playing with the notion of tension-but not tension between Catwoman and Batman. Meaning that there is a banter and a connection between them, even though these two particular versions do not really know each other. This Catwoman is much more on the hero end of the anti-hero spectrum. There is some wonderful humility in this Catwoman, admitting at one point that she has never been good enough to beat Batman, but yet she wades in toe-to-toe with him regardless. Because it is what her city needs. When the two switch to become allies, the tag-team action between them is as sharp as it has ever been.
Ron Randall’s art is not too far outside the box of DC’s house-style, but it compliments the story well. And I’ll give another nod to this artist as I did another this week in that he does the hand-to-hand combat scenes very well. There is a warm comforting golden-age of comics feel to the art, with Catwoman in her 90s costume. The combat here, being that the combatants are fighting under the fear of execution for the loser, is particularly brutal, and Randall rings this out in every panel that he has at his disposal.
There is a down-check here for an Alfred program that is clearly a rip of the MCU’ Jarvis. But the emotional twist in the book’s climax erases this as well as any other perception of story missteps. This is just a great example of what DC can do in a 2-part story unencumbered by the riggings of rigid continuity and heavy-handed editorial oversight. I still like my world’s where everything is connected, but there is certainly room for both when they are done well in either vein. In this case, Gray, Randall, and Eltaeb nail it. Well done, gentlemen, and thank you.