Catwoman #14

by Alex J. on November 23, 2012

The Death of the Family series has so far shown great promise.  Every issue dealing with the Joker and his plot to destroy the entire Bat Family has proven to be a must-read thriller that leaves you on the edge of your seat as you anticipate the mad clown’s next move.  Every comic, that is, except for Catwoman #14.


When we last left the feline femme fatale, she was embroiled in an epic Chess game which proved to hold lives on the line.  Her employer ended up being the Joker who considers her a pawn in a larger match between himself and Batman.  The previous issue proved to be an event that left the reader wanting more.  What is the Joker’s ultimate plan with Selina Kyle?  How did he obtain so much information about her past?  What is her role in the epic match between the Harlequin of Crime and the Dark Knight?


Unfortunately, this excitement fizzled at the end of Catwoman #14.  The issue is devoted entirely to the Joker overplaying the “How does one skin a cat?” joke to the point where it stops being funny.  Another problem is the form of abuse that he visits on Catwoman.  In the previous issue, we were treated to a mental game.  Figures of Selina’s past came to her in the form of old toys that once belonged to a best friend that she had at one point failed.  We were left with the hope that these psychological attacks would continue, and that it would be in this form that Catwoman would be tortured.


Instead, the Joker drops this form of attack for a blunter instrument.  We are treated with Catwoman being physically assaulted and forced to strip and try on a different costume all for the amusement of a psychopath.  This kind of assault with sexual overtones worked in the Batgirl comics because of Barbara’s past with the Joker, but that isn’t the case here.


With Batgirl, this kind of physical pain was really an attempt to bring out her mental trauma and fear of the Joker to the forefront.  She was afraid of this man who had once left her crippled and naked on the floor as her own father was forced to watch in horror.  However, because this kind of relationship does not really exist between the Joker and Catwoman, it comes off as tasteless and redundant when he does something similar to Selina.


This could all be overlooked if this issue promised to have a greater effect on the rest of the Death of the Family saga, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.  Instead, the entire comic seems to be an excuse for why Catwoman will not be appearing throughout the rest of the story arc.  The issue ends with both characters just walking away from each other after Catwoman declares that she will not get involved with the fight between Batman and Joker.


Of course, this leaves the reader questioning why these two issues were at all relevant.  If these issues were only a way to show us that Catwoman would not be involved with the rest of the saga, then could this not have been done with a page or two in one of the other comics?  Was it necessary for us to get these issues in order to understand the ultimate struggle between Batman and Joker?  The answer to the last question seems to be “No.”


While it is nice to be a proud owner of the entirety of this series, this issue only shows us that the Catwoman comics aren’t a necessity.  From what we can see thus far, the end result may be that one will not have to read either Catwoman #13 nor #14 and still be able to understand the rest of the story arc.  Hopefully this will change as Death of the Family continues, but so far there doesn’t seem to be much hope for it.

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stephengervais's picture

Great review. Welcome to the CTG team. So far from what I've been reading I'm glad I stayed away from all the tie-ins to the Death of the Family story arc. I'm just sticking with my regular titles and not falling into the tie-in trap.