Catwoman: Election Night #1

by Nick Liu on November 02, 2016

Variant cover for Catwoman: Election Night #1
Catwoman: Election Night #1
Written by:
Meredith Finch and Mark Russell
Art by: Ben Caldwell, Shane Davis and Igor Vitorino

It’s been almost six months since DC Rebirth exploded onto the scene, so where the heck is our Catwoman ongoing?  Other than a supporting role in the current Batman arc, and with no discernable plans for the character in the future, it’s up to Meredith Finch’s Catwoman: Election Night to catch us up on what exactly has been going on with Selina Kyle since we’ve last seen her. 
Does this one-shot succeed in that regard? Well, not quite. 

Election Night is one of the strangest comics I’ve ever read, and not in a Shade, The Changing Girl kind of way, where the weirdness is used to drive the storyline.  Catwoman: Election Night is strange because of the jarring mashup between everyone’s favorite catsuit-clad femme fatale and a big dollop of socially liberal political satire.

To cut to the chase, if you’re looking for a good Catwoman story I’d like to direct you to the “I Am Suicide” arc currently going on in Tom King’s Batman, where things seem to be heating up (explosively, at times) for our animal themed heroes.  Election Night, unfortunately, focuses on another boring origin retcon for the titular cat-tagonist.  Finch’s plot in this issue feels flat, one-dimensional, and perhaps even a little rushed.  The final few pages of Finch’s work is almost completely expositional, falling into the classic trap of “tell, not show” that has plagued bad comics since the beginning of time.  Just like the plot, Finch never really gets Selina’s voice right, either.  With few exceptions, every character feels the same: blocky, detached, and unemotional.  Those expecting the smart, sultry Catwoman that we’ve been spoiled on for the past couple of years are going to be disappointed.

Even with the lethargic plot and weak character work, not all is doom and gloom.  The aptly titled Election Night shoves us right in the middle of Gotham City’s mayoral election.  And none other than Donald Trump is running for the seat!  Okay, it’s not actually Trump, but with the way Finch characterizes Oswald Cobblepot - the Penguin - it might as well be.  I don’t want to give away too much, but suffice it to say that this section had me laughing uproariously.  As a satirical piece, Catwoman: Election Night gives us one of the funniest scenes in a comic in a long time.

Speaking of satire, the last twelve pages of this one shot brings back everyone’s favorite teenage President, Beth Ross in her own brand new side story!  Are you sad that Prez was canceled just six issues in?  Well, you’ll be happy to know that Mark Russell and Ben Caldwell are back at the helm again for these last twelve pages to do what they do best.

“Trigger Warning” is a silly look at Prez’ future America, where the American people are beset by heavy-hitting social issues that are uprooting American ideals and values. Issues like… open carry demonstrations! “Vagina stuff”! And patriotic trigger words!  Skirting the thin line between wildly funny and over-the-top, Russell’s sharp wordsmithing and Caldwell’s cute, deformed art style reminds us why Prez was one of the smartest and funniest comics last year.

All-in-all, Catwoman: Election Night isn’t exactly a bad comic, but what that means depends on what you’re looking for.  Are you looking for an excellent Catwoman story?  Finch’s Catwoman never really feels like the cunning, sultry Selina Kyle that fans love.  Couple the poor character development with a plot heavy on exposition and light on action, and you have the formula for an unfortunately mediocre story.  Are you looking for some hard-hitting, raucously funny liberal satire?  Then the Penguin’s political depiction in this issue is so apropos that it’s sure to turn heads and get some laughs.  And if you’re here for Mark Russell’s Prez sendoff, then you’re in for a big (yuuge!) treat.

Our Score:


A Look Inside