BATMAN AND ROBIN CATWOMAN #22
Author: Bobby Barrett
July 19, 2013

SYNOPSIS: Bruce Wayne continues to grind through his grief over the death of Damian—but is Catwoman here to help Batman or take advantage of his vulnerable state? - DCCOMICS.COM

The BATMAN AND ROBIN series surely has the right to mourn the death of one of its title characters longer than the other Bat-books have. However, this rage-fueled mourning period and the bleak mood that accompanies it have decreased this series' appeal in recent months. Therefore, I am happy to announce that this week's BATMAN AND CATWOMAN issue was easily this book's most enjoyable read in months.

Like last month's Batgirl-featured story, we are introduced to the Feline Fatale right away in this issue, and Pete Tomasi proves that he can write Selina Kyle purr-fectly! Batman and Catwoman haven't had much interaction on this side of the New 52, and this issue remedies that in a big way. Like he did with Batgirl last month, Tomasi cleverly weaves the events this guest character has been involved with outside this book (in Catwoman's case, JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA) into this story's narrative, but never to the point where the reader feels lost if they haven't read those comics. Selina, eying a big score for herself, answers a distress call put out by her new teammates and decides that Batman is the best option to call on for assistance.

Bruce Wayne, meanwhile, is having some of the most revealing character moments he's had in this title since the epic (now classic) issue #18, as he's come to find Carrie Kelley has taken employment at Wayne Manor, per Alfred's request. Through the interactions that follow, we get to know more about Carrie's relationship with Damian Wayne, as well as how far Bruce is willing to go to keep the truth about Damian's fate a secret. The revelations are heartbreaking, but even more intriguing.


BATMAN AND ROBIN #22 Cover

Bruce then responds to Catwoman's call for help, and the pair wind up on a rescue mission that's filled with superbly-paced action and some solid dialogue. THE DARK KNIGHT RISES came to my mind more than once when looking at the way these two interacted--from the way they double-team to take down thugs, to a particular exchange that can't do anything BUT bring that "This isn't a car" line to mind. For all the characters that have gotten their name on the marquee after BATMAN AND… since Robin's demise, this is the first that truly comes off as a team-up, rather than Batman just being verbally/physically abusive to his allies. This is the kind of story these title-changes promise to readers, and I'm thrilled that this issue delivered on that.

If Patrick Gleason hasn't been waiting his whole life to draw Catwoman, he sure fooled me! The penciler manages to capture everything this burglar should be. Alluring, but not oversexed, every panel chooses the perfect angle and pose for this heroine to shine, whether it's sneaking stealthily into a highly protected room, or brutally-yet-gracefully busting heads. The details are uncanny, I haven't seen Gleason work this carefully since the aforementioned issue #18 – from head to toe, everything just works.

Regular series inker Mick Gray and colorist John Kalisz are there to bring this A-game home, their experience finalizing Gleason's art is paying off in a big way. Focusing on shadow when appropriate, and bright, popping colors when they want to really grab you. This issue stands among the art team’s strongest yet.

This story arc has taken a much-needed turn for the better, and we can only hope that next week's

NIGHTWING conclusion will top it all off on a high note. Ending this arc with the original sidekick seems most appropriate. Oh, and thinking about the future, this series' next co-headliner makes another cameo in this issue! Hopefully a major Bat-rogue is about to make a much needed comics comeback! - Bobby Barrett

GRADE: A-

Bobby Barrett is a lifelong Batman enthusiast living in Fresno, California, with his wife and several cats.
He enjoys reading, writing, acting, and playing very loud rock music.


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