Catwoman: Crime Pays

By Will Pfeiffer, David Lopez & Alvaro Lopez (DC Comics)
ISBN: 978-1-84576-972-7

Even the most resonant characters handled by the very best creators have bad patches, especially when tumbled into the destabilising chaos of company crossover events and so much more so when said creators are labouring under the cosh of knowing that the title they’re working on has already been cancelled.

So it is with this compilation of Catwoman (collecting issues #73-77 of her done-and-dusted monthly comic) as the urban defender of the downtrodden, freshly returned from a debilitating role in the Wonder Woman: Amazons Attack! storyline, having given up her daughter and abandoned her old secret identity, only narrowly escapes being blown up in her own apartment mere moments after discovering that somebody has stolen every stick and stitch she possessed…

Determined to discover who took the last remnants of her life, Selina Kyle has to steal one of her old costumes and gear from a demented collector before she goes after The Thief, only to be shanghaied by the Suicide Squad: a clandestine government penal battalion of super-villains, working black ops in return for eventual pardons… She awakens on another planet: a hellworld used as Devil’s Island of Space, where the government has been secretly dumping Earth’s villains without due process… and with no way back.

A world chock-full of metahuman psychopaths, thugs and megalomaniacs is bad enough, but when the likes of Luthor, the Joker, Vandal Savage and Gorilla Grodd start competing for the right to lead it’s going to get a little fraught. How long can Selina last before somebody remembers that she’s been fighting for the other side? And then she falls into a booby-trapped alien device that seems to send her somewhere even weirder and more dangerous…

For a fuller understanding of this tale you will have to read the collected miniseries Salvation Run, and yet again this book ends on a cliffhanger but regardless of those niggles this is still a good solid read and the end is finally in sight, with only one more book to come.

The great shame is that even though creators Pfeifer, Lopez and Lopez knew they were on clean-up detail, and compelled to add material not necessarily of their choosing, they still pulled out all the stops to make this a superbly engaging and compelling experience, and such artistic integrity shouldn’t go unnoticed or un-remarked.

Enjoyable and thrilling for established fans, this isn’t the book to start with if you’re a new reader. Those lucky latecomers should aspire to buy the complete series and indulge in the luxury of reading the lot all at one sitting…

© 2008 DC Comics. All Rights Reserved.