Do As The “Roman” Does
Catwoman: When In Rome is sort of a side chapter that takes place during Batman: Dark Victory. It follows Catwoman in her quest to confirm whether The Roman is her father or not. The book is by my favourite writing team Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale and it’s set within my favourite universe. However, this is a relatively short book that may or may not need it’s place within canon.
Am I going to kiss Loeb and Sales arse like I have on the last couple of reviews?
Do I even like Catwoman?
Is there more to life than reading Batman Comics?
Find out in my review
“Lets Play A Different Game…It’s Called I Win…You Lose…Big Time”
I’ll start with the good, this is the quintessential Catwoman story, she has attitude, sexiness and you get the feeling that she’s intelligent and driven in the same way that Batman is. It’s no surprise that this book is often listed amongst her best as it does a great way of showcasing her independence.
She doesn’t need a man to push her, she’s not a damzel in distress, she’s a keen detective and combatant that, if she had the budget, could rival Batman easily. It’s no surprise these two have been matched together so many times throughout both character’s rich history. They are truly perfect for each other, both have had hard childhoods, know what they want, and will do anything to get it.
This isn’t your Halle Berry Catwoman (you fucked up Storm as well Halle…We will NEVER forget that toad line you hear!!!?? NEVER). Loeb creates a great, grounded character that feels like a true evolution of Catwoman from Year One.
“What Was That For?” “For Making Me Think You Were A Decent Guy”
The book centres around three characters, Catwoman, our heroine, Blonde, an italian hitman, and The Riddler, a fucking idiot.
They travel through Rome meeting mobsters, getting framed for murder, being shot at, probably drinking absynthe till 3 in the morning, sleeping with someone called Terry and getting their name tattooed on them, shot at, frozen. You know, the usual.
Loeb truly gets you invested into the characters, this is like a mini Suicide Squad, but without Will Smith shouting Will Smithisms like “I GODDA GET ME ONE OF THESE” a long the way.
With the book being centred on villains and even worse villains it does become harder to like the characters as they don’t seem to really be noble and/or doing things for the right reason. I get that Catwoman just wants to find her father but I’m also questioning whether she really deserves to after her long treacherous past.
Still, like I said, she is likeable. It’s just everyone else who isn’t and not in a so bad it’s good kind of way.
Blonde? More Like Bland
One of my biggest problems with this book is Blonde, or should I say, Vanilla (doesn’t really work). He is sort of a side character/love interest throughout the pages. However, I just find him kind of dull. Though we often wonder throughout who’s side he is on, he just lacks a kind of charsima that i’ve come to expect from the villains.
This isn’t just because he wear a suit all the time either. We know Loeb can pull off mobster, this one just feels bland (second time i’ve used that pun…these reviews are getting less and less creative).
The real villain of the piece comes from The Riddler, and when we learn his true motives it’s good to see that he has a reason to be there. As I was kinda like “the biggest riddle is why is he here….” yeah that joke isn’t that good when it’s written down. He truly is the arch nemesis to Catwoman, but once again, like in Long Halloween, he is a bit of a bumbling idiot so it’s hard to feel like Catwoman was ever in any true danger in his company.
END OF SPOILERS
Super Villain Signatures
The great thing about this book is the allusion to other super villains, throughout the 6 issue arc we see The Joker’s poison used, Mr. Freeze’s freeze gun and fear toxin. All to great dramatic effect and it gives the feeling that this story is part of a larger narrative.
It’s great to see someone other than Batman getting attacked through these means as it gives variation on how Catwoman deals with these situations when she doesn’t have all the fancy gadgetry that the caped crusader does.
Roaming In Rome
Towards the end of the book, Catwoman tracks down whom she believes to be her mother, Louisa, when she denies that Selina is her daughter it is a bit of a crushing blow. The biggest pitfall in this book to me is that it feels like a bit of time wasted by the end of it. We never really get the feeling that there was any true resolution. It’s a shame as the answer is obvious as to whether Catwoman is The Roman’s daughter or not. However to not have the character herself finds out leaves this book feeling hollow towards it’s closing chapters.
Catwoman When In Rome is a tough one to review. It kinda feels like the side characters get to go on Coach Trip or they’ve won a Jet Set Holiday and get to go to Rome for a couple of weeks. To me there is no real meat to the story, the villains aren’t threatening, the ending is hollow and a lot of it is played for laughs. Then again I’m not really that obsessed with Catwoman, out of Bruce’s Femme Fatales I find Talia the most interesting. However, there is a lot to like here if you are a Selina Kyle fan. The art by Sale, though never reaching the heights of long halloween, is still fun and helps to keep the story brisk and enjoyable.
This is a completely skippable chapter that doesn’t really add as a main course but is great side dish to what is already a brilliant meal. I wish there had of been more meat to it as it would’ve given me more food for thought (off on a food pun tangent) but what is here is delicious enough to leave a sweet taste in your mouth (Ha! worked better than I thought! Who says I can’t pun).
So overall, pick it up if you’re a Catwoman fan or you’re into the long halloween/dark victory run and want more but skip it if you just want to carry on with the main stories, you won’t miss much.
If you’ve been following my reviews then you know that i’m ranking the books as I read them in what all the fans of me lovingly call ‘Rank As I Read’ or ‘Rank As You Read’…I don’t know, I can’t remember, you do though as you’re a proper fan.
So here is the leaderboard so far.