Our look at “early years” Batman titles ends with a more recent Loeb and Sales piece that actually stars Catwoman.
Title: Catwoman: When in Rome
Writing: Jeph Loeb.
Art: Tim Sales, Dave Stewart
Catwoman disappeared mysteriously during Dark Victory. Loeb and Sale finally decided to explain why.
This story features some of Sale’s best artwork. The usual dark streets and rooftops appear, stylized but clearly based on Rome. Catwoman even gets to burglarize the Vatican.
This resolutions to the story’s central mysteries disappointed me somewhat. The explanation for the attacks on Catwoman is predictable, and we never really learn the truth about Selina Kyle’s ancestry—only that it no longer really matters to her. That discovery has potential to be poignant, but in the end, it felt equally like a cheat.
Continuity ConundrumInformation in this story leaves little room for Catwoman’s sister, who has been retconned in and out of existence over the past twenty years. I believe she currently exists.
Artwork: 6/6 See “High Points.” The backgrounds especially, make this worthwhile.The number of semi-nude portraits of Selina Kyle may seem like excess fanboy service.
Story: 4/6 Lighter than Loeb and Sale’s early Bat-work, this is an adventurous romp more than a dark mystery. They’ve also told a less crowded, confused tale. I felt that Dark Victory, in particular, suffered from the clutter.
Characterization: 4/6. I suppose the younger Catwoman should be allowed to make mistakes, as does the early Batman. Some of these feel too much like writer’s fiat. However, the story features an amusing take on Selina Kyle, which will appeal to fans of the character.
Emotional Response: 4/6.
Overall: 4/6. As with many comics, this entertains, but would not necessarily support multiple readings.
In total, Catwoman: When in Rome receive a score of 30/42.