Catwoman #53

"The Replacements Part One."
Story by Will Pfeifer, art by David Lopez and Alvaro Lopez.

First off: this book has a gorgeous cover. (Click on the image to see a larger version.) Beautifully drawn and effectively, unshowily Photoshopped; sexy without being exploitative; tense without being obvious; relevant without being literal -- after that, the contents could only be a letdown.

No surprise there. I got the general premise of the story -- Selina's having a baby; a teenage girl is replacing her as Catwoman -- but the specifics, which seem to hinge on the complex relationships between a bunch of established players, totally eluded me. (Note to Will Pfeifer: Next time you're writing an issue that's specifically aimed at new readers, start something fresh or throw in a little more exposition.) The art is leaden and stilted, with lots of pointlessly jerky perspectives. And there's a weird computer-lettering mishap -- the words that are emphasized in the captions are underlined instead of boldfaced. (It's a small peculiarity of comics lettering that oddly chosen words are often emphasized, but when this emphasis consists of gentle bolding it's easy to ignore; when it consists of more obtrusive underlining, you wind up with sentences like, "They don't waste any time these days. Must need the bed.") Minor redemption is provided by a visit from an uncharacteristically sweet Batman, who brings a giant teddy bear and tells Selina he'll pay for the baby's college tuition. Awww!