Ann Nocenti is taking risks on her current storyline

This month’s issue of Catwoman was packed with action as she and her underground crew battle against the Penguin’s forces in the Bad Lands section of Gotham City.

This issue consists of mostly action, as Catwoman and her allies battle the Penguin’s high priced weaponry including battle choppers and rocket launchers.

Although a battle in Gotham of this magnitude begs the question of where the Bat family or the National Guard is, I am happy to let those questions go because of the risks writer Ann Nocenti is taking on this title. The direction that this series is taking is very different than any other of Batman related series are taking.

While the absence of Batman, his allies, and the National Guard are left unexplained, the absence of the Gotham Police Department is explained in a scene between Harvey Bullock and Mayor Hady. The Mayor does not want any intervention until the warfare has calmed down. Reasons for this include the poverty of the area and danger involved with intervening in the violence.

Catwoman is not intimidated by her heavily armed adversaries. She and her allies use bold and creative techniques to take on the high-tech war machinery.

The element of this storyline that has taken me by surprise the most is Nocenti’s characterization of the Penguin. In this storyline, the Penguin is a much more malicious villain than I have seen him in the past. I am used to him being heavily involved in organized crime, and always looking to make money, but I have seldom seen him be as violent and ruthless as he has been in this storyline. He has gone from being a racketeer to a warlord.

The artist is Rafael Sandoval. Who did a really good job in this issue. There are many action sequences, some involving helicopters and rocket launchers. These types of scenes are not easy to interpret and he did a good job conveying what was happening to the reader.

Although not every aspect of this issue is executed perfectly, I enjoyed it nonetheless. I really appreciate when writers take risks and try to tell a different type of story with these classic characters. Therefore, I have to commend Nocenti for the guts she has to tell a story like this one. This is a solid story-line. Gotham is always built up as a violent city, and it is nice that the plot reflects that notion.

Although I have seen negative reaction to this issue, I am going to have to disagree, and say that this was a good issue.