Catwoman #39 Review

Story Title: Three Piece Suit: Part Two of Three

Reviewer: Paul Sebert
Writer: Scott Morse
Pencils: Diego Olmos
Inks: Jimmy Palmiotti
Coloring: Laurie Kronenberg
Lettering: Clem Robbins
Editor: Nachier Castro
Publisher: DC Comics

So how do you follow up 24 issues of Ed Brubaker brilliance, and about 12 issues of Ed Brubaker brilliance marred by Paul Gulacy art? Well if you’re DC Comics you bring in Indy comics artist/writer Scott Morse as a trial run to see if he’s ready for a shot at the big time. Then you mar his work with Paul Gulacy art.

Ok, that’s not entirely true. This issue is drawn by Diego Olmos who draws in the same style as Gulacy, but actually does a better job than the seemingly unmotivated Gulacy. One easy way to tell Olmos’s art from Gulacy’s is that Olmos knows how to draw facial expressions.

Anyway Scott Morse’s storyline revolves around an evil insurance firm called *groan* “Three Piece Suit,” that specializes in covering victims of super-power related incidents. Conveniently enough they’ve hired their own super villain, not a major leaguer mind you, but a guy named “Wooden Nickel” a man who straddles the line between insane criminal mastermind and guy with just way too much time on his hands. See Wooden Nickel’s this smarter than average hillbilly who has actually replaced his arms with WOODEN SWISS ARMY KNIVE CYBORG ARMS! They can perform all kinds of neato-tricks. The can telescope out to reach great distances! They can open up to reveal all kinds of spiffy blades! They even make delicious julienne fries! Oh and don’t think a passing swarm of termites can save you. Wooden Nickel’s arms are made out of PETRIFIED WOOD! Wolverine’s adamantium claws have nothing on this guy.

Anyway a chance encounter has put Catwoman into the sites of Wooden Nickel, along with the nefarious Three Piece Suit (which is presumably even more nefarious than my car insurance provider.) This leads to a deadly game of cat and mouse, with both parties scrambling to find out more about each other. Thus ultimately boils down to a short, but entertaining fight scene.

Scott Morse’s concepts are fairly silly, but in the overly serious world of the current batch of Bat-books I actually kind of welcome that. Slightly less welcome has been Gulacy and Olmos’s pencils which take an all too conventional take on rather unconventional ideas. The art in this issue is competent, but stylistically extremely dull. The out-there nature of the concepts almost call out for something as drastically different as Kyle Baker’s pencils from Plastic Man. Judging by Scott Morse’s own cover for Catwoman #38, I can’t help but get the feeling that he himself would have been a better suited for this arc than Gulacy & Olmos.

Given a better meshed artistic team, I wouldn’t mind seeing Scott Morse given a second chance on this book. His script is action packed and pretty decent, albeit his characterization of Slam is a little shaky. Still it’s hard not to like a writer who sets Selina up against a guy with crazy petrified wooden robot arms.