Thursday, 27 April 2017

Batman: The Cat and the Bat Review (Fabian Nicieza, Kevin Maguire)

This is the second time in a week that my comics beliefs have been shaken! First Mike freakin’ Barr and Tony Bedard’s The Wrath turns out to be a great Batman book, and now Deadpool co-creator Fabian Nicieza - whom I previously thought couldn’t write a good comic unless someone talented did it for him and left the credits blank so he could write his name in - has written a brilliant Batman comic with The Cat and the Bat! I wonder if I’ve somehow suffered massive head trauma sometime last week and forgotten it and that’s why these books seem awesome to me… 

Catwoman nabs Commissioner Gordon’s notebook containing coded info on all of Gotham’s crooks, and Babs dons the Batgirl outfit to retrieve it before her dad notices it’s missing. 

This book’s marketed as a Batman comic but he only appears in a handful of pages - this is really a Batgirl story about her and Catwoman’s first encounter. I know, sounds unnecessary, right? It turns out to be a brisk, fun and entertaining cat and mouse chase across Gotham set over the course of one night. The story also becomes more layered and serious as it goes on so it’s not this one-note plot that overstays its welcome but also manages to remain fast-paced so you keep turning the pages to see what happens next. 

Babs is written super-likeable, funny and charming, as she should be! It’s set in the early days of Batman’s career which also makes it the early days of Batgirl’s career, so she’s vulnerable but capable even if she makes mistakes here and there - it’s endearing! And Kevin Maguire does the most magnificent job with the characters’ facial expressions. I also really liked the Frank Quitely-esque solidity his art has. The one critique is Catwoman’s stupid tail but to be fair that’s not Maguire’s fault, that’s something the character (unfortunately) had for a long time when she started out. 

Honestly, I can’t see any flaws with this one and I had a blast reading it too. Well done, Fabian Nicieza????!?? I guess this shows that you should always read widely and with an open mind as you might miss out on gems like this one if you don’t. If you’re after an excellent Batgirl comic, I highly recommend checking out The Cat and the Bat!

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