Catwoman Volume 3: The Replacements Review

Overview

Catwoman Volume 3: The Replacements is set during the time shortly after Selina Kyle gives birth to Helena and she has tasked Holly Robinson to be her replacement. The Replacements is set during the “One Year Later” series which deals with the aftermath of the Infinite Crisis. It’s a fairly short and  modern book which collected Catwoman #53-#58. I found this to be an OK book and at the time was my first ever Catwoman book. If you wondered why I decided to start in the middle of nowhere then it’s because it was £3 in the comic book store!

Book NameCatwoman: The Replacements
Book SeriesOne Year Later
Edition ReviewedCollected Edition
Year Published2007
Writer(s)Will Pfeifer
Artist(s)David Lopez, Alvaro Lopez
Pages144
Issues6
Where to BuyAmazon

Catwoman: The Replacements Review

Catwoman has been around the block a long time and she has been represented many time by many different authors throughout the years. She is generally a very feisty, strong willed woman who kicks ass, chews bubblegum and doesn’t need anyone else. In The Replacements it’s now very different and Will Pfeifer has the task of writing Catwoman in the manner we would expect in a world where she now has a young baby to take care of – Helena. He does this very well.

Half of the Replacements is about Selina Kyle and the other about Holly Robinson, both take turns being Catwoman here but it is mostly Holly in the leather suit. There is of course the One Year Later confusion to deal with but to be honest I didn’t feel it retracted from the flow at all – even though this was my first Catwoman book and I haven’t read any of Infinite Crisis I knew exactly what was going on and who everyone was, a testament to Pfeifer’s great writing. Well, I knew everything other than what happened to Black Mask but that really didn’t matter too much.

The biggest issue here is the change of circumstances for Selina, she’s now had a baby and wants to give up the crime fighting. It is a slightly niggling issue on how quickly Selina becomes mumsy and maternal. It’s almost as if there’s no adjustment period for Selina or at least Pfeifer chose not to show it. She went from being pregnant to a highly maternal mother overnight. I would have imagined that the ‘old’ Selina would have found this change very uncomfortable and giving up her independence would have been a big issue – Pfeifer thought otherwise.

Holly Robinson, the new Catwoman, on the other hand is a complete novice and often stumbles and makes errors as she continues to give Gotham the presence of the Catwoman. There isn’t much of a backstory or flashbacks of training but she is rather adept if not error prone. Other than that, Pfeifer spends most of the time showing us how keen she is to learn the trade as she beats up some thugs with Wildcat.

Making drastic changes to a character is a difficult thing to do and risky for characters with a set personality such as Selina Kyle and this is where the book suffers at times. It’s fair to say the often Catwoman can be very cheesy and susceptible to one liners before jumping back again into the night. In The Replacements this isn’t the case and she is serious from start to finish. Even Holly doesn’t give out many cheesy moments which leaves all of The Replacements pretty serious in tone.

What is quite believable is Selina’s determination to give up the Catwoman gig, even though we know she won’t. Until Helena was in peril she didn’t have any second thoughts about giving it up.

In general, both Holly and Selina’s predicaments ad how it’s written is pretty dull – things do move along and there are things going on but it all feels a little bit flat. The two villains in the book, Angle Man and Film Freak are hardly showstoppers and they didn’t exactly have a show stopping plan either. The whole plan revolves around taking their pictures and possibly revealing their identities – there’s an aspect of revealing the Black Mask’s killer as there’s a strong suspicion it was Catwoman, but even that’s not really explored in great depth.

The art by David/Alvaro Lopez in The Replacements in pretty good, excellent in fact. It’s pretty dark throughout as most of it is set during the night (obviously). Considering it’s a very female driven book the characters are not drawn in an overly sexualised way which allows the reader to focus on the story more. It’s modern, clean and quite expressive. I felt the cityscapes drawn resembled what a real city should look like.

Summary

Catwoman: The Replacement is a decent enough book to entertain most fans. It’s well drawn and looks gorgeous. What does let it down though is a completely different Selina Kyle than you’d expect and non engaging villains and plot. Get it if you’re a big fan of Catwoman but avoid it if you prefer your books to be action packed.

Score: 3/5

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