Sunday Fun Day: Where’s Waldo, Jim Balent Catwoman Style (Week Fourteen)

The week numbering on these isn’t quite accurate anymore (at least in terms of one of these posts coming out each and every week til I run out of covers), but I am back with another installment and, unfortunately, we are moving into the middle part of Balent’s run on Catwoman. As I’ve already noted in previous posts, the art does stay mostly solid, especially on the interiors, but Balent starts to slip on the covers and the pizzaz with which he executes both covers and interiors can get a bit inconsistent in application.

Just try not to look at it too long. Instead, try to figure out whether Slyfox's fox tail is his own hair with a unique dye job or if it's an actual fox tail. That attaches ... somewhere.

However, some of it is fantastically 90s, so there is that. 🙂 And I do enjoy the sometimes inexplicable outfits that Selina suddenly shows up in. Plus, this page is a good example of an earlier, more forgivable type of Balent art sin, where he is trying to push the pose but for dynamism and expression purposes, not to try to contort the character to be more “sexy.” And Slyfox also seems to have a case of spaced-too-far-apart badass legs going on. That said, Selina’s left leg looks significantly smaller and like something went horrifically wrong where it joins her hip.

Since I already gave the title page for it (and is Giz’s squirrel wearing its own tiny set of gear for dropping out of the plane in that art?? I think it might be!), first up this time is Catwoman #30, 1996, written by Chuck Dixon and drawn by Jim Balent:

So 90s. Much ridiculous awesome.

Catwoman’s (as always, unwanted) teammates are back and now they have someone in a giant mech suit! Admittedly, I kind of dig anything with claws and also – Giz is dropping out of the plane with his squirrel on his shoulder. And Slyfox is painfully hypermasculine.

Next up is Catwoman #31, 1996, written by Chuck Dixon and drawn by, of course, Jim Balent, and Catwoman has yet again been sucked into an event/ crossover.

It's actually kind of making my eyes hurt just looking at it.  It's like the white text on a black background of comic book covers. Ouch.

This, this is … not up to Balent’s usual standard (especially because he ‘can’ drawn women that are not Escher Girls-worthy or oddly sexualized) and, also, I think, owes a lot of its eye sore-ness to the special event-related border and colour palette.

And, finally, Catwoman #32, 1996. Written by Chuck Dixon and drawn by Jim Balent, this finishes out Catwoman’s participation in Contagion (at least in her own title) and gives us a good example of less than stellar art. I think part of it is a problem I’ve noticed before, where Balent has trouble trying to do certain overhead angles and shots, and part of it is using a pose that lets us clearly see Selina but which doesn’t make sense for what she’s actually doing.

Not as bad as that New52 Starfire art, which also has bad anatomy problems besides a pose that does not fit context and intent.

Specifically, this is a sexy, performance-type pose, but Catwoman isn’t performing here or trying to be sexy (and if she were trying to flirt with Batman, it also wouldn’t look like that). She’s supposed to be kneeling down to comfort Batman, so the pose and mood just don’t fit. Her legs are far too stiff and straight and her torso is extended all the way out like it’s a flat plank, which just doesn’t fit for someone crouching down to reach someone who is kneeling on the ground.

And now for the answer key …

Make sure you’re ready …

Are you done looking and trying?

Okay, here you go!

Or under Slyfox, but I'm trying to ignore him.

The cat is a drawing etched onto the metal about the mech’s back.

I was going to say above the skiers but it's actually in the patch of purple above that.

The cat here is done in white on the purple of the mountain in the background of the image.

The muddy colours of the image don't really help with attempts to find it, but it is there.

The cat here is a small skeleton on top of the human skeletons below the Gotham sign.

And that’s it for this time. Next week (or next post, given what’s happened to my schedule for this), Catwoman’s foe from Catwoman: Year One (well, the foe who isn’t the corrupt, uncaring authorities at the youth home and elsewhere) is back. So prepare yourselves for more Hellhound and his very 90s impulse to fit as many knives as possible onto his costume. And, as always, all images belong to their respective copyright holders and are used for fun review purposes only.

Note: I just realized that next post, due to the mix of unsolved and already solved and shared covers, gets into Catwoman: Year Two, which is three issues long, so I am going to have to reconsider when Hellhound will appear, since I’d rather not split Year Two between posts.

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