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

Recovering from a head injury (and the resultant damage to my ability to work) and trying to even up the number of solved-but-unposted covers I have left, so only two covers this time. However, they involve She-Cat, Cyber-Cat, and, well, I think you can already tell that there is going to be some very … special 90s-ness going on this time. And Balent seriously pushing a pose … for the sake of a cool layout (and it is cool – he just ends up making Selina’s stretch resemble what a ball-joined figure would do, not a person, so all of her fits within a certain part of the page). Also some wobbles on his art and badness that I think may be down to the writing he’s paired with and what designs were asked of him.

I kind of want to be done looking at this cover. Plus I can't quite get She-Cat's tattoo to actually look like a cat in my mind.

Seriously. I don’t think Balent is solely to blame for the … logistics of Cyber-Cat’s armour. And the dialogue justification for it. And She-Cat is … something. And I don’t think her cat tattoo is the hidden cat on this cover, so it’s still unsolved.

I … think I am just going to open with this, because a) I’m having trouble focusing b) I burst out laughing when I realized ‘why’ Selina’s pose is aiming for a place on Escher Girls.

Seriously. It's not just my recovering head injury making me nauseous. That leg is not right. Other than being her right leg, that is. :P

Okay, I just realized that besides the spine/posture problems, he also made her right leg longer than the left one and .. I just … am getting vaguely nauseous looking at what’s going on with that leg closely. Something isn’t right with her knee. On the plus sides, at least Seliina’s cats can do deep/extreme stretches and be fully on screen and not defy reality in disturbing ways.

I do enjoy Balent playing with the borders of individual panels and working various close-up/reaction shots of Selina and I don’t think he’s actually trying to be particularly exploitative with his anatomy breaking (I have a tear-inducing familiarity with Balent drawing Catwoman and her comic at this point so I can tell pretty well when he’s doing something for dynamic posing/character expressiveness/other art and/or character reasons and when he’s trying to contort someone for “sexy” pose reasons), but this is a mess. A hilarious, horrifying mess. And all because Balent was trying to do something neat with the layout.

Not that the one nail/claw should be curving backwards like that, but I think that's the least of Cyber-Cat's problems with her suit. Her metal suit. Yeeeaaah.

This, on the other hand … really pushes the limits of personal comfort and safety, on top of gravity. But it does go with what the script/dialogue want (for the issue as a whole, not just this page, fyi). Lightweight, high tech, connected to your nervous system armour indeed. I do like the ridiculous claw fight though.

Poor Cat wedgies. Although at least Catwoman's is fabric, not metal.

I have a certain unrepentant love for dialogue so bad it’s good. Plus, the ridiculous improbable tail can be used as a whip. Besides somehow having hung her directly down in the air on the previous page. I … am really kind of missing the Chuck Dixon issues I had been cycling through before this. The writing is really not complimenting the wobbles that Balent’s art is starting to get.

It's pretty hard deciding on a worst day ever for her, but I think multiple embarrassing knockoffs is pretty high up there for Catwoman.

Yes, I am basically just gleefully torturing everyone at this point. But I couldn’t leave out the fact that She-Cat’s liquid metal looking suit of armour has built in artillery. And, yes, the storyline is called She-Cats.

And now that I have given a thorough tour of the art and main added character for part one of the storyline, on to the covers and solutions. No special feature for She-Cat because I already posted a lot of pages and also because her outfit is at least just fabric.

So, without further delay, Catwoman #42, 1997, written by Doug Moench and drawn by Jim Balent:

Seriously. I have no other explanation for her being able to move and pose like that.

This isn’t Balent’s expressive, dynamic posing ‘or’ the late-run plastic-y, passionless feel. It’s, well, Catwoman enjoying Cyber-Cat far more than she does in the actual comic and Cyber-Cat seeming to have altered her underlying physiology using the technosuit she invented.

And Catwoman #43, 1997, written by Doug Moench and drawn by Jim Balent:

Or try to figure out how she successfully takes it on and off. I'm going with magic or having it permanently stuck on her in a tragic accident near a fabric remnants pile.

This cover is honestly kind of meh, especially given what I know Balent is capable of. But it’s also not as big of an offender as the previous one. Don’t try to make the layers on She-Cat’s costume make sense though.


And now for the answer key …

Make sure you’re ready …

Are you done looking and trying?

Okay, here you go!

I think the gorilla cover has emerged as permanent victor of the tricky to solve cover contest. Aside from the darned unsolved No Man's Land covers, that is.

The cat is upside-down on Cyber-Cat’s right hip as part of the shadowing on it. Still not as bad as the gorilla cover, but darn tricky nonetheless.

Seriously. I know my vision is a bit more glitchy due to the head injury but I really had to zoom in and concentrate to see it.

I may have spoken too soon about the gorilla cover because with this one the hidden cat is a pencil sketch in yellow, on top of Catwoman’s hair, under She-Cat’s left hand. I’m kind of surprised and pleased that I solved this one at some point.

And that’s it for this time. 🙂 I wanted to get the other post up today but this one has taken longer than planned and I have other work still to do, so head injury recovery and work-work hour recovery willing, I’ll have the next Sunday Fun Day post up on an actual Sunday again. 🙂 And, as always, all images belong to their respective copyright holders and are used for fun review purposes only.

Also, as slight note-keeping/blog-keeping for me and information for everyone else, right now I have Catwoman #46-57 left to cover in groups of three for this feature. Everything else, barring having missed an annual or other not in the regular numbering of the comic issue, is either already solved and posted or is an unsolved cover that may or may not have been posted as the “read more” image. So, uh, I’ll probably be sobbing and shaking my fist in frustration at some early run Catwoman issues and a few No Man’s Land ones in about a month. Provided my personal circumstances allow for it, of course (the head injury was ‘really’ inconveniently timed and my partner was ultimately turned down for the only job he actually heard back about).

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