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

I’m not really refreshed enough to be commenting too much on these, but I will say that I’m glad this post will finish off the Doug Moench-penned issues. Even just flipping through them for this feature, they seem a tad … flat and not quite Selina-enough. Plus, and I think I’ve said it here before (or elsewhere), I think who Jim Balent is teamed with really makes a difference in the quality of his art work and … the Moench ones do not tend towards the impressive. There is Balent’s increasing slippage on anatomy and posing, but there are also overall problems with the art looking odd, unimpressive, and/or “dirty”/hard to read. But, enough of that. At least til we get under the “read more” cut. πŸ™‚

She still has the awesome horror claws/hands here, but I think Selina is still beaten out by AzBat's claws. Sheerly due to size.

The last of the unsolved early-run covers to burn off, so AzBat is temporarily back on this blog. And having a claw comparison fight with Catwoman.

Continuing on from last time, we have the end of Huntress’ guest appearance in Catwoman, although not the end of that story arc, in Catwoman #52, 1997, written by Doug Moench and drawn by Jim Balent:

Basically, lots of lost potential for a cool cover 'and' as much as I like looking at Selina and at pretty girls in comic art in general, this cover just isn't anything special.

On the plus side, I was actually able to solve this one. On the down side, it’s another cover that’s just kind of ehhhh. Not bad, but there’s not really anything interesting or dynamic about it and nothing that relates directly or abstractly/thematically to the end of the Huntress part of the story or the start of the next part of the story … which actually will conclude a long-running plot thread in the next issue.

Speaking of long-running plot threads and how meh I feel about a lot of the Doug Moench Catwoman stories, here’s Catwoman #53, 1998, written by Doug Moench and drawn by, of course, Jim Balent:

Yeah, I might have a mild, and exhaustion-enhanced, grump against having Selina in a romance with a cop and one who turns out to be a very misogynistic and misogyny fueled serial killer. 'And' have her awkwardly eulogize/have sad feels for him after his death.

This … is kind of an odd cover, given how the previous issue ended. And given what happens in this one. Also, spoilers, the cop Catwoman was involved with was secretly the serial killer Headhunter. Yeah, Moench had Selina dating a cop. Kind of for reasons, but there’s also plenty of somewhat-out-of-character sounding blah blah from Selina in this issue about having been in love with him and how tragic it all is.

I really don’t want to spoil anything on it because this is a great issue, but Catwoman #54, 1998, is writer Devin Grayson’s first issue of the regular Catwoman series (she had previously written Catwoman Annual #4 in 1997):

No comment on whether or not it's good to be so Balent Catwoman familiar I can tell which reason it is. :P

The only reason I didn’t hug this issue is because I don’t own a physical copy. Also, I almost feel like some sort of congratulations are in order for the vertical boobs-and-butt pose. Although, on the positive side, it’s happening in service of dynamic posing and an interesting cover, not failed attempts at sexiness.

And now for the answer key …

Make sure you’re ready …

Are you done looking and trying?

Okay, here you go!

Still not as difficult as the gorilla cover.

There’s a cat in Catwoman’s hair! πŸ˜› It’s lying along one of the strands of hair above her right hand. πŸ™‚

That description is almost as awkward as the cover itself.

This one you can pretty much take your pick. Most of the skulls in the inner ring are cat skulls, not human skulls, and there are also cats as part of the outer “frame” around the circle/ring.

Seriously. It's a great issue. But I can't say why because of spoilers. But the Catwoman thought text is delightfully in-character again. I love it.

The cat here is a small white one in the bottom left corner of the glass case covering the diamond that’s Catwoman’s co-star for this issue.

And that’s it for this time. Stay tuned for the final post in this series (at least for regular issues. Balent did a ‘lot’ of Catwoman art in the 1990s) and, hopefully, an additional post showing all the remaining unsolved covers. No Man’s Land is made of tears y’all. Unsolved cover tears. Also, as always, all images belong to their respective copyright holders and are used for fun review purposes only.

2 thoughts on “Sunday Fun Day: Where’s Waldo, Jim Balent Catwoman Style (Week Twenty)

  1. When I ask you about following writers from Catwoman to other projects part of the reason was because I’ve seen people single out Doug Moench as someone whose Batman stories they like and Catwoman ones they didn’t.

    I have issue 54 and would be happy to send it to you if you like.

    • I think I already apologized to you, but sorry for not getting back to you about that question. πŸ™‚ I think it’s interesting because, going through the 90s Catwoman stuff and also talking to you (especially about Bronwyn Carlton’s run), it seems less like there were bad writers, per se, and more like there were people less suited to and/or interested in (again, thinking of our talks about Carlton’s run and how she may have been more interested in writing Harley, not Selina) writing Catwoman. There are quality issues of course, and then everyone trying to work with editorial demands and events and what not, but, especially with Moench still fairly fresh on my mind and with part of Devin Grayson’s run to follow that up, it really seems like part of it is the writers not getting her. One of the big things for me, besides the plotline issues, is that Selina’s commentary boxes just fell/felt ‘flat’ to me. And, of course, a big part of the plotline issues were that storyline(s) and execution and reactions from Selina didn’t fit her character and personality. So, I don’t have the reading to back up comparing Moench on Batman stories versus Moench on Catwoman stories, but it feels like there may be some validity there.

      And I would love that! πŸ™‚ Filling in the blanks in my collection has kind of ground to a halt due to circumstances (and availability – I finally used up most of what I had left in store credit vouchers on other items at the used bookstore last week since they’ve stopped getting any loose 90s issues in and I haven’t seen any more of the earlier format Brubaker trades I’m missing) and I do like having the hard copies. πŸ™‚

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