Catwoman Volume 2: Dollhouse graphic novel review

Judd WInnick’s arc on Catwoman concludes with Volume 2: Dollhouse, out 12 March 2013

There is a lot of angst in Gotham, with the brooding Bat-family sprawled across myriad critically acclaimed titles.

Fun, it seems, is not a word in Bruce Wayne’s dictionary.

Catwoman got a bit of a raw deal at the hands of critics after the New 52 launch, opening unapologetically with Selina Kyle bounding between buildings, her cats and underwear akimbo, before getting hot and heavy with Batman in graphic style. To sneer at Catwoman for embracing sex, violence and flippant expressions is perhaps to miss the point – Catwoman is sheer fun.

Collecting issues 7 to 12, this is Winick’s second and final arc on the book, moving on from the darkness of previous events and diving straight into the pleasures of high-octane crime. Stealing cars, gaining a new (male!) sidekick, and trading barbs with the law, Catwoman is determined to enjoy herself. This arc does feature a tie-in to the overall Night Of The Owls crossover, but it remains easily accessible as a standalone read.

The new bad guy in town gives this collection its title, and Dollhouse is a particularly creepy and twisted villain, even by Gotham standards. Unfortunately, he doesn’t get a huge amount of page time, with various DC gimmicks crushing what could have been an ongoing story into one speedy arc.

The art is tackled well by Adriana Melo and Guillem March, with the former granting Selina some fantastic facial expressions and the latter fresher and more dynamic after his break. Suffering a tad from some clunky storytelling at points and a lack of balance between the boisterous thief and her more empathetic alter-ego, this is still a very enjoyable read.

But Selina deserves better.