By Gail Simone (writer), J. Calafiore (artist), Jason Wright (colorist) and Travis Lanham (letterer)
The Story: This picks up right where #19 left off, with MacQuarrie’s thugs threatening to kill Blake’s baby son if Blake does not murder the rest of his team. Whatever decision Blake makes, it’s doubtful that things will end well for anyone involved—especially himself.
What’s Good: Honestly? This book is what’s good. In the interest of full disclosure I will point out that I am an unabashed Gail Simone fan, and many of the reasons I love her are on full display here. The dialogue crackles with energy and there’s not a wasted word among the lot. Each of the characters have a very distinct and individual voice; I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that you would be able to distinguish who is speaking even without the artwork and word bubbles. Catman is particularly well-served as the main focus of this issue; his one-liners are (chillingly) excellent, and the dead, resigned tone of most of his dialogue is just perfect. The story as a whole is nice and cohesive; Simone does a great job of advancing the plot in a satisfying manner while still leaving us wanting more, and eager to buy the next issue.
Calafiore does a uniformly fantastic job backing up the writing with some wonderful artwork, from the characters to the backgrounds to the often brutal action. Special props also need to go to colorist Jason Wright, whose dark and brooding palate—interspersed with shocks of bright oranges and deep reds—perfectly echo Blake’s degenerating grip on himself. It’s a great contrast to last issue’s liberal (and also excellent) use of lighter, more pastille coloring.
Speaking of the action it is an absolute treat to see Catman unleashed like this, with such a laser-focused and personal goal to chase after. Hell may have no fury like a woman scorned, but it looks to me like coming between a predator like Catman and his young must be a very, very close second. I’m really looking forward to seeing what his next move will be.
What’s Not So Good: Really, I have only one issue with the whole thing: there is no way an infant who has been kidnapped and hung over a 12-story balcony is going to look like the kid on the Pampers box. He shouldn’t be smiling and giggling–he’d be screaming bloody murder! Admittedly this is an extremely minor nitpick, but it does come up more than once, and bugged me every time I noticed it.
Conclusion: Lots of great writing, lots of great art, lots of great story, and a whole lot of very bloody action. Can’t ask for much more than that!