Catwoman: When in Rome
The Feline Fatale goes on vacation.
From Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, the Eisner Award-winning creative team behind Batman: The Long Halloween
and Batman: Dark Victory
comes a murder mystery starring the Dark Knight's very own feline fatale. Catwoman: When in Rome
is a DC Comics six-issue miniseries that runs parallel to the later issues of Batman: Dark Victory. Selina Kyle, the Catwoman, is the world's greatest cat burglar, and a lover/adversary to Batman. But she's had enough of Gotham and needs a break from the Dark Knight. What better escape than an idyllic European getaway? Selina travels to Rome hoping to discover the identity of her father, whom she suspects to be crime lord Carmine Falcone. To solve this puzzle, Selina has enlisted the help of Edward Nygma, the Riddler.
Upon arriving in Rome, Selina and Nygma meet The Blonde, a hitman, who sets up a meeting between Selina and the capo of the Italian mob, Don Verinni. Before Selina has a chance to speak with Verinni, the mob boss is murdered. As Catwoman begins to investigate Verinni's death, she uncovers a clue that might point to the person responsible. The Joker.
Verinni's murder isn't the last, and soon more blood is spilled in Rome. The real murderer is framing Catwoman, and Verinni's assassins put the Cat and her accomplices on the run. Clues left at the murder scenes point to the involvement of Batman villains such as Mr. Freeze and Scarecrow. With the help of The Blonde and Riddler, Selina will have to solve the mystery of who is behind these murders, and what it has to do with her original mission - finding her father.
Taking inspiration from French/Italian fashion illustrator Rene Gruau, Tim Sale's masterful artistry is on full display here. Every line of Selina Kyle and her pretty kitty alter ego are drawn to perfection. Sale's Catwoman is a feral, intimidating creature who exudes raw confidence and sexuality - a worthy adversary and lover for the likes of Batman. Simply put, Catwoman: When in Rome
is slick and beautiful - some of Sale's best work.
And what about the Dark Knight? He's here, but his appearances are few and far between, mostly in Selina's dreams and memories. Loeb weaves an intriguing story, with interesting locales and characters that keep the narrative moving. Loeb and Sale elevate Catwoman to an equal of Batman, a daunting rival more capable than some of his most wicked of villains.
As beautiful as the art is, there are some things lacking in this book. The conclusion, the big reveal to the murder mystery, is a bit lacking. It's disappointing in the same way that Loeb's other storylines seem to unravel in their final acts. For what its worth, not-so-climactic conclusion and all, Catwoman: When in Rome
is still a great insight into the mind of Batman's feline fatale. For the first time, I actually appreciated her as a character and saw her worth in the Dark Knight's universe.