Catwoman: The Long Road Home ends on a note that is irreverent, difficult, disturbing ... essentially, many of the things the Catwoman series has been all along. Throughout his run, writer Will Pfeifer's portrayed Catwoman Selina Kyle as just this side of self-destructive, and he finishes the story with the same wonderful ambiguity he's provided all along.
At the end of Long Road Home, we find a Catwoman returned to her thieving roots -- not, even she admits, because she wants or needs to steal, but because it's her nature -- and, we sense, because she's a little mad at the world. And yet, the world may not even be her target; when Selina admits that she gave up her baby Helena not because she had to, but because Helena interfered with Selina's Catwoman identity, we understand in the end Selina's truly angry at herself.
Pfeifer and artist David Lopez do an admirable job ending their Catwoman run. Pfeifer, who's had his stories interrupted by no less than One Year Later, Countdown, Amazons Attack, and Salvation Run ends the Catwoman/Salvation Run crossover with breakneck speed (with no ending, really), and someone who hadn't read Salvation Run would be largely confused.
Instead, Pfeifer turns quickly back to the story of Catwoman's hunt for the Thief, an essentially anonymous character with a grudge against Catwoman. It's readily apparent that Pfeifer intends the Thief as a symbol more than a character; Selina's beating of the Thief suggests a break with her old life just as she, in contradiction, perhaps becomes an even more devious thief herself than before.
There's much to be considered here, and much we won't really understand the implications of for years to come. I always thought giving Catwoman a child was a bad idea, since we all knew the writers would never let her keep it; now we find a Catwoman -- maybe good, maybe bad -- who takes as much of her own motivation her guilt over giving that child up. Will Catwoman remain a petty thief, forgetting her East End hero days? Will Helena ever be seen, heard from, or mentioned again? Has this past storyline been the next step in the natural evolution of the Catwoman character, or a sign of this character returning to the Batman-villain status quo? It'll be a while before we know the answer.
I congratulate Will Pfeifer and David Lopez on a steady, respectable run on the Catwoman title. Ultimately, I feel perhaps the concept ended up being greater than what any writer could plot for the character, but Pfeifer and Lopez's consistent quality on this title is something to be admired.
[Contains full covers]
Next up, we're heading back toward the Countdown to Final Crisis with a stop first to finish the Jack Kirby Fourth World omnibuses. See you next time!