This week from DC Comics we get the next chapter in the epic fight between Selina and her new nemesis Father Valley (aka-Karl Senke). In Catwoman 34 the epic face off comes to a head, but does Catwoman have what it takes down a trained assassin that knows her better than she knows herself? This issue pushes the fight to the edge and not everyone makes it out. Winning the battle doesn’t always mean you are winning the war.

To be honest the Villa Hermosa story line dragged on for me. The story just didn’t really hold my interest as much as I would have liked, but ever since coming back from Future State, Catwoman’s title has stepped it up tremendously. This new story arc pushes not only events around Selina, but Selina herself. She cares for her old stomping ground, Alleytown. Her feelings for Bruce still haunt her, and best yet, she now has a villain that fits her status in Gotham. The greatest heroes are always made by great villains and now Selina has one of the deadliest villains ever haunting her steps. In fact he knows her steps before she does. The best part about Catwoman 34 is that it is merely a battle in an ongoing war that is only just beginning.

Winning the Battle – Old Flames Die Hard

You knew he’d come. No matter what happens between the two, when need is the greatest, Batman will always come. They may have declared a break, but we see quickly how much Selina and Bruce missed each other and need each other. Ironically, this heroic moment was brought to them by the other man in Selina’s life. No matter how hard Selina tries to push Detective Hadley away, he seems to dog her every step, determined to help her. His meddling is what led Bruce to Selina. I love how Selina pulls Bruce’s disappear before the conversation is over trick on him.

Bruce manages to give Selina everything he knows about Karl Senke, and when she analyzes it, Selina how much trouble she truly is in. Father Valley is not only persistent, but well studied in everything Selina does. She is trapped, but when a wounded animal is cornered they often become even more deadly. It is time for Selina to strike at Valley.

Winning the Battle – A Fight Til the Bitter End

Selina tracks down Valley and confronts him, but she does two things wrong, one of which she realizes a bit too late. She fights on his ground and on his terms. Selina is not a swordswoman, so why she engages him with the Katana he sets out for her felt like the wrong move. Also, as the fight later bears out, he has this entire building set up the way he wants it. I love the fight sequencing the artists depict. The fight rages, and Selina realizes Valley’s prep will be enough to defeat her. When in doubt, change the setting. The problem with that is Valley knows Selina too well. Where Selina runs, Valley is ready.

When Selina tries to flee to another floor of the building, she finds Valley’s already thought of that. It is only now that we understand hadley’s previous remark. Valley blew up his church not to hide anything, but to clear line of sight – to Maggie’s flat! A large caliber sniper rifle waits for Selina, and its aimed right at Maggie.

Who else saw this coming? The minute Selina throws her broken katana past Valley and it sticks in the wall pattern with the blade out, I knew this would be how Valley ends. Well, I was partially right. The fight continues and I love what creators did here. in order for Selina to win, she has to let Valley win. She has to give him the opening strike he wants, so she can counter. Valley stabs Selina through the shoulder, but this gives Selina the opening she needs to drive Valley back…into the sword!

Winning the Battle- Another Step Ahead

Again Valley proves just how deadly he truly is. Impaling Valley allows Selina to take the remote trigger away, but, again, Valley predicted this. He has another trigger and there is nothing Selina can do but watch as he presses the button. In the world of post-Game of Thrones, killing off major characters doesn’t seem quite as big a deal any more, but surely the creators would not take someone like Maggie out like this!? That’s cold!

Valley’s plan fails…or does it. He fails to take Maggie out, but instead he achieves something that might even be worse. Hadley knows the plan and manages to save Maggie from being shot, but at what cost. In comics there is a difference between wounded to the verge of death and actually dying. Characters have a habit of surviving the most grievous of wounds, but I have to hand it to the art department. I will be shocked if Hadley survived that shot. Selina was desperate to save Maggie, but when she finds out Hadley died saving Maggie, I think it will hit her just as hard. The one thing you don’t do is piss Selina Kyle off.

If losing Hadley wasn’t bad enough, we get another cliffhanger ending. Hadley not only rigged the gun to shoot Mags, but he rigged it to explode as well. The entire floor explodes like a scene from Die Hard. It implies Catwoman was caught in the blast, but we know she escapes somehow. Speaking of escape, Valley escapes as well.

The battle is over. The war has just begun.

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