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Nine Lives of a Feline Fatale
(Catwoman Graphic Novels)

The technique behind the superheros

. "Catwoman"

When Catwoman is on the prowl I think I can smell the lipstick, it's that thick, it's that garishly red. But, while the makeup is thick the plot has been run through a thinning agent. But, hey, just show me as much of that exquisite face and the perfection beneath it as this kittenish acrobatic romp providess and I go home with a smile.

Now, I write this not to emphasize my voyeuristic tendencies but because it's just more fun to dwell on the perfection of nature instead of the inane premises behind a yarn that's slimmer than the paper the comic strip that inspired it is printed on.

Modest (some might say, mousy) Patience Phillips (Berry) is a graphic artist for a cosmetics firm, Hedare Beauty. Seemingly in constant trouble with one or the other of her bosses, fringe lunatic George Hedare (Lambert Wilson) or vixenish wife and has-been model Laurel (Sharon Stone), but she gets a chance to make her mark on the latest campaign for their age-reversal face cream that all women are ready to die for, called "Beau-line" (don't ask).

Now, this downtrodden, abused worker artist needs a cute meet and, one day, while working in her modest apartment, she sees a cat outside her window. But she's several stories up, so what's a cat doing out there on the concrete? Being the fearless and good natured rescuer that she is, Patience climbs out on a ledge to rescue the critter. This alarms everyone on the street below, who think it's an imminent suicide. Who does this attract to the scene but handsome cop Tom Lone (Benjamin Bratt), who hustles up for a little rescue of his own.

A romance is born, especially after he shows he's got a little art knowledge. Yeah, right. In any case, she's going to need a cop more than she needs a boyfriend because when she delivers her drawings to a company warehouse in the dead of night, and inadvertently runs into a secret meeting, and overhears plans for an illegal corporate-level super-scam... well, The bad guys discover her, chase her down, and shoot her... as in, "dead."

Dead? Ah... but this is Catwoman in the making. Remember that li'l pussy she rescued on her building? Think I told you about it for nothing? It turns out to be no ordinary feline but a supernatural critter that has the power to breath a little magical stardust in Patience's face and not only brings her back to life but invests her with superkittenish powers. Catwoman is born. So there you are. All the makings of another Batman or, even, Spiderman? Not quite. The writers aren't as good, the style and taste are MTV at best and they all could use some creative catnip to rejuvenate a sleepy scenario.

Director Pitof hit all the set piece target points including the culminating catfight between Cat-gal and Sharon Stone who, in order to meet the demands of a climactic showdown, conveniently acquires Olympiad athleticism. It's this kind of milking of the mediocre that sets the tone and the litter-level of the ideas.

After this fall from grace, Berry's got eight career leaps to go.

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                                      ~~  Jules Brenner  


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                                                           ~~ Natera G. 
                                                                (Des Moines, Iowa)

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Catwoman and total fox

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