Review by Karl Verhoven
Whether by editorial edict or personal choice, Will Pfiefer removed Catwoman from her isolation in Gotham’s East End and reintergrated her into DC’s wider superheroic community. As seen in Crime Pays, a direct consequence has been her capture and transportation to a prison planet billions of miles from Earth. She’s still there as The Long Road Home opens, and the title indicates the content. Perhaps not in the obvious manner.
This closing volume, of the series at least, brings Catwoman full circle as we once again have relentlessly efficient private detective Slam Bradley using his wits and fists to locate a missing Selina Kyle. Having ignored Slam for much of his run, Pfiefer compensates here with some great lines: “interrogation 101. Make them fear you, then make them love you, then make them drunk. I’m not saying I’m proud of this technique, I’m saying it works.”
It doesn’t take Selina too long to find her way back to Earth, but once returned there are loose ends to wrap up. Pfeifer plays those excellently, referencing several of his previous stories over the following chapters, beginning with an idiot villain leading to someone more capable. Catwoman doesn’t take the obvious route in dealing with them, making a little more sense of material in Crime Pays. That could almost be the title for the final chapter, which is a definition of what Catwoman is, and underlining her relationship with Batman, stepping back into the adversarial from what had perhaps become too close.
For all the attention drawn by the Adam Hughes covers to the original comics reprinted here, the superb interiors of David López should have received greater recognition. His layouts are consistently imaginative, he’s never workshy, and his Selina falls within the bounds of acceptable costumed superhero women, attractive without ever sinking back to the fetish wear clothes peg she was in the 1990s.
Pfeifer switching the series from a crime-based title into more traditional superhero material might not be to all tastes, but given that mandate he’s generally executed it well. A few matters remain outstanding at the close of this final volume. Knowing the series was ending it might have been appropriate to tie up some loose ends regarding former members of the supporting cast, who just faded away. Added to that list despite a fine opening chapter, is Bradley, again discarded, when there’s a big question mark over what both unites and divides him and Selina. Pfeifer’s Catwoman, though, is far more hit than miss, and this is as good a representative sample as any.