Batwing has been one of the weirder and more interesting books of the New 52. It leverages Grant Morrison’s Batman Incorporated concept – Bruce Wayne finances local Batman franchises around the world, possibly because Batman believes that Starbucks are a superstitious, cowardly lot – and uses it to answer a question that only a few comics have tried to address: if there are superheroes, why don’t they go after real scumbags in places that make Gotham City look like Metropolis after a massive federal grant to finance free beer for the sad?

In a nutshell, Batwing puts a version of Batman in the Congo, smack in the middle of one of those hellholes that have been at civil war for so long they call it Tuesday. Batwing didn’t lose his parents to a killer, he lost them to AIDS and was drafted by one of those tinpot shitsplat warlords who whip up armies of children because children haven’t learned to say “no,” or, “that’s wrong”, or “tinpot shitsplat dictator.” Or at least that haven’t learned to say that last one with the level of derision it deserves.

So instead of a Batman moved to fight crime based on seeing a murder during his childhood, we have one who is moved to fight crime after being a murderer during his childhood. And he’s doing it in a country so loaded with corruption and casual daily horrible crime that it really feels like it needs a Batman. Which is a cool concept, and it generally works… but for a book that packs an extra punch by being based in a truly horrible place in real life, it doesn’t meet the level of realism I’ve come to expect from a Batman comic… which sounds stupid, but bear with me.

Catwoman #3 is better than the first issue, but don’t get too excited about it, at least not yet. Better is, after all, a relative word; losing your job is better than, say, losing your foot, but that doesn’t make it good.

I’m gonna start with the positive things I found in this issue, because unfortunately there’s still plenty that’s disappointing, but we’re 48 hours from a long weekend in the United States, and only 24 hours from the biggest bar night of the year, so I’m feeling charitable.

As opposed to the first issue, which felt like a bunch of plot points strung together to fill enough pages to justify Catwoman fucking Batman, there is an actual story going on here, and it’s reasonable compelling. This comic is a revenge story, plain and simple, and although it is part of a larger story arc that started in the abysmal first issue, it has the feel of a one-and-done that’s refreshing.

We open with Catwoman captured and one of her closest confidants killed,and proceed at a rapid and exciting pace through her escape, hunting of the killer and taking revenge upon him, all in 20-something pages. It feels complete, which is all-too-rare in the New 52 books so far, and it ends with a cliffhanger vastly more satisfying than the first issue, where the only thing we were left wondering was how you get semen out of kevlar.

We bought some more bourbon, which means here’s another exciting episode of the Crisis On Infinite Midlives Podcast!

Why “The Knockers Of Justice”? There’s actually a reason this time, and it’s Catwoman and Starfire. Plus, “The T*ts Of Justice” just sounded crass for a family site. F**k you; don’t look at us like that.

Other topics include Nightwing #1, Kevin Smith’s The Bionic Man, and Event Fatigue, or: If Wolverine Begins Fighting Cyclops in Schism at 6 a.m., Stops To Fight Juggernaut in Fear Itself¬† at 8 a.m. and Arrives To Fight With Spider-Man in Spider Island at noon, At What Time Does Marvel Start To Give a F**k About Continuity?

Plus, here are a few links to items we discussed in the show:

Enjoy! Or at least don’t complain too loudly!

EDITOR’S NOTE: This review contains spoilers… although it would be hard to ruin it any worse than it already is.

When I was in high school, in those dark days before even the first Tim Burton Batman movie was released, it was hard to be a Batman fan. Based upon the fact that Batman lived with a prepubescent boy, I found myself spending an inordinate amount of time, time that I could have spent attempting to convince girls that reading Batman didn’t make me unfuckable,¬† instead defending the character as a heterosexual gynephile, based purely on implied attraction between Batman and Catwoman, including sidelong glances, near kisses, and vague double entendre.

You damn spoiled rotten kids today, what with your Anne Hathaway, and your slashfic, and your Catwoman #1.

Seriously: check this shit out: