Overview: Carlos reminisces on how things went from bad to worse since the auction house until the police chase from previous issues.
Synopsis (spoilers ahead): The issue picks up right where #11 left off, with Selina and Carlos caught in a police car chase. It goes on for a while before Carlos starts reminiscing about what led them to this situation. Back in issue #8, Selina robbed an artifact from some kind of priestess under Penguin’s instructions. Such artifact, it turns out, would read like a map when complemented by a second half, a mask. Chance would have it that a mask of the same origins would go for sale in an auction.
Planning on getting her hands on the mask without having to pay for it – as Selina does -, she got in touch with an art forger, James Thien, last seen with Selina already in the auction back in issue #10. During the auction, they managed to trade the original for the replica with a simple sleight of hand performed by Selina. Meanwhile, Carlos, who would be waiting for them by the auction house, figured he could score a little extra and sneaks into the armored car parked outside. Just as he entered, though, the guards locked the truck and started moving. And that’s how the chase that started back in issue #11 started.
Back in the present, Carlos and Selina manage to dodge the cops by hiding, car and all, inside a shipping container. Later, Selina, Carlos and James go back to Selina’s headquarters in the pawn shop to rejoin the mask with its pedestal. Carlos asks for them to wait for him to come back, he’s going to check on Linda.
Parallel to the flashbacks, Tia Linda is shown still being kept captive by Mrs. Creel.
Analysis: Convoluted is probably the one word to describe this issue. After the action-only previous one, it feels as if Joëlle Jones looked back and realized she had left behind a number of loose threads that now seemed to lead to nowhere. Considering that #8 was a fill-in by Ram V and John Timms, #12 is probably not the last one in this story arc, so it might be a bit early to say that this was an entirely too messy six-issue arc, but it has been up to this point an entirely too messy story arc.
With two-too-many elements to tie together, Jones has thrown the Penguin, Maggie Kyle (Selina’s sister), Mrs. Creel, a zombie factor, a priestess of the undead, a new love affair, and a car chase in the blender and the taste of it all together doesn’t harmonize all too well. It is not unsavory, it is only a bit awkward on the tongue.
The Carlos car chase situation took too long and it doesn’t seem to matter to the plot line. It did serve a purpose, though, being the one sequence where Fernando Blanco’s art shines. His art is inconsistent, going from some uncanny-valley-like facial expressions to extremely well drawn and composed panels, and those are mostly in the chase sequence.
Hugo Petrus, who shares art duties with Blanco, also falls into a similar trap. His backgrounds and linework are incredible, his storytelling is easy to follow, but his Mrs. Creel looks like a mashup between a poorly drawn skull and Cynthia, Angelica’s doll in the Rugrats cartoon.
Final Thoughts: An issue that reads like a “Previously on Catwoman” and looks like a roller coaster. Its biggest merit is summing up the entire arc until this point, something that needed to be done for how convoluted it has been until now.