Issue #22 with Catwoman was well-paced in narrative and action, and we finally get a Batman who isn't a hapless jerk (which I also found infuriating in said previous two issues). His chemistry with Catwoman is all kinds of endearing without it being needlessly flirtatious like most interactions I've been reading about lately. They work together very well at that, infiltrating a Chinese embassy for a quick dispatch-and-rescue routine. My favorite parts had to be the dual take-downs of the bad guys in two to three pages or so, all because they were illustrated pretty well and definitely adds a dimension to the dynamics between the Bat and the Cat and how formidable they could be as partners if they ever decide to have more side-missions together.
I've been trying to understand how this issue dealt with despair. At first glance, we don't really see it in the surface which was exactly the point of the writing. Earlier in the story before Batman teams up with Catwoman, we get a conversation, like an actual conversation between two adults, with Bruce Wayne and Carrie Kelly who I still cannot warm up to yet. But hey, at least she's not antagonizing him for no reason. She's more willing to see things in his perspective while still maintaining some distance from him because it does feel like she can't see herself trusting him. I don't understand why she's so quick to believe that he's a negligent father based only with her limited interactions with Damian in the past. I just can't make sense of her characterization for now, and I don't think I even care to understand. She hasn't been the most likable side-character.
Another indication of despair also comes from that moment when we see Bruce just sitting in front of the monitors in the bat-cave and he does look like he has simmered down from all the asshole-ry and angry tantrums from the previous issue sp we finally get something that resembles Scott Snyder's version of his moods in issues #19-20 with the Clayface story arc. This then allows readers to see him in a softer light later on with Catwoman, especially in the last scene where he carries a little girl in his arms and flies her across the city in the night. That was a wonderful full-paged illustration. Batman actually had a small smile in his face which could also be Tomasi's way of signaling that yes, he's slowly learning to let go of his anger, and without that standing in his way and making him do stupid things like in issue #21, Batman looks sadder even when he is smiling and helping a child find her way home.
The last few pages showed Two-Face which could be just an advertising maneuver for Batman and Two-Face issue #23.1 (which I'll be reviewing right after this before we get to Nightwing). Overall, a great piece of storytelling and it definitely revitalize my hope that the next issues will be better again.