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September 19, 2011
 

DC Reviews: Batwoman #1

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Written by: Alex
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Batwoman #1
Publisher: DC Comics
Writers: J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman
Artist: J.H. Williams III
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: Todd Klein
Assoc. Editor: Janelle Asselin
Editor: Michael Marts

For Batwoman fans, the wait has been much too long. We’ve endured the seemingly endless age between Elegy/Batwoman #0 and the much anticipated release of Batwoman #1 as part of DC’s relaunch. The vibrantly grim symphony of J.H. Williams III and Dave Stewart has left the story of Kate Kane burned in our minds (Not without the help of Greg Rucka’s amazing storytelling, of course!). The question is, will Batwoman continue to be as incredible and revolutionary in her own series as she was in Detective Comics? Stick with me for a few paragraphs, and you will receive the answer you’ve sought after.

As expected, the artistry is like a journey down the rabbit hole on elegantly macabre steroids. The changes in atmosphere between the panels of Kate Kane and her caped persona are drastic, but not drastic to the point of being out of place. The seemingly supernatural villain  and her story seems more like a case Hellboy would take than the Gotham City Police. I like that very much.

Where the writing is concerned, I didn’t quite know what to expect. J.H.W. III is a very talented artist, but I didn’t enter into this with an adequate knowledge of his, or W. Haden Blackman’s writing, ability. Who am I kidding, I knew that if someone could put so much effort into properly representing Kate, they wouldn’t take up the task of continuing her story, unless they were dedicated to continuing the greatness they took part in starting. Every expectation I had for this title was not only met, but surpassed. In many #1s, I feel like the majority of the book is spent setting up what is to come in the following parts of the arc. Batwoman is different, there is a lot of foreshadowing, but also plenty of character development; so in other words, it’s more dynamic than the average comic. In just one issue, a contrast between Kate Kane and Detective Sawyer is established, if only subtle at times. Kate has an almost unrealistic determination to not only hunt down The Weeping Woman, but to save the missing children, as well. Sawyer sees things through cynical, yet honest eyes when she admits she can make no promises to the worried families. I think it’s beautifully ironic that Kane’s and Sawyer’s outlooks are not what one would expect from the way the characters appear. The colors of their clothes and hair, and the manner in which they dress would lead the reader to make assumptions about them. Making Batwoman the optimistic one of the two, despite her red and black costume, tattoos and dark makeup, is a move that further reminds the numerous goth-o-phobes of geekdom that characters (and real people) are not always what they seem.

Pretty much everything comics fans who haven’t read Elegy have to say is along the lines of: “Dude, did you know she’s a lesbian? That’s totally hot!” Even some legitimate comics journalists spend far too much time treating Batwoman like a sensuous sideshow attraction because she’s gay. This is not the way to go about things, and I couldn’t be more delighted about Kate being treated the same as the rest of the Gotham pantheon by her writers thus far. After reading this book about ten times, the only real problem I could find with it is the amount of space taken up showing Kate and Bette changing. It serves no purpose in the otherwise well constructed story, and this may sound silly, but why would Bette not be wearing a bra? It doesn’t seem like Kate is either in certain panels. I know I’m a reviewing a comic book and I’m not supposed to know these things, but I’m almost 100% certain that women wear bras. Despite all of that, it’s a nearly spotless issue, so don’t let that little detail keep you from reading it.¬†

I could go on forever about the intricate details of this issue. There’s so much more to say about the relationship between Kate and her father, her new side-kick, and Batman, but I don’t want to bore you any longer, good reader.

Go read it!

Alexander Lorenzen
alex@comicattack.net
@A_Lorenzen

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