Super Types

December 17, 2009

DC Reviews: Detective Comics #859

13366_400x600Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Greg Rucka
Artist: J. H. Williams III
Cover: J. H. Williams III

“Go pt 2.” Greg Rucka and J. H. Williams’s run with Batwoman and Detective Comics began five issues ago with #854, shortly after Bruce Wayne’s death, and the pair kicked things of by reestablishing who Kate Kane and Batwoman are with one of those classic unique crime stories that Greg Rucka always does so well. But “Go” looks deeper into Kate Kane to show us how the transformation into Batwoman occurred.

This issue takes place ten years after the brutal murder of Kate’s mother and twin sister (seen in the previous issue), with Kate nearing graduation as a soldier and continuing her career in the army. Kate’s superior calls her into his office where he has to question her about suspicion of violating article 125 of the uniform military code of justice — homosexual behavior. Standing by who she is and what she believes, Kate admits to the violation and accepts her discharge.

Kate now must decide what direction her life is headed now, which appears to be the direction of parties, tattoos, drinks and fast cars. A young officer Renee Montoya pulls over Kate for speeding, where Kate charms her, and the two begin a long relationship. One morning after a wild night, Kate and Renee get into an argument over Renee’s integrity as a lesbian that sends Renee storming out of Kate’s life. That night, Kate, while leaving an apologetic message for Renee, is attacked by a mugger. Little does the mugger know, Kate is military trained and makes short work of him, but then Kate finds herself in awe over the Batman watching in the nearby shadows. Kate is mesmerized as the Dark Knight disappears into the night sky.


Greg Rucka is known for bold and risky story telling, and “Go” may be among the most bold stories ever published in the pages of Detective Comics. Homosexual characters are nothing new in comics, but the list of gay characters as main protagonists in their own book is a short one. Where some writers may bring too much emphasis into the character’s orientation, making it a tiresome motif, Rucka uses it as a piece of Kate Kane’s self discovery through an already traumatic life, making Kane so much more organic. Rucka brings a strong and powerful voice to a frail and vulnerable person in a way so nontraditional to super hero characters. Although for this particular issue, if you haven’t been following Detective Comics over the last five issues, you’ll be left scratching your head after Batwoman’s altercation with the strange animal cult.

While Rucka brings an HBO television series style to the Bat-universe, J.H. Williams III’s art keeps both a classic and contemporary look that, along with Dave Stewart’s off color palette, is absolutely stunning. Williams’ style differs from a somewhat postmodern sensibility with Kate Kane’s everyday life to an edgy, dark texture with Batwoman’s. Williams is giving Kate Kane and Batwoman as strong a visual change as an emotional one, making this arguably THE most visually pleasing book on the rack.


The second feature starring Renee Montoya as The Question, also written by Rucka, unfortunately isn’t as stunning as the main feature. The brief exploits of Montoya as The Question isn’t as poor as other DC second features, but the lack of attention shows, and interest is hard to keep. Cully Hamner’s art is solid, and could probably support an entire book, but while we appreciate that the second feature is there, it’s not exactly a must-read.

I never thought I would say this about Detective Comics, but with Greg Rucka and J. H. Williams III behind the wheel with a character like Kate Kane, it has to be the coolest and all around sexiest comic by DC.

Andrew Hurst



  1. Great review Andrew. I think Detective Comics is the best Bat book on the shelf right now, but it’s tough to get people into it because they don’t know who Batwoman is. What a lot of them don’t realize though, is that NOBODY knows who Batwoman is! That’s the point of this run: we’re getting her origin story and a taste of her in action in current continuity and it’s working wonderfully. You said it about the art: it’s the best on the rack right now.

    I love this current run on Detective and am onboard with Batwoman!

  2. billy

    A Bat-Lesbian? Sounds like a bad adult film. lol. Good review AH.

  3. InfiniteSpeech

    I thought her character was being RE introduced into the DCU…I could be mistaken but I actually skipped this title because when I heard she was going to be a lesbian I assumed that that would become the focus of the book and not her as a character like you mentioned that most writers do and thats not what I would want to read. Maybe I should have picked this up but i’m sure when “GO” is in trade i’ll be sure to do that!

  4. […] (BOOM!) • Alex Ross, Astro City: The Dark Age (WildStorm/DC); Project Superpowers (Dynamite) • J. H. Williams III, Detective Comics […]

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