December 25, 2011

DC Reviews: Batwoman #4

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Written by: Alex
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Batwoman #4
Publisher: DC Comics
Writers: J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman
Artist: J.H. Williams III
Colors: Dave Stewart
Letters: Todd Klein
Asst. Editor: Katie Kubert
Assoc. Editor
: Janelle Asselin
Editor: Michael Marts

Even on page one, it’s evident that J.H. Williams’s range as an artist is increasing with each issue. The main focus has shifted to Flamebird, with beautiful panels of Kate and Maggie as a parallel to the street carnage. The sketches that depict Kate’s night off with Maggie remind me a lot of Eric and Shelly from J. O’barr’s The Crow, an influence well chosen.

Emotions run wild as Bette is beaten to a pulp in the midst of some of Kate’s long needed moments of peace. It’s difficult to express how much I love the creative ways in which the panel frames are drawn. I feel fear as well as love for the effect the artwork has on me. I feel like I’m slowly becoming conditioned to this amazing aesthetic, and soon I won’t be able to tolerate the nostalgia for the pulps that has held back the evolution of comic books in the twenty-first century. So yeah, the art is still pretty decent.

One of the many things this title does better than others is not just what happens between the characters, but what is anticipated to happen. One can’t help but wonder how Kate is going to react to Bette’s irresponsibility. She’s going to feel that it’s her fault; she shouldn’t have let Bette out on her own. It made me genuinely concerned for Kate, and even more so for Flamebird. She’s the one who’s in real physical danger, and who may have compromised Batwoman in the process. Building tension and concern for the characters is what every good writer’s main objective should be, and so far Batwoman has yet to fail in that aspect.

A previous complaint I had with the preceding issues was the voyeuristic aspects of the scenes of Batwoman and Flamebird changing into and out of their costumes. Although none of that was present this time around, I still find it odd how little the costumes leave to the imagination. Just like Huntress’s exposed legs and midriff never made sense to me, the bra-lessness of Kate Kane is a complete contradiction to her otherwise logical and tactical approach to vigilantism.

My praise is stronger than ever for Batwoman, and the minor complaints I’ve had remain, well, minor.

Alexander Lorenzen



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