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26 of 52: Batwoman #1

by on September 16, 2011

Batwoman

Image via Wikipedia

Okay, going to the third book of week 2, and it is Batwoman #1. I wouldn’t say a surprising choice, as I would pick up a “Batman Universe” title before most others. But, I have not felt any real affinity for Kate Kane. I just don’t see her purpose, or what draws her to be “Batwoman” and not another superhero. Also, as I stated in my Batgirl #1 review, if you have both a Batwoman and Batgirl in the DC Universe, especially in Gotham City, then it really reflects poorly on whoever is in the Batgirl costume. When that person was Cassandra Cain or Stephanie Brown, that’s fine but when it’s Barbara Gordon it’s more troubling.

But, J.H. Williams is writing and drawing this series, so I know that it is going to be really beautiful. I loved his artwork in Promethea. While I believe that a good story can trump bad art, and that good art can rarely trump a bad story, it still is enough to pick up Batwoman #1 this week.

Batwoman #1
Creators: J.H. Williams III & W. Haden Blackman

Batwoman is Kate Kane a Gotham City socialite, whose father was in the military and she attended the military academy. She was kicked out after refusing to deny she was in a lesbian relationship. In Gotham City, she is confronted by a mugger, and she uses her military training to take him down. After the encounter, Batman helps her up, and she becomes fixated on the Bat Signal.

Following the Final Crisis, Batman was missing from Gotham City. Kate used this opportunity to become Batwoman, fighting crime in Gotham City as did her inspiration. She was connected to her former lover, Renee Montoya who became the superhero known as The Question.

Synopsis

A ghost-like female has been stealing children from the Hispanic neighborhoods of Gotham City. This apparition is called La Llorona, “The Weeping Woman.” Batwoman interrupts the apparition as it is attempting to steal children. A Hispanic family tells this to GCPD Detective Maggie Sawyer. Even though Batwoman interrupted the apparition, something stole their children.

Outside, Kate Kane is at the GCPD building, and stopped by a picture of Renee Montoya on the wall of honor (presumably dead). Maggie sees her and the two make a date for seeing a band.

Back at Kate’s home, she is apparently training her cousin Bette Kane (Flamebird of the Titans) to be her partner. Kate has burned the Flamebird costume, and is worried that Bette is not taking her role seriously. On patrol, they eavesdrop on a crime scene where Maggie Sawyer and Commissioner Gordon are investigating the body of a 13 year old boy in connection with La Llorona.

At the DEO (Department of Extranormal Operations), Agent Chase is assigned to investigate Batwoman with a possible connection to both the army and a terrorist group called Madusa. Batwoman’s file has been closed by her father, Colonel Jacob Kane who confronts Kate at her home. Kate reveals that her father knew that her twin sister was alive and turned into a supervillain.

Later, Batwoman is investigating the crime scene when she is approached by someone with a proposition.

Analysis

Ahhh, that’s much better! I haven’t read anything about Kate Kane since the series 52 ended, and I learned everything I needed to know in a single issue: Bette Kane is her partner, the GCPD is aware of her presence, she has a potential relationship with Maggie Sawyer, a potential mystery involving her twin sister, a terrorist group in Gotham that’s a potential threat, the D.E.O. is investigating her, and there’s a love/hate relationship with her father. See… is that so tough?

And the artwork is absolutely brilliant. I love the traditional 6 or 9 panel comic books, but I really love the center splash page design with art panels all around. It gives each page a sense of place and overall mood. You see this with David Mack’s work, and it is used wonderfully by Williams throughout the book. The only DCnU book that I’ve read where I wish I had the actual comic book in front of me, instead of the digital version.

The book was missing ‘something’ though: I’d say it was not enough of a hook of the main villain, and not enough of the motivation of why Kate Kane puts on the costume. And I must admit I was surprised to find that Batwoman would be investigating a potential supernatural villain, instead of something more mundane.

But, that said, an excellent debut.

Questions

  1. Is Renee Montoya actually dead? She has been The Question for a few years, and Kate knows this, so it shouldn’t just be that she’s missing. Kate seemed to be mourning her not missing her.
  2. I understand the haunted look for Kate, but she looked waaaaaay too pale. I know what they’re trying to do, and respect it, but it’s too pale even given that.
  3. Why is the DEO (assuming it’s still called the DEO) in the Lipstick building. Seemed like a play on the red color that is splashed throughout the book.
  4. Curious as to Batman’s relationship with Batwoman. He seems to respect her, but others have had a hard time gaining his respect.

Verdict

Yes, I would definitely purchase this book next month. The only reason I wouldn’t is to collect it in trade form later on, instead of reading the digital version. The artwork is so nice, that it actually is wasted on the digital screen (or at least my laptop screen). I’m not sure I’m all in on the series, but it certainly deserves a renewal for next month’s pull list.

A. (Beautifully Inspired)

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From → Comic Books, DCnU

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