Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Review: 'Batwoman' #1--Kiss Me, Kate Kane

Here we are. The third week in September and DC's new 52's continue to take the comic world by storm. Whether that's good or evil, I'll let you level headed readers decide for yourself or take it to the many discussion-boards devoted to such. Along with this week's batch of revamps comes one of the most long awaited series in the DC Universe, mainly because this character has yet to receive her own official run in a comic book. And yes, that character is a she. And that "she" happens to be non-other than Kate Kane, otherwise known as Batwoman. And (thank the almighty Cthulu!) she's back and ready for "action" in an all new five-issue starting series called "Hydrology."

After picking up a copy of Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III's initial run with Batwoman in Detective Comics #854-863, I knew I was in love with this character. No, not in some freakishly put-a-crimson-red-wig-on-my-girl-friend-in-the-middle-of-the-night kind of way (eww... what's wrong with you for thinking that?). But rather for DC's willingness to take a leap and spearhead the lacking attitude of homosexuals in mainstream comics. Of course this cultural issue is merely a small engraving in a greater landmark achievement and was helped drastically by Rucka's talented hand and the ever-alluring illustrations and mesmerizing layouts from Williams mind. However, when I first heard Rucka decided to work on more creator owned titles and left the helm of Batwoman, my heart plunged into an oxygen-deprived abyss to worry about the new series' rhythm and continuity. It helped to see Williams listed as a co-writer, but what about this W. Haden Blackman guy? In the world of comics, writers and artists come and go. Time to buckle up and take a ride with a new creative team.

Worry not. Batwoman issue 1 delivers.

Fans of the Detective Comics arc will be happy to know that this "first" issue is actually a continuation of Rucka's story. And what a story it is! Williams and Blackman continue to dabble in the paranormal/occult with the incorporation of Mexican folklore; the story of The Weeping Woman (aka La Llorona) as introduced to be a new Gotham villain. So far this villain is making quite the name for herself by kidnapping and drowning children by the masses. If this isn't haunting enough, then check out William's phenomenal artwork which is just pitch perfect for the eerie tone:

Of course anyone whose read Alan Moore's Promethea understands what to expect of Williams. But man-o-man is it great to see him work on a brand new monthly series! The seemingly simple story doesn't stop there. Other than the vile, ghostly woman, we are stolen for two pages to the Department of Extranormal Operations where Director Bones, a talking skeleton who smokes a cigar, gives Agent Chase orders to capture and unhood Batwoman. If there is anyone meant to depict Director Bones it has to be Williams--the plumes of smoke drifting from his eye-sockets is wonderfully executed. We are also given a glimpse at Kate's new role as mentor and trainer to Teen Titan's former member Flamebird, aka Bette Kane, who also happens to lose her costume in an "accidental" fire. Can this mean a new costume in the works? And to seal this comic with a kiss, we are left with a long overdue and most expected meeting between Batwoman and the Dark Knight himself. Bravo DC, bravo.

Don't worry, new readers. If you're afraid to submerge in an ongoing story, the creators of this issue give a very brief summation of the Detective Comics arc in this issue. As for everything else in the comic, it's all new  and meant as a new starting point. I strongly encourage all comic readers to pick this issue up. The art alone is worth the three dollars. Don't believe me? Take a glimpse at this:

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