Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Review: 'Batwoman' #6--Reeder Takes the Reigns

Amy Reeder boards the Batwoman franchise
in issue #6, out today.

I knew this day would come and now it's finally here. Almost a year ago, Batwoman issue zero appeared on comic store shelves teasing artist J.H. Williams III's return to the openly gay heroine, Kate Kane, as well as her alter-ego, Batwoman. That said return happened nearly five months ago with the highly-acclaimed DC-relaunch of Batwoman #1. Now, five issues later, another return is taking place. Artist Amy Reeder (who co-penciled the art work on issue zero) returns as lead penciler for issues #6-10. Boy, does she have some big shoes to fill.

A splash page for Batwoman #6, pencils by Amy Reeder,
inks by Rob Hunter &Richard Friend, colors by Guy Major
In all honesty, there is no replacing the talent of J. H. Williams III. We, as an audience, must first and foremost understand and accept this fact. Could anyone replace him and match his talents? Maybe. But do we really want someone to crawl out from the DC laboratory as a super-engineered art clone? No, probably not. With Amy Reader working as the lead artist for Batwoman we should not judge her in comparison to J. H. Willi--awwwww, fuck it! Who am I kidding? I want Williams back and I want him back now. Don't wait for issue #11, he needs to return and redo issue #6 because this issue is garbage.

I honestly wish I had better things to say about this issue and Amy Reeder's art but it's very difficult to love a Batwoman comic when it is not drawn by Williams. I don't blame Reeder for my response to this comic, in all honesty I don't, But the main reason I purchased and invested in the Batwoman arc was to enjoy the mind-blowing artwork and details that Williams has to offer. It was bad enough before when Greg Rucka (an amazingly talented writer) opted out of the new series and now all the original creators have left the stage. Yeah, yeah, I can see eyes out there rolling because Williams is still writing the series but the story in issue #6 is just as dull as the artwork.

After we wrapped up a series of conflicts in Batwoman #1-5, our main protagonist Kate Kane/Batwoman encounters a new world of problems having refused Batman's offer of assistance because of blackmail and must now deal with Flamebird's (Kate's cousin Bette) near-death. This is a great premise for a new arc and a spring board for the talents of a seasoned artist like Amy Reeder. But the story isn't quite there in the issue. Funny too, because issue #6 contains not one but six---yes SIX--storylines. If you thought the first act in Pulp fiction was confusing just wait for this one.
Oh, lord... is 3D making it's way back into comics now too?

This comic does not deserve the title of issue #6. The comic acts as a bridge between the events from the first arc and the second arc, something which could have neatly been worked in via prose or an official prologue to this arc. Something along the lines of an issue #5.5 or a freebie to hand out at the comic shops to engage new readers. The fact of the matter is this; I paid $3+ for this comic and am left completely unsatisfied. Yes, I will return next month for issue #7 with high hopes but much lower expectations and that is a very sad statement to make about one of my favorite comic book series. If the new arc doesn't pick up in the next three issues you can guarantee I'll be checking out of the Gotham hotel until Williams return.

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