Review: Batwoman #1

Written by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman, Art & Cover by J.H. Williams III

Solicitation Info (from Previews): At last! Batwoman’s new series begins, from the multiple award-winning creative team of J.H. Williams III and Haden Blackman! In “Hydrology,” part 1 of 5, Batwoman faces deadly new challenges in her war against Gotham City’s underworld – and new trials in her life as Kate Kane. Who or what is stealing children from the barrio, and for what vile purpose? Will Kate train her cousin, Bette Kane (a.k.a. Flamebird), as her new sidekick? How will she handle unsettling revelations about her father, Colonel Jacob Kane? And why is a certain government agency suddenly taking an interest in her?

Bias: The solicit information certainly seems interesting, and the artwork is nothing short of stunning, but again, Bat-books usually just don’t appeal to me.

What I liked: Honestly, I didn’t expect to like this book, so I was surprised to find that I enjoyed it. I already knew the artwork would be amazing – and not just the illustrations themselves, but the layout as well. I enjoyed the supernatural element (though I get the feeling this is a Scooby Doo thing – it’ll turn out to be old man Withers – which isn’t a bad thing; it certainly fits the setting and theme). There was a lot of history behind the character that was referenced, but I never felt completely lost (some of the illustrations on the page where they cover her history were meaningless to me, but that was mostly it.)

What I disliked: It felt too much like Batwoman is simply a Batman knock-off. I would like to see more of what makes her different from Batman. Also, and amusingly, I had a problem with the relationship between her and her sidekick. I say amusingly because it’s the opposite problem I had with Batman and Robin – I disliked the way Batwoman treated Flamebird. Maybe it’s just me, but even though Batwoman is older and has more training, Flamebird has been a super hero for longer, having a long history with the Teen Titans (which, to their credit, they at least referenced in this issue). Anyway, it kinda grated on me that Batwoman was being so critical of Flamebird.

Verdict: I’m still on the fence on this one. I’ll pick up the next issue to see, but when I say that I’m generally meaning “they better impress me, or I’m done.” This one’s more of a “I’m leaning toward continuing to collect past that, depending on if certain elements (mentioned under “What I dislike”) don’t get any worse.”

As always, SPOILERS in comments, including my favorite scene, thoughts on what happened, and questions about what’s to come.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Review: Batwoman #1

  1. My favorite scene was the opening sequence. The artwork conveyed the creepiness factor, and even though I do believe this will turn out to be a Scooby Doo situation, I’m genuinely curious to see how the villains pull it off and why. (Even if it turns out to actually be supernatural, that would be fine with me – heck, I’d be more impressed if it did! I’d mentioned that I would like to see more differences from Batman, and that would certainly be a way to do it, and would fit in with the whole prophesy and criminal, religious nutjobs trying to kill her…)

    So…the urban legend involves a woman who let her kids drown and then committed suicide. Yet there were three ghosts (a woman who could be the mother, but then a much older woman, and a straight up skeleton), so I’m thinking that there’s more to that story than was part of the legend. The old woman ghost is the one who requires that a child be drowned (and it always seems to be the oldest child present during the abductions). The police were trying to find bodies in the river, but we’ve seen in the opening scene that it has nothing to do with a body of water – the ghosts generate the water themselves. I’ll be curious to see what the story behind these ghosts really is (whether it’s supernatural or a complicated cover story for the abductions), and why the children from that particular part of the city are being targeted…

    Also, the DEO is after Batwoman’s secret identity, but of more importance, they’re tracking “a new international security threat that set up shop in Gotham called Medusa.” I wonder if this is related to the kidnapped children, or is a subplot that will be explored further later on…

    One last mystery (that I’m sure will be revealed next issue): what is Batman’s proposition for Batwoman?

    Just one quick note about Batwoman’s treatment of Flamebird (as I’ve already harped on it enough in the non-spoiler review): I would’ve decked Batwoman if she’d burned my costume (or, at least, tried.) That was rather screwed up.

    Oh, and the mysterious, hooded figure was on the top panel of page 23, in the crowd.

  2. J.H. Williams III did a Commentary Track over at Comic Book Resources that filled in a lot of the question marks I was left with – check it out at http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=34397

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