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.