Saturday, October 15, 2011

Review: Batwoman #2

I'm still not used to having a Batwoman book every month. I feel like Batwoman should be a rare treat- something I wish I could enjoy all the time, but I only get to have every so often. But if DC's willing to give me a new issue of Batwoman every month, than I'm more than willing to read it, and it was with great joy that I tore into my copy of Batwoman #2. When I read the book's opening action scene, I felt like the words "SOCK!" and "POW!" should be appearing on my page, accompanied by a familiar series of dunananananas. JH Williams III takes the bright colors of flash associated with Batman in the 60's and somehow marries it perfectly to his Batwoman style. It made Bette's neutral costume stand out on every page, and gave the book a high level of energy right from the start.

But for me, the highlight of the book wasn't the action scenes, but the relationship between Kate Kane and Maggie Sawyer. Their chemistry felt so natural here, and the two of them had some really fun moments. I especially loved Kate's little bow as she walked away. I feel like having Maggie around makes Kate try a little bit harder, and brings out great aspects of the character we don't often get to see. I grinned right along with Batwoman when she smiled with pride from the rafters, and the expression on Kate's face when she asked about the children was a very nice touch. Williams really seems to have a good handle on writing Maggie Sawyer, and I'm excited to see how he develops the character.

While it's a minor complaint, I felt like the book's delay really stood out this time around. Batwoman debating whether or not to join Batman Inc. feels a bit pointless, considering we already saw her working with Batman Inc. in issues 4 and 5 of the series. I also wish we'd seen a little more of Bette this time around. Batman's warning would've had a little more punch if she'd had more pagetime, and I just really like the way she interacts with Kate. Still, there's so much going on in this issue that her minimal appearances are easy to forgive. I'm thrilled that Batwoman is giving so much attention to the supernatural side of Gotham, especially since it's not playing a role in any of the other Batbooks right now. I know we won't be seeing Alice again any time soon, but I'm looking forward to seeing more of the Religion of Crime all the same.

It looks like Batwoman is going to become the home for characters previously drawn by JH Williams III, and I have to say I'm pretty excited about that. In addition to the characters introduced in the last issue, I spotted Desolation Jones hidden away in a panel during the club scene. I suspect there are other easter eggs scattered throughout the series that have already been noticed by readers more astute than I. On that same note, Cameron Chase is an even better fit for Batwoman than I thought she'd be. She's not just a great foil for Kate, but a good one for Detective Sawyer as well. I loved that Chase suspected Sawyer of being Batwoman, and I'm curious to see how she'll affect the budding relationship between Maggie and Kate. I'm excited to see what happens when Chase and Batwoman finally get a chance to fight. I'm betting the dialogue will be as good as the action itself.

There's not much about JH Williams III's art I can say at this point without sounding redundant. His artwork is stunning, the way he switches up his style throughout the book is fascinating, and his page layouts are wonderfully intricate. I love that he got the chance to draw some monsters here. One in particular looks truly horrific, and I hope he comes up with some ways to showcase those skills soon. The comic still isn't very friendly to digital readers, and I definitely suggest getting a physical copy if you can. There are a few pages that seem like they'd be very challenging to read otherwise, and there are some great, subtle background details that could easily be missed.

Batwoman is still somewhat inaccessible to new readers, but for old fans of the character, this series is a win. The art is as amazing as ever, and both the plot and the character work continue to be great. Because of the way Williams renders his layouts, the comic takes a long time to read, and I really felt like I'd gotten my money's worth by the time I got to the end. If you missed out on Batwoman #1 last week, I strongly recommend picking up the reprint and getting issue #2 to go along with it. A monthly ongoing drawn by JH Williams III is a rare treat, one you should enjoy while you still can.

By Marceline with No comments


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