Thursday, September 15, 2011
COMICS: Batwoman #1
Williams returns to Kate Kane's crimefighting career as artist and co-writer of the new Batwoman solo title, working alongside writer W. Haden Blackman to craft a first issue that - while not particularly ambitious - is among the more beautifully crafted things in DC's relaunch so far.
Drawing on the events of the Batwoman: Elegy arc, the book begins with Kate Kane estranged from her father and mentoring her cousin Bette (the former Flamebird) in the ways of female vigilantism. The pair leap through Gotham, fighting low-rent hoods for the sake of Bette's training, but all the while Batwoman is on the hunt for clues in the case of a mysterious female spectre that seems to be abducting kids and drowning them, and a certain shadowy ops group is on the hunt for the Batwoman.
Williams' art is the star of the show. That might not be deliberate, but it's true. It just screams out at you to be stared at. As with his past Batwoman work, he constructs elaborate full-page spreads that swirl and swoop through panels like no other art in mainstream comics. His characters look simultaneously real and magical, like they're being seen through some kind of fantastic veil.
As far as the story, it works, but it feels in places like Williams and Blackman are trying to cram too many things into one issue. Kane's issues with her father, training her cousin and trying to solve a deadly case are all given as much time as possible, and it feels like if just one of them could have been played down, the story would've been much more immersive. As it is, it feels like a sampler of what's to come, which might work out, but at this point it's hard to tell.
Despite that, Batwoman #1 comes out at the higher end of DC's relaunch material. Brilliantly drawn, well-scripted and, though shakily plotted, good enough to make you want to keep reading.