The Review 52: Batwoman 1
Okay, full disclosure: I just started reading the Batwoman stuff in the old Detective Comics series. For what it’s worth I really liked it. I liked the art style and the character was really interesting. I am happy to say that this interest continues into this new series, and is one of my favorite of the New 52.
The issue starts out with a much more supernatural edge to a Batman related series that I have seen recently with a ghost woman stealing kids in the night. This is one of the things I like about the story they are going for. I know this probably wasn’t the intent but I actually find it kind of funny that you have this woman who is running around the rooftops at night dressed in black leather, red lipstick and a big red wig fighting fucking ghosts but she still takes it super seriously. At one point when prepping to go out with Bette, her cousin and teen superhero Flamebird, she says “You don’t need that garish costume, you need a uniform.” She says this as she puts on the Batwoman mask. Okay, that might have been intentional. But the rest of it is just so contradictory. You got children being drowned and kidnapped, and hard-boiled police investigations. Then you got a woman with enough red lipstick keep half the whores in Vegas primed for a week chasing down fucking ghosts. You could argue the same kind of thing for Batman, but his villains are usually dudes with powers or dudes in stupid costumes. This is just a fucking ghost. So good.
Another thing I like about this series is the character of Kate Kane. She is the first (and I think only) homosexual member of the Bat-family. This were a movie they would ride that fact hard. But here she just kind of is. It’s like Samus in the early Metroid games. The idea was that she was a woman and that’s it. It’s the same thing here. Aside from a couple of instances of pretty stereotypical lesbian moments (she wears suits instead of dresses, etc.) there aren’t any real moments where you can say “Yep, that’s a lesbian.” Most of the time she just looks like a goth chick. Fitting, in a way.
Also, the events of her life seem to have real weight on her. When she sees a picture of Renee Montoya, The Question, she reacts to it. Seeing Renee’s picture fazes her, which makes her a bit more interesting to me than Batman himself. Batman’s whole thing is there is nothing but the job. We saw this in Detective Comics 1. He misses out on a date with a woman he’s supposed to be involved with because he’s out Batman-ing. Kate actually takes the time out of her day to go out and get herself a date. She separates her life as Kate Kane from her life as Batwoman. That is probably why she looks like Uncle Fester. At least around the eyes, anyway.
There is a great contrast between Kate and Batwoman, too. When she is out of costume she smiles, she laughs, she enjoys life. When she is in costume, all business all the time. See the quote above for an example of that. The art is also contrasted between Kate and Batwoman. Kate, and even everyone else, has soft outlines and a very comic book art style. Batwoman is a lot cleaner and shinier, which is kind weird but I can dig it.
Speaking of art, it is really good. Like I said above, all the characters have a soft outline. I know I am probably using that description wrong, but that’s how I see it. Another thing it does is cross over borders. Sometimes it even uses the art on a page as a border. It all looks really great and I love it.
Batwoman 1 is a fantastic issue. The art is great, the character is one of my favorites in the Bat-family and the story looks like it’s going some interesting, supernatural places. Personally I cannot wait for it and this series will be one of the ones I will be reading for a long, long time.
Final Score: 5/5