Hey gang! It’s that time of the week again where I emerge from my self-imposed isolation to babble about comics until I get tired, have a brief nap, and then wander off into seclusion again like some kind of comic-centric bear. This week, I’ve stumbled back into the nice safe embrace of DC Comics and one of my favourite Bat-themed superheroes. No, not the big B-Man himself, but rather his black-and-red themed offsider – this week, I’ve got my hands on Batwoman, written by Greg Rucka (52, Detective Comics, Lazarus and a bunch of other cool stuff) and drawn by J.H. Williams III (Detective Comics, Sandman: Overture).
Her promising military career cut short by intolerance and bigotry, Kate Kane has reinvented herself. No longer able to serve in the military, she has chosen a new way to serve the greater good: hunting down deranged criminals as the masked vigilante Batwoman. Inspired after a chance encounter with the legendary Dark Knight himself (unaware of his true identity as her cousin Bruce), Kate decides to don her own costume and fight the criminals infesting Gotham. When the Religion of Crime make their return to the streets of Gotham, they’re led by a madwoman styling herself after Alice (of Wonderland fame) from Lewis Carroll’s fairytale, who speaks in rhyme and wants to turn Gotham into her own twisted playground. However, deep beneath the madness and deranged theatrics, lies a long-kept secret, close to Kate’s own past.
While casual readers might look at a title like Batwoman and brush it off as yet another Bat-clone, I’d definitely suggest actually picking the book up and having a read. While there are the inevitable similarities between Batwoman and your traditional bat-centric stories, Kate has her own flair and style that makes her stand out (and it’s not just the red styling on her suit – though I am a big fan of the red Bat-symbol). Batwoman stories are predominately dark – often more so than traditional Batman stories – and her approach to crime fighting contrasts with Bruce’s established methods. Her military background means that there are lines she’ll cross that Bruce won’t, as seen in the captivating Rebirth-era Detective Comics run.
A big part of the appeal for this run is the art style; I loved J.H. Williams’ art style in Sandman: Overture, and it’s equally as fantastic here. His depictions of Kate – both in and out of costume – and of Alice in full nutjob getup are truly excellent. While the backup story – featuring a story that has simultaneous investigations run by Bruce and Kate – isn’t quite as interesting as the main story presented here, it’s still engaging enough to keep you hooked to the last page.
If you’re looking for a seriously classic Batwoman story, check this run out – it’s one of my favourite Kate-centric stories, and I think it’ll appeal to any fan of the Bat-family.