Batwoman seems like the kind of character that people wouldn’t want to read because of stupid, selfish reasons. I didn’t have any qualms about reading the series because I’m not a bigot but I can only imagine that to some people the idea of a “Batwoman” makes them mad, this is unfortunate. You know there’s probably at least one person in the world that was reading up on the New 52 and saw the title and thought, “PFFFFTT, NO! BatMAN not BatWOMAN!”. This person is foolish because “Batwoman” is one of the best Bat-books from the New 52 that I’ve read.
The comic is co-written by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman and these two have created one of the most unique and well written arcs of the reboot. I remember prior to the release of the number ones the series Batman: The Dark Knight was billed as being the series that would deal with paranormal and psychological stories, well, I’ve read “Batman: TDK” and this comic is how you SHOULD do paranormal stories.
The inaugural issue is one of the coolest introductions that you can do for the character. Sure it doesn’t provide a lot of history behind her, but there’s just enough that anyone who wasn’t a fan before would be able to get into it. Though as the series continues references to the pre-52 continuity might confuse new readers, although this shouldn’t scare you away from the book. This is well written and one of the most thrilling superhero comics I have ever read.
The characterization and antics of Kate Kane are unlike any of the other heroes in the DCU. She’s a little similar in tactics and execution, but her personal life does cloud her decisions as a cape and while that might make her “weak” to some, it adds a dimension to the character that we don’t see much with others (save for Hal Jordan, but at least Kate Kane’s personal vendettas aren’t recycled). There’s also a really interesting twist on sexuality put in the plot of this comic. The comic doesn’t try and be overtly sexualized like Catwoman or Harley Quinn in Suicide Squad. It uses the sexual identity of the character as forward motion for the story and her development as a character. She’s not placed in provocative situations for the hell of it and her identity isn’t flaunted as a marketing ploy, these might not seem important to you but they’re big pluses to some people (myself included).
Williams also does the art for the book which is the usual talking point for fans of the series when gushing about how incredible it is, and they’re not wrong. Many different styles and extras are included in the art here, it’s not just simple squares with people punching, talking, and walking in them. First of all the experimentation with panel layout is great. Much like Yanick Paquette’s work on Swamp Thing, there is nothing conventional about the way this story is told. The webbings of panels might be confusing for first timers to read but a season comic reader will find comfort in their nonconformist design and way of story telling.
I would be totally remiss if I didn’t mention that this has one of the most interesting color palates of the reboot. You wouldn’t think that a Bat-book that deals with paranormal entities would have a bold color selection but it does. The bright reds, very dark blacks, and pale whites mix beautifully on the page, this artwork is stunning.
If someone had asked me my favorite comic in the New 52 prior to my reading of this I don’t know what I would say, but if you asked me now Batwoman would certainly be a contender. This is a smart and personal comic. It has a rich beauty to the art and is masterfully put together.
Rating: 9.5 / 10