Saturday, September 24, 2011

The New 52 Review: BATWOMAN #1


WRITERS: J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman
ARTIST: J.H. Williams III
COLORS: Dave Stewart
LETTERS: Todd Klein
32pp, Color, $2.99

Hydrology Part 1: “Leaching”

Batwoman first appeared in Detective Comics #233 (cover July 1956) as the Bat-Woman. Created by Bob Kane and Sheldon Moldoff, Batwoman’s alter ego was Kathy Kane, and she was a crime-fighting rival to Batman. With the re-launch of DC Comics superhero line, “The New 52,” Batwoman gets a new comic book series, and while she is still secretly Kathy Kane, today’s Batwoman is different from the original Kane.

Batwoman #1 finds Kate is in the midst of relationship drama – a new girlfriend and the return of her hated father, Col. Jake Kane. She has her hands full with a strange ghostly villain, La Llorona, who is kidnapping children. Meanwhile, Batwoman takes on a partner/plebeian, Bette AKA Flamebird, but she doesn’t even know about the Department of Extranormal Operations and their new Gotham operation.

The last time I read Batwoman it was in Detective Comics #854, written by Greg Rucka and drawn by J.H. Williams III, and for me, it was a dull reading experience. I must commend co-writers W. Haden Blackman and Williams because this first issue of Batwoman is anything but dull. I counted four major subplots and three others that were introduced by hint. Every few pages, the story shifts to another scene, but because all these scenes either have interesting characters or involve intriguing subplots, the story flows quietly beautifully without a hitch.

Obviously, the beauty and “floetry” comes from J.H. Williams’ efficient visual storytelling, which is composed of his exquisite art. There is no doubt for me that Williams and colorist Dave Stewart are a match made in comic book heaven. For scenes involving Batwoman, the police, and the more fantastical elements of the story, Williams presents compositions that shimmer with light and stream across the pages, for which Stewart creates a smoky watercolor effect. Williams presents the character drama pages in a retro style that Stewart’s colors with an Art Deco effect.

Apparently, Williams will not be drawing all the issues of Batwoman, but I will certainly stay with this title as long as he and Stewart are doing this voodoo that they do so well.


September 14th

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