Art by: Ben Oliver and Marilyn Patrizio
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: January 11, 2017
While I have enjoyed Detective Comics for the most part, taking a little time out to spotlight Kate as she gets ready to star in her own book is fine with me. I loved the New 52 Batwoman book (yes, the whole run) and think that she is a great character who deserves a solo book all her own. So, does this beginning of the two part Batwoman Begins arc (love the name, by the way) show how great the book will be? Let's find out...
The issue opens with a flashback showing the good old, daddy-daughter days of Jacob and Kate Kane. Of course, they aren't at the carnival winning goldfish...Jacob is training Kate to be something "different" than Batman. It's a pretty cool scene that kind of mirrors Tim Drake's origin, but in a more sneaky, stealthy way. It also gives a hint at how Jacob really feels about Batman which is something that reader's of Detective probably don't need, but I like anyway.
In the present, Kate gets called away from monitoring her father to go with Batman to "Monster Town", the quarantined area where Argus is cleaning up/studying the aftermath of the Monster Men story. I know that a lot of people who frequent our site were not fans of the Night of the Monster Men, but it is kind of gory fun seeing hybrid seagull-humans (I call them Gullans), even if the scene is a bit silly. However, it does present the high stakes of the story going forward.
Enter Dr. Victoria October, a woman who looks like Rogue, but talks a good game and has a history with Batman. She tells the two crime fighters that the remains of Hugo Strange's Monster Men contained enough Monster Venom to turn the world into a living hell and that's not the worst part. Nope, the worst part is that it looks like Colony just stole a bunch of it!
The issue ends with "Colony Prime" showing up in the Belfry to free a seemingly unwilling Jacob just as Batman and Batwoman arrive to stop him. If it wasn't bad enough that Steph turned their tech on them last issue, this guy seems to be able to do the same thing here. I think Batman needs to call in the Geek Squad!
This is a very subtle start to the Batwoman Begins story and while it concentrates on Kate in the early flashback, the focus turns quickly back to the Monster Men aftermath and Colony. I'm not saying it's bad, but it already feels a bit stretched and out of focus to make the stakes super big, super fast. It's a pretty good Detective Story beginning, but not a great Batwoman one.
Ben Oliver's art looks good here and while his big panels make the story fly by, they also leave you feeling like you got half of an issue. It really flies by! Everything has a watercolor feel to it which I like and fits the tone of the book really well.
Bits and Pieces:
Batwoman Begins here, but I want more Batwoman and less Monster Men! I know that the key to this story is Colony and Kate's ties to her father, but overall, this story felt like it needed a sharper focus. Ben Oliver's art is good and there is nothing wrong with this as a setup issue to the next arc of Detective, it just felt lacking as the Batwoman story it was advertised as.