Saturday, May 24, 2014

Batwoman #31 Review

Written by: Marc Andreyko
Art by: Jeremy Haun
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: May 21, 2014

Case Closed



Batwoman #31 brings the Wolf Spider arc to a close and while it was pretty predictable, I enjoyed it nonetheless.  Marc Andreyko and Jeremy Haun used this arc to not only set the tone of their run, but set up a more personal story to boot.  Batwoman is just as much a book about Kate and Maggie as it is about Batwoman.  That's a good thing because the promise of the upcoming villain does nothing for me.  However, we're not here to talk about the future (much), but if this issue is any good.  The quick answer is yes and no, but mostly yes.



Kate begins the issue by telling us that mysteries aren't her thing.  That's an understatement.  I won't spoil it, but everyone but Kate knows who the Wolf Spider is.  Luckily, Wolfie is just as bad at this and doesn't know that Kate's Batwoman.  Normally this would be a bad thing, but Andreyko has used it to create a playful tension between the two throughout the story.

In fact, the backdrop mystery throughout this arc has played second fiddle to the relationships between the characters.  It seems to be there to get the players from point a to point b and cause conflict between Batwoman and Wolf Spider.  Even so, this issue's conflict is pretty damn good.  Batwoman shows her forte with gadgets that would make Penny and Brain jealous while Wolf Spider remains as snarky as ever.  In the end, Wolf Spider gets away, but shows he's not that bad a guy.  More on that later.

When she's not throwing batarangs and shooting a crossbow, Kate has to deal with everyday life.  Like I said a couple times already, this is what makes this book special.  Yes, Kate and Maggie are a gay couple. A gay couple in a custody battle for Maggie's daughter, Jaimie.  You know what else they are?  Two people who love each other and will do whatever it takes to make it work.  As the book ends, Kate shows how much she wants it to work by doing something I thought we wouldn't see again.  It's a subtle but great moment.

In the end, we get the Wolf Spider reveal and again, no one should be surprised.  I know he'll be back and I'm alright with that.  I don't know what his game is...in it for kicks, the money, some dark past?  I don't care, he's fun and his relationship with Kate makes it that much better.  However, this issue (and arc) make it obvious that Nocturna is the next villain.  I'd like to say I'm excited or I hate it, but I really don't care either way.  That's not good, but we still have Maggie and Kate.  I am excited for the upcoming custody battle and will go along with whatever else goes along with that.

Jeremy Haun has been getting better with each issue.  The action scenes are good, but his facial work has improved by leaps and bounds and makes the personal aspect of the book even better.

Bits and Pieces:

Batwoman #31 ends Andreyko and Haun's Wolf Spider arc, but everything takes a backseat to Kate and Maggie's relationship.  The Wolf Spider was a nice diversion and I hope to see him somewhere down the line, but I'm more looking forward to the custody battle looming on the horizon.

7.0/10

2 comments:

Erin said...

Good review. Thanks for this awesome blog!

What's really interesting about the Nocturna thing is that from solicits for upcoming issues a lot of people on tumblr and elsewhere in the fandom are starting to think DC is going to make Kate a vampire too! She definitely wiil be in her issue of the Futures End event, but the solicits for her own, regular continuity series seem like they're going that way as well and i have very mixed feeling about it. The big question is, is DC doing a bold new direction for Batwoman or is this something that will go on for a few issues and then go away. It seems to me like this how they my break Kate and Maggie up, at least for a time.

So yeah, mixed feelings. On the one hand, this series has always been on the supernatural side of things (and lets be honest, JHW III was always playing off of vampiric imagery with his work on Kate's look) and also i do get a thrill from the idea of Kate with real superpowers. On the other though, I seriously worry about losing what makes Kate so great. She is a mirror of Batman, made through willpower and determination.

Also worth mentioning that this comes after an April interview where Andreyko promised "seismic changes" for Batwoman. Also worth thinking about, her Futures End issue solicit, while again, we don't know if it's canon, says that Nocturna was Kate's lover at some point. If this whole vampire thing actually does tie into the regular series, then what does that say about Kate and Maggie. Does Nocturna seduce her? Maybe Kate becomes and vampire and Maggie can't have her daughter around that and leaves and Kate gives in to Nocturna in a time of vulnerability.

Jim Werner said...

Thanks for the awesome comments. I think you have me more excited for Nocturna now! I do like the idea of Kate with powers, but I am just afraid they are going to ruin the dynamic of Kate and Maggie. I really like what Andreyko has done and I think he really nails the "voice" of the book. I guess I have to wait and see . Him and Haun came into the book with alot stacked against them and have done a really good job.

I really hope Kate doesn't become Nocturna's lover, but I have to admit that the Futures End cover looks amazing. If it gets more people reading then I guess I'll have to eat my words because this book deserves a bigger audience.