Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Batwoman #1 Review and *SPOILERS*

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Written By: Marguerite Bennett, James Tynion IV
Art By: Steve Epting, Jeromy Cox
Letters By: Deron Bennett
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: March 15, 2017

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

The first issue of this new Batwoman series left me… let’s say underwhelmed. That said, plenty of people enjoyed it but now we get to the true test as we are about to dive into the very first story arc of this new series. Sure, the rebirth issue stumbled out of the gate but if the main series is done right this book will be able to stick the landing. What do we know about this story so far? Well, we learned about the “lost year” that Kate had and she apparently spent her time in Coryana. Now she has to hunt down the monster venom drug as it has hit the black markets around the world. Let’s just dive right into issue number 1.

Our issue begins with some dialogue from Kate who talks about the idea of inflicting the most pain possible. She starts about talking about physical pain but it clearly leads into her talking about warfare and terrorism. We follow a many who is in Kapalicarsi which is one of the biggest markets in the world. The man seems to notice something and then pulls out a syringe from his backpack and goes to inject himself. Batwoman suddenly swoops in and clears the area of civilians as the man turns into a monster. Turns out that Batwoman is not alone in this journey to hunt down the drug. She has her own Pennyworth with her—Julia Pennyworth! Julia sends Kate’s motorbike into the fight and with it, Batwoman is able to best the monster.

The monster begins to turn back into the man and Kate immediately begins to interrogate him. She doesn’t get far though as all he is able to say is “the many arms of death” before a dagger is launched into his skull. Kate looks behind her to see an assassin standing behind her. The assassin has several markings on her face and the two lock eyes before the assassin flees. Batwoman gives chase but the assassin evades her and Kate is unable to pick up her trail. So, Kate returns to her base. A yacht where all her equipment is stored and Julia works out of.

Kate and Julia exchange some clever dialogue before they get back down to business. Julia and her Batcomputer analyze the blood of the victim on the knife in order to get a new lead as to where the monster venom is coming from. It’s from Coryana. As they embark towards Coryana, Kate and Julia speak once again. Turns out that while they have a good working relationship, Kate is still apprehensive about Julia. She considers the fact that Julia could very well just be Batman’s spy in order to keep an eye on Kate. Julia simply doesn’t respond to the accusation but instead asks Kate about Coryana.

We get a flashback now to the “lost year” where we see Kate swimming underwater. While doing so, she suffers from a head injury and it looks like curtains for Kate but she is saved by the woman we know to be Safiyah. Kate awakes in a mansion and is nursed back to health by a man named Rafael. Rafael is Safiyah’s right-hand man. After she recovers so more, Kate leaves her bed and runs into Safiyah who is currently in a meeting. We go back to the present where Kate has arrived in Coryana once again. She dawns her Batwoman outfit as the ship hits the pier. However, her costume doesn’t stop her from being recognized. A man at the end of the pier knows it’s Kate immediately. It is Rafael but something is wrong. Blood starts to trickle from his mouth and we quickly see that he has a knife in his back. He asks Kate why she came back as he falls to the ground. This is where the issue leaves us.

This is more like it! Granted, the issue is far from perfect but I like the direction this book is headed. First off, it’s nice to see that Julia Pennyworth has shown back up and now is teaming up with Batwoman in this book. Plus, I found the dialogue between the two to be very smooth and clever. Also, while I found the art to be decent in the rebirth issue, I found it to be of a much higher quality this issue. In addition, the comic is slowly giving us the backstory between Kate and Coryana while still leaving us with more questions. It’s a brilliant way of revealing things. Give the audience a little taste so they want to keep coming back for more. That said, the issue is still very much setting up the story that is to come. Set up is rarely very exciting but this book does it’s best in that regard. I’m excited to see one of my favorite characters shine once again in her own series and this has gotten me very optimistic for the future.

Bits and Pieces

While the issue is mostly about setting up what is to come, it does so with clever dialogue, beautiful art, and wonderful storytelling. This is a much different issue than the rebirth one-shot and that’s a good thing. This could be the beginning to a great story. I’m keeping my fingers crossed and I’m staying optimistic.


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