Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Batwoman #11 Review and *SPOILERS*

They Call Me Mr. Pyg!

Written By: K. Perkins
Art By: Scott Godlewski, John Rauch
Letters By: Deron Bennett
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: January 17, 2018

*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

Looks like we are taking a quick break from Marguerite Bennett’s writing as this latest issue of Batwoman is being taken on by K. Perkins. Perkins has written Supergirl in the past and has recently been connected to the Superwoman book. While I am excited for a break from Bennett’s long dragging path through the Many Arms of Death, I wouldn’t expect K. Perkins to deviate that much as she is only being brought on for a single issue and Bennett will return on issue 12. That said, maybe Perkins will shock us and give us some quality Batwoman content that most of us have been starving for. Let’s just jump right in and let the issue speak for itself.

Our issue begins and I had to double check that I hadn’t missed something but we pick up in the middle of a crisis as Batwoman is breaking into the Sequoia. Apparently Julia Pennyworth has been abducted and Kate blames herself for being distracted. This is a recurring theme in Bennett’s run of this series. Kate is apparently easily distracted which I find odd for someone who was trained to be a soldier but I digress. She begins to find clues from the crime scene and some papers relating to some missing tourists. At this time we see a flashback to the attack on Julia. She fights back pretty well but in the end she is knocked out and taken away by boat. Kate is able to find a piece of a mask that was knocked off the attacker by Julia and her investigation begins!

We cut to a couple tourists who are visiting the Pyramids of Giza and taking your typical pictures. The two decide to go out to try and pick up some girls, claiming that they like ginger boys. Oddly enough, the two don’t look ginger until the end of the issue but sometimes that happens with certain coloring styles. After striking out, one of the tourists goes to the bathroom where he is attacked and kidnapped by the men with masks on their faces. They bring him back to a hidden lair that is being run by Professor Pyg. We immediately cut back to Batwoman who is now running tests on the mask piece and she runs by an element that she thinks sounds familiar.

Flashback to a Halloween where Kate and Beth are about to go trick-or-treating. Beth doesn’t want to go because of her arm cast and so Kate comes up with the idea to put on toilet paper to go as mummies instead of pirates. The two are able to enjoy the holiday because of this. Somehow this memory makes Kate remember that the element is the main component of porcelain. I’m not sure how she got there. Maybe the toilet paper connected her to a toilet which is made of porcelain? I’m not sure. The DNA that Batwoman finds on the mask belongs to one of the missing tourists so Batwoman dawns her uniform. We cut to Pyg who continues his experiments. Julia attempts to reason with him telling him that he will kill the people he’s experimenting on. This leads Pyg to decide that she will be next.

Meanwhile, Kate has decided to run around the streets of Cairo for leads. She begins to doubt herself and has a flashback to when she was kidnapped as a kid. Kate’s thoughts continue to race before she is able to luckily come across a random Pyg minion who is walking around. She is able to get the upper hand on this minion and begins to interrogate him before she is attacked by another minion who was hiding and waiting for his chance to strike. We cut just before the minion is about to strike down on Batwoman. Meanwhile, Pyg’s experiment on Julia is about to start. He revs up his saw when he is interrupted by none other than Batwoman. She was somehow about to defeat the minions and get on their boat and go directly to Pyg’s hideout. Or she was knocked out, woke up, freed herself after reaching the hideout and defeated the goons. It’s never shown.

Pyg, his minions, and Batwoman start brawling and it’s clear that Batwoman has an upper hand. However, after she has freed Julia, Pyg reveals that he knows a lot about her past and that he learned it from Alice. This obviously throws Batwoman off and despite her best attempts, Pyg is able to escape. In the aftermath, Batwoman is forced to rethink how she chooses to go about dealing out justice. She clearly thinks that her current method isn’t working anymore and she needs to take a new step. Kate then decides to go where it all started and tells Julia to meet her in Brussels so she can meet Safiyah. This is where the issue ends.

Unfortunately the majority of this issue suffers from a lot of the same things that the Batwoman comic has continued to suffer from. I think it’s clear that Perkins came up with a story for Batwoman and then decided to try and shove it all into one single issue. This is why so much of the story is skipped and we’re left to pick up the pieces. Honestly, I would have happily traded the scene with the tourists in the bar for the scene where Batwoman discovers the hideout after defeating Pyg’s minions. I’m all for using our suspension of disbelief but this is going a bit far for that. Why wouldn’t the boat with all the Bat-Tech on it not have a security system apart from Batwoman? Why wouldn’t the computer be able to tell Batwoman that the mask was basically porcelain? Why did the fact that it was made of porcelain make Batwoman decide she need to patrol the streets? There’s a long list of simple questions that don’t make a lot of sense and I get the feeling that they are that way because the writer had only a single issue to tell this story. This is a pretty basic by-the-numbers story that doesn’t give us a whole lot to work with. It’s not the worst thing this series has given us. Hell, I’d rather read more of this than what we’ve been getting with the Many Arms of Death but it’s still isn’t really that good.

Bits and Pieces

While it was a welcome departure from the Batwoman story we’ve been getting for the past year, this book falls a bit short and it’s clear that the writer was only given a single issue and tried to crush a larger story into those pages. It’s very straight forward and not in a good way. Many of the things that happen are questionable and border on deus ex machina—a tired and horrible storytelling element that writers only use when they’ve written themselves into a corner. It’s better than it has been but not by much and we go back to the same old same old in the next issue.


1 comment:

  1. "Kate is apparently easily distracted which I find odd for someone who was trained to be a soldier but I digress."

    That's kind of a big character trait of Kate's. When people she cares about are in danger, she tends to either get extremely pissed off or freeze up a little (BSODing, you could say). Sometimes both. Every one of her main writers has touched on that point to some degree.

    "Why wouldn’t the boat with all the Bat-Tech on it not have a security system apart from Batwoman?"

    Was there any indication it didn't? Maybe the Dollotrons just stormed the ship, or deactivated the alarms, or didn't trip them in the first place.

    "Why wouldn’t the computer be able to tell Batwoman that the mask was basically porcelain?"

    Because porcelain (or at least this porcelain) is a composite material.

    "Why did the fact that it was made of porcelain make Batwoman decide she need to patrol the streets?"

    That's not why she decided that. Kate knew that people were being kidnapped locally, so if she spotted a kidnapping in progress, that would be a likely suspect. The DNA on the porcelain just confirmed that it was related to Julia's case.