Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Batwoman #16 Review and *SPOILERS*

Batwoman vs. Batman



Written By: Marguerite Bennett
Art By: Fernando Blanco, John Rauch
Letters By: Deron Bennett

Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 20, 2018


*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

While the last issue of this series was something of a disappointment, it did leave us with one hell of a cliffhanger which pitted our hero Batwoman against one of the biggest heroes ever - Batman! I may not have liked the last issue but I am actually pretty excited to see how this goes. This series found some new life near its end. The Many Arms of Death storyline was dull and while some may have enjoyed it, the sales clearly show that those people were in the minority. However, we are nearing the end of this book and the choices that have been made have been mostly positive. That said, last month was another low point in a long series of low points. I am hoping that this issue will find its footing but we won’t know until we dive in and find out for ourselves so nevertheless…


So we go back for a moment to a scene from the last issue because we need to erase some things that happened at the end of last issue. It’s nothing big but we will get to it near the end of the review. Kate does her inner monologue thing as usual about how the bat has been a huge symbol to her throughout her life. We cut to Kate telling Julia to start spraying the city with the vaccine for the disease that Alice attempted to infect Gotham with. Kate is rushing back to her sister’s location to stop her from triggering a new mutation in the virus that she has just spread (not how viruses work but that’s for another time). When she arrives, she finds that Batman is about to confront Alice and Kate begs him not to. She attempts to reason with her sister. Batman finds an opening and tries to go for the trigger but Batwoman gets in his way, protecting her sister. In this moment of clarity, Beth takes control of her body from Alice and disables the trigger. However, Batman says that the damage has been done and Alice belongs in Arkham.


Beth loses control once again and Alice sets off explosives that open the roof below her. Batman pursues her while Kate contemplates how to approach the situation. It doesn’t take long for her to choose Beth as she is her sister. Kate attempts to reason with Batman, asking him to allow her to take Beth to a proper facility and take care of her. She argues that Arkham will not be able to get Beth the help that she needs. Alice throws a grenade at Batman and Batwoman pushes him out of the way but Batman then throws her aside, consumed by his new mission. Kate uses some military hardware to get Batman out of her way and then attempts to escape with Beth (who is still controlled by Alice).

We get a chase scene of Batman following the two which is accompanied with more dialogue of Kate thinking about how she has betrayed the symbol of the bat but that she would always choose her sister. She then comes up with a plan to stop Batman. She hacks into the sound system of the building they are in and has it play a sound clip of the gunshot from the same gun that killed Bruce Wayne’s parents. This puts Batman off for just a moment but that moment is all Batwoman needs to get the upper hand as she throws a large sculpture display down on Batman, pinning him to the floor. Batwoman reasons with Bruce once more and asks him to let her take care of Beth herself. Batman simply collects himself and tells Kate that Clayface was strike one and this is strike two. If she gets another strike, she’ll never be Batwoman again. Kate looks to the sky where Julia is spreading the vaccine and comes to the realization that Julia was the one that called Batman (despite the fact that in the last issue Julia straight up tells Kate that she called Batman. This is what was erased from the previous issue. You can say that Julia was just saying it to herself but you’re just coming up with excuses at this point.) Beth rushes out to Kate and Kate falls to her knees and hugs her sister and says she is sorry. This is where the issue leaves us.


I actually liked this issue for the most part. It was far from perfect and there were a lot of mistakes but I liked it. The art was good, the way Kate was presented was good and the fact that she beat Batman was good. However, there are a lot of issues that by themselves seem like simple details but in the grand scheme, derail the entire book. First off, in the last issue, Kate was rushing back to Beth because Julia told her that Batman was already there. But now, she’s going there to stop a virus mutation. Not only does that change the canon from the last issue but it’s inherently stupid. I get that there is some suspension of disbelief when it comes to reading comic books but that’s blatantly not how virus mutation’s work and even a reader that has a high school knowledge level of science should be able to figure that one out. Also, while I liked that Batwoman beat Batman, the way she does it is strange. I understand that Batman has become this god-like being nowadays but you’re telling me that he can immediately recognize a gunshot sound from a specific gun model that was used to kill his parents? I’m having an issue believing that. Then Batman just gives up the fight and gives Batwoman a warning. It’s not a great ending to this issue and Kate realizing that Julia called Batman is revisionist history.

Bits and Pieces:

This issue is pretty enjoyable. There’s lots of great art and action and I liked the way most story points played out. I felt that it was especially appropriate for a Batwoman title. That said, there are a lot of head-scratching moments in this book. It didn’t ruin this issue for me but I can see it turning off a lot of readers. A book shouldn’t make me think, “well that’s not how that works but okay…” The issue was pretty good though, even if the ending is a bit lackluster.

6.5/10

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