Review Batwoman #2 by J.H. Williams & W. Haden Blackman

I read and reviewed Batwoman #1 last month, and I really enjoyed it. I was familiar with the character from the 52 mini-series a few years ago, but more familiar with the depiction of Kate Kane from the pen of Greg Rucka. But I was also extremely impressed with the artwork of J.H. Williams. I love artists that use the entire page to really capture an overall flow of the action on the page, and the mood of the story.

Now, I’m a story guy. I’d rather a good story with average art, than otherwise. But, obviously, it is the art that draws us into comic books in the first place. Otherwise, we’d read fiction, right?

So, with the exciting debut of the Batwoman regular series last month, let’s see if we can keep it up this month.

Batwoman #2: Hydrology Part 2 – Infiltration
Writer and Artist: J.H. Williams III | Writer: W. Haden Blackman

In the last episode:

  • A ghost like figure, called La Llorona) has been haunting the Spanish communities of Gotham City and stealing their children.
  • Kate Kane has been mourning the loss of Rene Montoya, when she is approached by Maggie Sawyer, and the two make a date.
  • Kate continues to train her cousin Bette, when Kate’s father pays an awkward visit.
  • DEO Agent Cameron Chase has been dispatched to Gotham City to find out the identity of Batwoman
  • While investigating a crime scene, Batwoman is confronted by Batman who has a proposition for her.

Synopsis

  • Kate and Bette are taking down a group of villains and talk about the recent events involving Batman and Kate’s father.
  • Agent Cameron Chase confronts Maggie Sawyer at a crime scene and informs her that she is investigating Batwoman.
  • Another boy is kidnapped by La Llorona at a church.
  • Kate and Maggie meet up in a club, as they discuss the current situation, and Maggie’s investigation of Batwoman.
  • Maggie Sawyer and the GCPD investigate a crime scene where two rival gangs have been slaughtered en masse.
  • Batwoman watches the crime scene, and is confronted again by Batman, who tells her about Chase.
  • After meeting Maggie Chase in her office, Batwoman investigates a boat house, when suddenly she is pulled under the water.

Analysis

The star of this book, in fact the main hook of this book, is the burgeoning relationship between Maggie Sawyer and Kate Kane/Batwoman. From Chase pushing Maggie to confront Batwoman; to Maggie and Kate talking about Chase at the club, but Kate stays very cool; to the confrontation between Maggie and Batwoman in the records room. So beautiful how Kate drops the business card of Cameron Chase in Maggie’s pocket. The act seemed much more intimate given the two characters involved.

The writers have successfully interwoven a lesbian love interest, a female master and student relationship, a crime mystery, supernatural elements, vigilante on the run from the law, father-daughter issues, and not to mention the whole Emperor Batman of Gotham and Female underling dynamic (Shogun and rogue Daimyo relationship?). So clever.

Okay, J.H. Williams art gets better each week. The scene of Batwoman talking about an army of Batmen, and the images of the different layers in the Bat-Universe are subtly in the background all around her and Bette is just tremendous.

Wonderful stuff, I tell you a very good use of art throughout the title. I think I said the same thing last month, but if there is ANY superhero title that you should purchase, just for the artwork, it would be this one.

I’m still not buying the vamp/Goth pale skin of Kate. I know it’s probably just an artistic technique to make her stand out even more. And I’m willing to leave it alone for creative license purposes, but still… I can’t say that it works.

An origin blurb! OMG an origin blurb! I don’t remember the last time I saw an origin blurb in a DC Comic! Wow… Wow, it’s like seeing the spotted red-tailed hawk or something!

Not that I think they are making Chase into a love interest. But the overall tension between Maggie and Kate, and then the additional normal tension between Maggie and Chase makes a strange triangle of powerful women. I don’t remember ever seeing that in comics before. New Territory Rules!

Okay, I’m not sold on La Llorona as a villain, so if I’m on the fence, how do new readers feel when the new villain is only on two pages of the story. And I loved the Religion of Crime being brought back in, but I really wasn’t sure what happened at the crime scene. I believe two gangs were fighting, and someone interfered. Or two gangs were fighting, and one of the gangs brought out some meta-humans to gain an advantage. This could have used some actual visual clues rather than dialog.

J.H. Williams made Batman funny AND in character! I wasn’t sure that was entirely possible:

  • “Getting you into a new costume isn’t really part of my Master plan”
  • “Keep Flamebird out of the Weeping Woman case until you know what you’re dealing with. Murdered side-kicks tend to come back from the dead as Super-Villains.

Two criticisms:

  1. I have no clue where the confrontation scene between Maggie and Batwoman takes place. Is this at the Gotham GCPD? Is this at the crime scene? Made me seem lost here.
  2. The Riptide of Doom to end the episode was really cheesy. If it was caused by the villain, then we should see the villain, and not some glimpses of something that might be the supernatural villain.

Tasteless Rude Guy Statement

The whole book is extremely female positive, and rightfully so. It is not meant as eye candy, and rarely takes that position in the pages. However, I don’t think I’ve ever seen the female bosom as pointy as I did during the early action scenes of this comic. It’s not a complaint, nor a criticism, just merely an observation from a man who’s mind visit the gutter for conjugal visits from time to time.

Verdict

Okay, this issue is good… really good… And I’m certainly into buying issue #3. The team is putting very interesting pieces into place. But there’s something missing. There’s something more that I want. I want more of the overall mission, purpose, why Kate feels she needs to do what she’s doing. (I know I haven’t read the Detective Comics run with her in it…. You can’t read EVERYTHING!!!!). And her investigating a supernatural phenomenon seems a bit of a mismatch.

So basically, I think all of the pieces are phenomenal, but I don’t think the whole thing works together, yet. But you could do far far FAR worse, than that problem.

8.5 (Very Good, but need more central plot)

 

 

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