Batwoman Reborn: Batwoman in Detective Comics; 854 August 2009 (Part One of Three)

Greg Rucka ,writer

J H Williams III, art

This….This is art.

Beautiful, interesting, compelling art.

I picked this comic up because I heard it featured Batwoman, lesbian socialite by day and crime fighter at night, and I figured that I couldn’t go too far wrong there.

The story isn’t that exciting, so far, but I don’t really care. The art is absolutely exquisite. *flails hands around*

The plot is pretty much this: Batwoman is trying to find the person who is leading this religion of crime in Gotham. They’re organized by covens, and sometime in the past they caught her and tried to kill her. The leader is coming into town, and Batwoman plans to be there. Dun dun dun. Or whatever. I don’t even care.

The episode starts with a lovely little fight slash victim interrogation. Just look at this page:

The top panel is especially nice. The body torsion is correct and the leg is right, unlike my last foray into current comics, and the pose works well with the page as a whole. There’s kind of a weird, bat shaped panel thing going on, which is clever, but which I liked rather than hated. The comic takes some odd approaches to panels in general, but I very much like the way the artist moves into and out of the frames, zooming and then pulling back, choosing key bits—like her hand—to focus on.

What I like about this page is the movement. It goes from frenetic, chaotic, to quiet, wham, focus on her hand and his face, and the whole mood changes.

The comic deals with both sides of Batwoman’s identity. Her crime fighter night life, as above, and her daytime self. This is a page where she’s talking to Pop (her father I assume, but haven’t really read far enough to know for certain).

There are several fascinating things about it. One, she’s wearing crummy sweats that make her butt look big. This is not an attractive outfit; it’s the kind of thing a real woman would wear to workout in, though, if she was at home. It’s intimate and real; showing a different and fallible, human, breakable side of her.

The colors are all of a piece in the home scenes: her bright red hair fits in with the rest of the landscape of skin, wood floors and warm walls, sunlight. Very alive.

It’s quite a contrast to the fight scenes where she looks like a fetish dom.

There’s a heavy sexual element to this comic, and so far I’m finding it both sexy and well done, rather than skanky (unlike, say, Amazing Spiderman, which I picked up and would have stomped on except then I would have had to buy it). The villain—but maybe I should talk about the villain next week. No, I’m sorry, I cannot resist talking about her now:

Look at this villain! What a fantastic and fun artistic contrast. The previous pages (which I have resisted scanning, but only barely) often focus on Batwoman’s dark red lips. The villain also has painted lips. And a fetish outfit. White and innocent, very frilly and girly compared to Batwoman’s butch femme dom outfit. The boots, too, are a contrast. These boots are white and tightly laced; Batwoman’s boots are red red red with a bat in the sole.

The villain is a beautiful foil for Batwoman. When they fight—Ah, but that is a tale for next week.

In short, I thoroughly enjoyed this comic and I do not care that it was 3.99 and I do not mind the ads or the weird and badly drawn extra or the fact that I had to drive someplace special to get it. I only hope I can talk lots and lots of you into reading it and discussing it with me. My only real complaint was some truly random bolding in the dialog. Nobody would have emphasized those words in speech, but that’s kind of a quibble.

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