Let me start by saying that Kate Kane is rapidly becoming one of my favorite characters in the DCU new or old. Yes it may be that I, like many of you, am irresistibly drawn to a red head in a bat suit, but that would not do Kate justice. She is dynamic, strong, and like her name sake, always hinting to readers a crazy undertone that makes you question, “Is this really a hero or someone with a rampaging vengeance?”
Now on to the book! With the new 52 arriving, I for one have been picking up a lot of books that I was not actively following before. As a result, like many of you, I am a little lost on some of the more vague references that DC is using to inform readers what is still in continuity. This is not the case with Batwoman, as a matter of fact, from what we see in the first book, all of Kate’s history is intact. This makes sense as DC has repeatedly said that everything from the last few years has remained in continuity and Kate has only been around since 52.
With Rucka leaving and the series being delayed time after time, there has been legitimate concern about what this final product would be. Let me put any fears to rest, J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman pick up right where we left off from Kate’s Detective run. In the course of one book they manage to introduce an eerie supernatural case, establish the players in Kate’s life, and cover the high points of everything that has happened until now. More importantly they manage to do it with no over the top exposition, or even some of the self loathing thought bubbles that are often used as writing tools. The book’s pacing is perfect and interestingly they almost hold Kate back a little bit. This is to great effect, as it gives her an introverted feel that plays well with Williams’ artwork.
As to the artwork, it is really the star here. Williams’ splash pages are eerie, beautiful and just flow off the page. The panels are laid out in a way that could be seen as cluttered and hard to follow, but they not only work, they enhance the story. They become the vehicle for getting the reader caught up on everything that has happened to this point. Often I feel conversation and story can suffer from atypical splash pages; but Williams not only uses his pages to help tell the story, he makes the words part of the art. His faces have never been my favorite, often seeming overly detailed in some ways and bizarrely vague in others, but his work on Kate both in and out of costume is completely on point. Kate also has a much darker appearance, which matches the tone of the story, the art and all the chaos going on in her life.
The book is easily one of the better ones I have read coming out of the reboot. The La Llorona case has you vested right from the first page, with the help of fantastic colors by Dave Stewart. I am interested to see where Kate’s relationship with the reboot demoted Det. Maggie Sawyer goes, they both seem to realize that Kate is not over Renee. The relationship between Kate and Bette is already stacking up with little problems and issues; hopefully Bette will earn her costume back soon. And the crazed look you get from Kate when she is talking about her father goes to show this is a hero both on the rise and on the brink. With all the information so well provided to the reader in this first issue I cannot wait for the second. Did you enjoy it as much as I did? Let us know in the comments!