Friday, November 26, 2010

Comic Book Review: Batwoman #0

Literary & Artistic Credits
Writer: J.H. Williams III & W. Haden Blackman
Penciller: Amy Reeder & J.H. Williams III
Inker: Richard Friend
Colorist: Dave Stewart
Letterer: Todd Klein
Cover Art: J.H. Williams III
Editor: Mike Marts

My Awe-Inspiring Opinion
Question for DC Comics…how does slapping a “zero” on the cover make an issue anymore important than if it were to just start as #1?

Don’t worry, I get it.  The “zero” helps to signify an introduction to a new title, allowing readers to know that the series hasn’t actually started yet.  But it helps to satisfy the awesome nerdgasms you hope your readers receive just by owning issue #0.  Well, Batwoman #0 does just that, but cuts off way to early for my tastes.

The story gives us no dialog between characters and relies on a motif of Bruce Wayne’s observational log as a way of following the mysterious Batwoman and her method of crime fighting.  As Batman stays hidden in the Gotham City sidelines, he attempts to discover the true identity of Batwoman.

Everything Katie Kane does, as far as her social life and crime fighting endeavors are concerned, is almost irrelevant to the inevitable conclusion.  I think we all knew that Kate is Batwoman just as easily as we knew Bruce Wayne was going to figure it out before the end of the 16 pages.  Interestingly enough, in taking on this task, Bruce displays one of his most defining attributes…his unrelenting need to protect the city of Gotham.  (He’s a good daddy.)  Surprising, though, is Wayne’s respect for the young woman’s tactile and hand-to-hand combat skills. 

I don’t pick up Detective Comics so I haven’t been following the vampiric looking, pale-faced bat during her time in said title, but I gathered a general impression that I think flows through into #0 very well which began with what had been established in Detective Comics.  Thanks to the writer-artist talents of Williams III and Amy Reeder, a mystical aura flushes rapidly through the pages and sets cleanly on my literary and artistic pallet.  The design of her costume, with the consistent toggle between color and black and white backgrounds helps with this feel and gives it, in many ways, a “Sin City” look.  While we are faced with a problem of knowing whose doing what with the art, and it being fairly confusing, a refreshing balance occurs when the styles switch from one artist to the next.  But the most visually appealing aspect of this book is the cover by J.H. Williams, and might very well be one of the best covers of 2010.

The big question I had in my mind throughout the entire prose was why Batman felt the need to uncover Batwoman’s identity, and more importantly, why he needed to know if it was Kate Kane or not.  The conclusion I came to was Bruce Wayne is just that type of superhero; making sure he knows everything about everyone, even if it means sitting behind while Batwoman gets her clock cleaned by a flock of the Religion of Crime gang.  (Which she walked away from without a scratch or bruise.  I know this negates the description of getting her “clock cleaned,” but I just wanted to use those two words in a sentence.  He he!)  This is neither a negative or positive aspect of the book, it’s just who Bruce Wayne is.

My biggest gripe about this issue is how I reached the middle of the book (you know, where the staples are visible?) and the story was over!  The comic then proceeds to give me a black and white preview of issue #1, which I hear isn’t due until February.  Not only that, but the first few pages of Detective Comics also trails at the end just like it has been doing in all the other comics coming out.  Why would I want to pay $2.99 for a comic that is only 16 pages long, contains a quarter of a comic I’ll most likely be paying either $2.99 or $3.99 for in February, and has a silly preview for Detective Comics at the end?  Very disappointing indeed.

My Majestically Climactic Conclusion
This new title shows promise.  I do hope the writing and artistry solidify into a much more focused and non-toggled appeal, but this is just me.  Batwoman certainly has become a hero to look for the future, hopefully Williams III can fling her into a fantastic beginning.

Rating: 8.66 out of 10
Writing: 7
Art: 9
Themes: 10 

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