Sunday, January 15, 2012

Best Comics of 2011 No. 10: Batwoman

Net access remains problematic at home, so came in to work to get some stuff done. I'll post yesterday's entry and today's.
Up first, part of The New 52.
I've ignored most of the line for a while. I read the first Justice League, which struck me as a superhero hissy fit, and some of the early Superman stuff, which was well-done but didn't grab me.
Wonder Woman is well-written with decent art, but I loathe the latest revision of her origin.  I mean really? Instead of being the product of women's love of life, she's the result of an illicit union with Zeus? Really? How sad.
Batwoman, however, is something else.

J.H. Williams III has taken over the writing from Greg Rucka, and the character has retained her integrity.
And the book remains visually lush, with layouts that remind me of Colan's work on Dr. Strange.
In terms of plotting, for the most part Williams & co. are playing up Kate Kane's military background over her lesbian identity. This has created some challenges, as she takes her protege, the former Flamebird, into training, using boot camp techniques.
This is effective to a point.
The over-eager "cadet" breaks training and assumes her old costume to take on the villain of the day unassisted.
The results are, as we say, less than satisfactory.
This is my one sore spot with this run. As Flamebird is hors de combat, Kate is engaged in an amorous tryst. As Williams does parallel cuts between the two scenes, the effect is quite jarring and, for my money, more than a bit distasteful. I didn't like it when Cher and Bob Hoskins used a similar device in the film Mermaids, and I don't much care for it here. It does make some tense strorytelling, but as Trina Robbins once said about Spawn: ick.

The denouement of the scene uses an FBI agent whose appearance, at least, will be familiar to readers of Alan Moore's Promethea, also lovingly rendered by Williams.
Kane remains a worthwhile character in a perceptive book, the problematic "refrigerator" scene notwithstanding. I haven't picked up the latest issue yet, so I'm a tad behind on plot developments.
Sidebar for readers of The New 52: DC has announced TPBs of all the titles' initial storylines, with the odd exception of Wonder Woman.
One last thing I like about Batwoman: the skull-faced FBI director is a very compelling character!

Next: something familiar, yet vaguely not so.

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