Archives: “Batwoman II – The New 52 Hydrology (Volume 1)”

Originally published September 9, 2013.

DC Comics. Written by J H Williams III. Art by W Haden Blackman.Collects issues #0-5. 

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*Disclaimer: I wrote this review before the announcement that both Williams and Blackman would be leaving this title. I am incredibly disappointed by this news and DC Comics in general but it doesn’t change my opinion on this particular collection.

Kate Kane has returned to Gotham and has picked up the mantle of Batwoman. Though she attracts the attention of Batman, Gotham PD and a certain government agency she generally keeps to herself. This is what initially drew me to the character. She’s part of the Bat-family, but she isn’t as fully integrated as other characters like Batgirl or Robin. She’s her own person and she fights crime to the beat of her own drum. You can feel like you’re reading a Bat book but also feel like you’re reading something new and exciting.

Kate Kane is a fascinating character. She’s struggling with a lot of personal demons – her departure from West Point, family tensions, her potential partnership with her cousin Flamebird, a new love interest and her new role as a masked vigilante. I liked that she was a flawed character, but in ways you could relate to. I’ve never really been able to relate to billionaire Bruce Wayne. Though also from a wealthy family, Kate Kane feels more like a real person, in my opinion.

Though this is a New 52 title, I didn’t find it completely new reader friendly. I was unfamiliar with the character when I picked it up and I was left with a lot of questions when I was done reading. There are a lot of references to previous events or characters – like Renee Montoya. I have since read up on the character in preparation for the next volume but I’m not sure all readers would be willing to make the effort.

Another thing that sets Batwoman apart from other Bat-titles is that there is more of a supernatural element to it. I thought this was a good twist and made for an overall spooky tone. I felt like the story wasn’t as fleshed out as it could have been but overall it wasn’t a bad concept.

Probably the number one reason to read this title is the art. This book/series is the master of the double page spread. Seriously so many gorgeous pages that were a total feast for your eyes. This is some of the nicest art I have seen in a superhero comic. Unique colours, unconventional panels. Seriously, you could read this book for the art alone

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4 out of 5

– Christa

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