Warning: This review contains super spoilers for Batwoman #12.
On the first anniversary of Batwoman’s solo title release — that’s right, kids: an out-and-proud lesbian superhero has been headlining her own mainstream comic book for a full year now! — DC decided to throw a party and invite the most iconic female superhero of all time: Wonder Woman! Their dynamic duo arc is called “World’s Finest,” a callback to the Batman/Superman co-title of yore, and it’s fitting, because a first-time team-up between these two female megastars of the superhero world is just as remarkable as a Bruce Wayne/Clark Kent tag-team was back in the ’40s. But you know what’s better than all the hoopla? The actual book. Batwoman #12 is spectacular.
Just look at this two-page spread that kicks off the book. Just look at it. Wonder Woman’s star emblem joining up with Batwoman’s bat emblem. And that’s only the beginning of J.H. Williams‘ phenomenal page layouts.
All photos courtesy of DC Comics
The story picks up right where “To Drown the World” left off (but in a mercifully linear return to form). Maro has escaped to Medusa with all of those ghost kids in tow, and so Batwoman has recruited friendly werewolf Kyle Abbot as her tour guide into the underworld to try to scrape up some answers. First stop: Bloody Mary. She’s as much of a deranged psychopath as you heard at every middle school slumber party ever, but at least Batwoman gets her to give up the identity of Medusa before smashing her into a million mirrored pieces. Medusa is not an organized crime syndicate, after all. Medusa is a gorgon, the Queen of the Monsters. Realizing she’s out of her league with all of this Greek Mythology, Kate suggests to Agent Chase and Director Bones, who is hilariously dressed for summer, that they let her recruit Wonder Woman to help with the case. They’re game, so off Batwoman goes to track down the Amazonian Princess.
And here’s where this issue shines brighter than the sun: We don’t meet Wonder Woman at the end of the book on some beach, surrounded by slain monsters. Batwoman and Wonder Woman’s stories are told inside-out and side-by-side throughout the issue. So while we see Batwoman tracking down Bloody Mary, we see Wonder Woman hacking and slashing her way across an island of circus-colored beasts. And Williams’ layouts juxtapose their fighting styles and personalities brilliantly. In one two-page spread, Batwoman is (literally and metaphorically) running around in circles in a room of fun house mirrors trying to summon Bloody Mary while Wonder Woman is (literally and metaphorically) centered, and calmly slicing her way to victory.
Williams’ art and Dave Stewart’s coloring have never been better, and that, as you know, is saying something.
But hang on a second and let me catch my breath, because it’s not all stars and stripes in Gotham City. Kate and Maggie are on the rocks. Maggie is under more pressure than ever to solve the case of the missing children, and it’s breaking her heart to see the parents continue to suffer. So, in true superhero fashion, Kate chooses the most vulnerable moment in Maggie’s life to skip town to go find Wonder Woman. And Maggie is pissed. In fact, she brings up the first time they had sex and wants to know where Kate was the night before, and until Kate can give her a satisfactory answer, she wants her out of her house. Yikes!
Bette and Uncle Jack make a quick appearance, too, and it’s a nice set-up for what’s coming in the future with Bette’s return to the hero game, but I’m just too busy hyperventilating over the rest of the issue to get too invested in that right now.
I expected a Batwoman/Wonder Woman match-up to be good, but I didn’t expect it to be this good. It’s my favorite Batwoman yet, and I can’t wait to see where it goes. September is Zero Issue month at DC, so I think we’re getting another Batwoman origin story. And then the Wonder Woman arc picks back up in October.
What did you think of “World’s Finest”?