It seems like just yesterday that DC was releasing it’s first Batwoman #0 in anticipation of her solo title run. Of course, the first Batwoman #0 wasn’t followed up with Batwoman #1. It was followed up with waiting and waiting and waiting. And waiting. And waiting. A year later, we finally got our hands on the series. But this month is Zero Issues month at DC — every character is getting an origin story issue — so JH Williams & Co. are faced with the unique conundrum of telling us Batwoman’s beginning all over again. And what a tale it is!
Like many of DC’s other Zero Issues, Batwoman #0 is told in first person, but where it stands out is that unlike the other heroes who are addressing an unseen audience, Kate Kane is recording a message from her father. (Maybe you remember him. The guy from whom she is estranged because of that pesky secret he kept that Kate’s twin sister Beth was alive and also a psychotic supervillain.)
Kate starts by telling her dad that she used to always leave these messages for him in case she died while on a Bat-mission, but this is the first one she’s left since she accidentally dropped Beth/Alice from that airplane in Detective Comics. She talks about what Beth meant to her, how she always picked out her clothes and kept her from beating other kids to a pulp on the playground, and how in the wake of her death, the only thing she had to cling to was her father. She talks about getting kicked out of West Point because of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and how it sent her on a booze-spiral where she drank everything that came in a liquor bottle and shagged every girl who came home with her. And, of course, she talks about the night she first laid eyes on Batman and the brutal emotional and physical training she went through to become like him.
The reason she’s leaving the message is because, for the first time, she feels like she’s in over her head. None of her training, none of her natural ability, none of her pluck has prepared her to deal with the supernatural monsters that she’s facing these days. She’s leaving the message because she thinks maybe Medusa really is going to kill her.
The artwork, of course, is magnificent. The throwback illustration style and coloring of the flashback pages gives the issue such a sense of Golden Age nostalgia. And the story actually packs a much more powerful punch than the whole of the “To Drown the World” arc. Kate’s personal business is/has always been a wreck, and it’s fascinating to read about her inner turmoil and motivations. Also awesome was the mention of Renee Montoya, and Kate’s grief about how she blew up that relationship hard. (Too bad Williams and the editor don’t know how to spell “Renee.”)
If you’re looking for a way to get started with Batwoman, jump into Batwoman #0 with both feet. (Also, Wonder Woman #0 and Batgirl #0 are a really good time. Definitely worth three bucks.)
What did you think of Kate Kane’s (re-)origin story? Do you like the more personal style, or do you prefer the supernatural monsters?