When I walked into my comic shop yesterday morning, the owner met me at the door with Batwoman #1. “How’d you know?” I asked. “You’ve only been crying about it every Wednesday for the last year,” he said. And it’s true — I have been in a perpetual pout ever since DC pushed backed Batwoman #1 the first time. But DCnU is here at last, and so is our beloved Batwoman’s solo title.
Let’s just get this out of the way right up front: Batwoman #1 is worth all the hype and a whole year of waiting. There isn’t a comic book artist today who is revered more than J.H. Williams III, and this issue is just another classic example of his god-like abilities. The real worry, of course, was the loss of GLAAD award-winning writer Greg Rucka, but I’m both happy and surprised to say that his voice isn’t missed at all in this first issue. Williams pulled double-duty brilliantly.
Story-wise, Batwoman #1 is a seamless transition from her run in Detective Comics. We get a splash page to reintroduce us to her story arc with Alice. It works well as a refresher, but if you’re new to Kate Kane’s world, you might want to pick up the Batwoman: Elegy trade paper back (with foreword by Rachel Maddow!) to get you up to speed. (Trust me, it’s well worth your $15.)
There are several stories working simultaneously in Batwoman #1. We’ve got the actual actual mystery (the urban legend of La Llorona); we’ve got a new sidekick (Kate’s cousin, I think, Bette Kane, who has done time as Batgirl and Flamebird); we’ve got Kate dueling it out with her dad over Alice; and we’ve got a new love interest in the form of Gotham City detective Maggie Sawyer.
The bit where Maggie and Kate decide to go on a date is really charming. It’s such a nice change of pace from Batwoman’s moody theme, and it makes me really hopeful about the way Williams & Co. plan to explore Kate Kane’s “normal” life. Unlike Batman, Kate is actually able to leave the cape and cowl behind when she takes them off. (And speaking of taking things off, there’s even a sequence where Bette and Kate change into their costumes, and there is absolutely nothing “male gaze-y” about it.)
Batman shows up too, at the end of the story, telling Kate, “I have a proposition for you…” (She’s already got a date for the night, Batman!)
Kickass art? Check. Stellar writing? Check. Even the fanboys can’t be contained. Every review I read was positively gushing. I’d wait another full year for a second issue, but I sure am glad I won’t have to.