There’s nothing I love more than superheroes and lesbians. I’ve been around comic books long enough to see some truly infuriating things happen to my favorite characters, and I’ve been around “lesbian-storytelling” long enough to know that hardly any form of media gets it right. So when DC announced a relaunch of the lesbianBatwoman under the Detective Comics label, I just kind of groaned. What good can come from an all-male team writing a lesbian character in a geared-to-males industry?
Detective Comics #854, that’s what!
I finally picked up the first two issues of the new Batwoman storyline, and holy sapphic substance, lesbos: This is easily the best single issue comic published this year.
If you’re a regular comics nerd, you have to break reviews down into art and scripting. If you’re a lesbian comics nerd you have to talk about what the writers and illustrators got wrong about gay stuff. Only this time, they got it all exactly right.
Because this is the first issue of the new Batwoman storyline, there’s a lot Greg Rucka has to tell us about Kate Kane, and he does a brilliant job. Rucka touches on every relationship in Kate’s life: the complicated one with her step-dad, the cryptic one with Batman and the tumultuous one with her girlfriend. And though it’s lot to cover in a single issue, it doesn’t feel rushed.
The sensationalist lesbian thing I feared never materialized. Oh, Batwoman is sexy. She seems to take an almost sadistically sensual approach to interrogation. (I don’t know; can you call it sensual if there’s a leather boot on your throat?) But her interaction with her girlfriend is authentic and natural.
Kate shows up late for breakfast (again, apparently) and her girlfriend is frustrated and jealous. “I had a late night,” Kate explains. (And she did. See: leather boot on criminal’s throat.) “Oh, is that what you’re calling her?” Anna asks.
It’s the same kind of thing that has confounded the best superheroes for decades: Keep disappointing the ones you love, or keep them alive? Superman, Batman, Spider-Man: they deal with it all the time. Which is to say that DC is treating Kate’s sexuality in the same way they treat it with their epic male heroes.
Issue #855 is just as good as #854 even thought it doesn’t have all the Pow! Bam! Zing! of the premiere Batwoman issue. We do get to learn a little more about Alice, the coven of crime leader who only speaks in lines from Through The Looking Glass.
The art (and layout) of both issues is stellar. Mad props to J.H. Williams III. If Rucker and Williams can keep pace, this will be the best Batman title going.
Let me make myself clear: If you like lesbians or superheroes, stop what you’re doing and go pickup Detective Comics #854 and #855.
Anyone else falling in love with the new Batwoman?