Monday, 29 November 2010

Review: Batwoman #0

Story by J.H. Williams III & W. Hayden Blackman
Art by J.H. Williams III & Amy Reeder

I adored the Rucka/Williams III run on Detective, and have been looking forward to this series coming out. If anyone reading this hasn't read that, it's collected as "Elegy" and it's a fucking delight! Unfortunately Greg Rucka has Jumped Ship and this ongoing series will be written and drawn by J.H. Williams III with art assistance from Amy Reeder. This issue 0 is more of a recap/introduction to the character than the start of a new story, so it's a great jumping on point without undermining what will be the start of the series proper with issue 1. The story itself is light, just Batman checking Kate out from a distance trying to prove his (correct) theory about the identity of the mysterious new Batwoman, which is exactly what you need as a new reader. The fact that we only see Kate through the filter of Batman in this issue adds mystique and leaves something to be said when the series gets going. It really is a good intro issue.

The real star of the show here is the artwork on display by the inimitable J.H. Williams III, who incidentally is from a relative of the legendary country music pioneer Hank Williams which officially makes him royalty in my book. J.H. Williams proves time and again that he is the most versatile, innovative and design-savvy artist in the game. He really is the best there is at what he does...and what he does is very nice indeed! This strength sadly highlights the art’s one weakness which is the fill-in panels. For whatever reasons, one assumes time constraints, the majority of Kate's civilian-life panels are drawn by Reeder, who while not shit, is painfully outclassed. Just look at the panel of the disguised Bruce and compare it to any of William' images. This is a minor qualm though, because this book still stands streets ahead of almost everything else out there at the moment. Shocking that this level of quality is in a spin off title, when by all rights it should be as shit as Supergirl.

Four Batgirl: Year Ones* out of a possible Batman: Year One.

*Batgirl: Year One was actually really good.