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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Comic Book Review: Batwoman # 0

Batwoman # 0
Pages: 15
Writers: J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman
Artist: J.H. Williams III
Published by: DC Comics

The first time I ever heard of Batwoman, I'm like - are you kidding me? - and with reason because I never heard of a superheroine counterpart to Batman ever existing in mainstream comics. And to my surprise, she has been around since 1956, which I didn't saw coming.

Created by Batman creator Bob Kane and artist Sheldon Moldoff, this character was purposely made - to my surprise... again - to be a love interest for Batman and also to counter the homosexuality allegations made by the book Seduction of the Innocent in 1954. And because of that, a new whole new character with a lot of potential was born, and in her newest reincarnation, Batwoman is now depicted as a lesbian... - yes you read that right, a lesbian - in an attempt by DC Comics to diversify its current demographic and attract new readers.

Now on to the book itself....

We start off with Batman (Bruce Wayne) tailing Batwoman herself in the streets of Gotham trying to prove his hypothesis that military brat/socialite Kate Kane is the costumed superheroine. He analyzes her every move and even sees her fighting a group of guys from a criminal syndicate known as the Religion of Crime. Batman deduces that she is trained in martial arts and is capable of holding her own against a group of hardened criminals. In the end Batwoman is able to defeat them with the use of her exceptional martial arts background and with the help of some some high tech weaponry (just like Batman). 

The book also tells the story of Batwoman as Kate Kane during the day when she is just walking around the streets and also during the night when she spends time in disco bars hooking up with - you guessed it - another girl. Bruce Wayne (who again is following her everywhere she goes, in disguise) actually envies her for being able to do the things a "normal" person would be able to do and questions himself why hasn't been able to do that. In the end, though his remarkable detective skills and first-hand encounters with Kate, Batman finally comes into the conclusion that she and Batwoman are one in the same which sets up a much awaited and inevitable face-to-face encounter in the near future. 

What impressed me the most is the way J. H Williams illustrates the whole comic with great emotion, detail, elegance and precision. His use of lighting, colors and shadows sets up the mood of the whole story and it gives off a vibrant, attractive feel. His art is easy to look at and his lines are crisp and clean. I loved it and I want more of the same style in the next issue. 

The writing is simple and straight-forward, no beating around the bushes and is very easy to understand. The dialogues are pretty much spoken from Bruce Wayne/Batman's perspective which gives that old school detective vibe that the Caped Crusader is known for from start to finish. And I really like the dialogue where Bruce Wayne's "insecurities" shows up a little bit. He is at he's best when he is truly vulnerable and open.

Character-wise, the decision to update Kate Kane as a lesbian is not a bad idea for DC and the way they showed that in the book is not offending as some people might think. It shows that everybody has their own unique differences and dark secrets to keep - but that doesn't mean that they can't do the most remarkable things. Anybody can be hero in their own ways be it a straight guy or woman or a lesbian - and it won't make any difference.

It also shows the reality of today's generation and sure, it will certainly attract a new demographic which I believe DC is successful: by reviving an old character from the ground up, and adding some intriguing and quite controversial elements into her persona, they we're able to make such a fresh comic book while getting quite a stir in the comic book community Works everytime. Anyway, who else has a lesbian superheroine as one of their mainstream characters? 


Batwoman # 1 is to be released sometime in April

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