Wow, talk about a major disappointment. Usually I give my reviews an intro to help frame things into focus, but for this case, going right into the nitty gritty of this comic would serve the purposes of this review best. So what went wrong exactly? After reading this a few times, I can safely say that it was a number of reasons to pin this failure on.
From the minute Greg Rucka left and this title was announced, skeptics have questioned whether the story would suffer from not having his hand to guide it, and while the first 5 issues have proven to be (at the very least) a commendable job by both Williams and Blackman, everyone involved in the storytelling has missed the mark here and none of the problems have to do with what’s written in the book. That’s right ladies and gentlemen; Batwoman #6 has decent dialogue and does a decent job getting inside some of the supporting cast’s head as they react to the events around them, the problem has to with the overall story structure.
As I was first reading this comic, I came away completely confused as to what was going on and it was only after reading the solicitation for Batwoman #9 (which comes out in May) that I got more of an understanding of what Williams, Blackman and Marts were going for. Being divided into 6 perspectives, this issue of “Batwoman” is divided into 6 major stories revolving around the main character’s choice to join the DEO and her continuing quest to go after Medusa. With this being a 22 Page Comic (and thank god it was a 22 Page Comic, because if It weren’t, this story would’ve suffered even futher) it would be quite a challenge to give make this comic work with all 6 stories going on at once, and if Batwoman #6 is any indication it’ll continue to be a challenge. What we get is a comic that reads like a Mexican Jumping Bean as it feels like the majority of these stories aren’t given enough time to resonate with the reader, because we need to jump to the next story to keep the pace going. What this adds up to a confusing mess to any new reader who dares pick up this comic off the rack, as they won’t be able to make heads and tails of what’s going on, nor will they be given any incentive to find out more, which is a no-no when a story frivously spends precious space on a sequence that takes up nearly 25% of the available space on a sequence that shows us that Batwoman now has Nano-Tube armor that seemingly protects her from everything short of nukes. It’s that beautifully drawn sequence that sums up the bad decisions of the story structure in this comic.
When I first heard that Amy Reeder was going to be doing Batwoman art, I was freaking ecstatic. Her work on “Madame Xanadu” was a huge part of why the book is one of the underrated classics of the past decade and for the most part she hasn’t lost a step here. Reeder’s Fundamentals are some of the best in the game as her art helps the story flow along and her characters are some of the most detailed. It would be almost perfect if it had the same life that her Xanadu work had. I know this is going to sound so damn nitpicky, but as I was reading this issue, I couldn’t help but feel that this lacked the same subtle layers that made her former work take a life of its own. Of course, such a thing is understandable considering that there are tighter deadlines to meet in this case, but like the work that preceded this current ongoing, it just feels like creative transcendence has been lost in the art as well.
My Final 22 Cents
As I sit down and finish off this review, I can’t help but think that one of the hurdles new characters that the Big 2 face are the fact that they are rarely given the creative teams that can produce the classic stories that cannot be ignored by any aspect of the fandom. When you add that aspect with the near-fanticial obsession with nostalgia that has been weaved into the identity of this aspect of the Industry, it becomes very easy to see why things are the way they are. Batwoman’s “Detective Comics” run stands out, because it’s one of the few instances where a new character in this part of the medium had a story that cannot be ignored by the general Wednesday crowd. Batwoman #6 if nothing else will serve as a reminder of what Rucka’s influence meant to this title and where his skills will be sorely missed. Here’s to hoping that Batwoman #7 is better than this, because this definitely not a good impression of a character that can’t afford too may bad impressions.
Final Judgment: 5