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52apolooza: Batwoman

Written by Porcelain38 and Aly Abbas on Monday, October 17 2011 and posted in Reviews

J.H.Williams III's Batwoman book goes ongoing in the New 52.  Let's see how that turned out.

Welcome to 52apolooza, the Outhouse feature focusing on DC's September Relaunch.  All of DC's 52 titles will be reviewed by our pool of reviewers to point out the best and worst that DC's new comic book line has to offer.  To see how this book ranks among the other new DC titles, be sure to check out our 52apolooza Rankings!

Everyone's favorite lipstick lesbian gets an ongoing by hit creative team J.H. Williams III and Haden Blackman!  This book has been highly anticipated.  Does it live up to the hype?  The 52apolooza review team finds out.

DC Reviewer: Porcelain38

After being delayed from almost a year and a half now, it's finally here! Batwoman is finally here! New readers may not understand why this is a big deal, but for DC fans this has been a long time coming. Kate Kane, and her alter ego Batwoman, appeared over five years ago in the weekly series 52 to a warm reception. The character really took off when Greg Rucka and artist J.H. Williams III came onto Detective Comics, and made Batwoman the star of the book. Since Rucka's departure from DC Comics, the character has still appeared in the DCU but has not held her own book. After over a year of false starts and delays, J.H. Williams Batwoman has finally come out. How was it? It was the best of any of the books DC has put out in a long time.

The story is welcoming for previous and new readers. Williams wastes no time setting up what this book is and where it's going. The book opens with a new villain who is genuinely creepy instead of a flat, recycled Gotham criminal along with a new conspiracy agency working against Batwoman. The book also sets up the new challenges in Kate Kane's life- a new romantic relationship with a Gotham City Police Detective, attempting to train her cousin Bette Kane, former Teen Titian Flamebird, as her sidekick and rebuild her relationship with her estranged father. To make things even more complicated in her life, the Caped Crusader shows up with a new proposition for her. Previous readers of Batwoman might be annoyed that most of the book is used establishing who the characters are and light on plot, however the art more than makes up for it.

The art in this book is insane. Williams deploys at least three different styles in this book, and he's so good at it that it looks like three different artist are working on this book. The panel layouts are crazy ands nothing like anything else today, William's style is unique and puts on an entire different level than other working artist. In one of the book's best pieces, Williams lays out the entire history of the character in a two page spread the will quickly introduce new readers to the character and answer any questions that may arise.

The book is definitely new reader friendly, establishes the new status quo for the character, and has some of the best artwork on stands. This is the perfect book for a new reader to pick up.

Writing: 23/25
Art: 25/25
Accessibility: 25/25
Enjoyability: 25/25

Total Score: 98/100 (Yes, the book is that damn good)

Marvel Reviewer: Aly Abbas

The first thing you notice about this book is the art. It's just beautiful. J.H. Williams II manages to infuse into the book what seem to be two slightly different art styles. The daylight scenes are just brighter and a little more colorful that the night scenes. That however might be due to the extraordinary coloring of Dave Stewart. Whoever is responsible, the book is a work of art. It's worth it examine every page and panel to enjoy it like one would a painting. That's not to say it's perfect. There was one noticeable flaw that took me out of the book but aside from that it's damn near perfect.

The problem lies with the writing. J. Haden Blackman does an adequate job of introducing a villain, the hero, some supporting characters and starting a story arc. Unfortunately Blackman does a better job of letting us know Batwoman's sexual orientation, instead of than explaining who she is and why she does what she does.

There seems to be a recurring problem with DC comics in that they say they want these titles to be a new introduction for new readers. But it almost seems a requirement that you read the previous issues to understand some of the plot points referenced here. For a brand new reader, there is very little introduction to the characters and their motivations, a flaw Blackman should have addressed immediately.
Bottom line, this book is beautiful to look at but only average to read. If they had decided to include a better story with the amazing art, this would have been the best book out of the DC relaunch. As it stands though, it's merely good, with many of the readers sticking around for the art instead of the story.

Art: 23/25
Writing: 17/25
Accessibility: 10/25
Enjoyability: 20/25

Total 70/100 

Grab Bag Reviewer: Linwood Earl Knight

Link to seperate article (Score: 92)

Total 52apolooza Review (with Three Reviews In): 260 (Average Score: 86.67)

Written or Contributed by: Porcelain38 and Aly Abbas

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About the Author - SuperginraiX

SuperginraiX is the biggest sap on The Outhousers' payroll (wait, we get paid?). He reads every issue of every crappy Marvel crossover so you don't have to. Whats worse is that he pays for his books, thus condoning Marvel's behavior. If The Outhouse cared for his well being at all, they'd try and get him into some sort of rehab center. But, alas, none of us even know how to say his name. For a good time, ask Super why Captian America jumped off the Helicarrier in Fear Itself. Super lives in the frozen wastland that is Minnesota with 15% of the state's population living under his roof: a wife he makes wear an Optimus Prime mask, two gremlins, and his mother-in-law.


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