Precinct1313 Recommends: Batwoman – Elegy
After a long hiatus from the world of costumed crime-fighters, Batwoman triumphantly returned like the proverbial phoenix in 2006 in the pages of the weekly series ’52’. Batwoman was created by Bob Kane and Sheldon Moldoff in 1956 and made her debut in Detective Comics #233. There have been two notable versions of the character over the years beginning with the original Kathy Kane, the silver age variant. Kathy was created to be part of what was becoming known as The Batman Family and as a possible love interest for Bruce Wayne, but in 1964 following a restructure of the Batman universe, Kathy was removed altogether from bat-lore by new editor Julius Schwartz.
Aside from a couple of anniversary issues of Detective Comics, Batwoman wasn’t seen again until her revamped reappearance in 2006, re-introduced as Kate Kane. Apart from sharing the same name, the two versions of the character couldn’t possibly be more different. Whereas Kathy was a fun loving socialite with the hots for the Caped Crusader, Kate is tough, no nonsense, ex-military and independent of Batman and his cohorts. Also of note is her sexual orientation, Kate is a lesbian, much was made of this revelation at the time with both good and some bad press from the media, though ultimately it proved a popular move on DC’s part with many LGBT groups worldwide heralding the character. Kate was a hit and fast became one of DC’s most popular female heroes.
Batwoman: Elegy was a story arc that ran through the pages of Detective Comics #854 – #860, after the comics star Batman had been killed at the hands of DC’s biggest villain Darkseid. Kate filled the void left by his absence and cemented her return to comics and Gotham itself. Written by Greg Rucka and drawn by the amazingly talented JH Williams III, with the latter going on to become the biggest influence on Kate’s future and success. JH is an extremely talented artist with a visual style almost unsurpassed by his peers, his use of splash pages and weaving of his art into these carefully constructed panels is stunning. This is arguably JH’s most impressive work, though he went on to replicate this prescient style when he started writing and drawing the new Batwoman comic series in 2010.
Plot Synopsis: Whilst investigating the 13 Religion of Crime covens in Gotham City, Batwoman learns that the covens overseer is coming to Gotham. Alice is the name of their new leader, basing herself on the Lewis Caroll character, Batwoman immediately sets out on the trail of Alice but it seems that the coven is also hunting Batwoman for their own nefarious and sinister purposes.
Batwoman: Elegy is a stunning re-introduction of a much loved character into the Batman mythos and is without a shadow of a doubt one of the most beautifully illustrated comic books ever released. Greg Rucka’s story draws you into the eerie supernatural side of Gotham City and JH Williams’ superbly realised drawing style leaves you breathless. Available as both a softcover and (hard to find) hardcover, this is highly recommended to all fans of great comics and beautiful art.
Precinct1313 Rating: 5 Red Headed Vigilantes out of 5