Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
For a while Batwoman took over Detective Comics. Greg Rucka got to lay the foundation for what looked like the most interesting monthly bat-title in a long time. The art and page layout by J.H. Williams was stunning and only a little confusing at times. It was all so damned pretty I didn’t care if I had to meander around the stunning pages to figure it out the order every so often. Rucka doesn’t over-write things, with lots of emotion communicated via subtle facial expressions communicated through Williams’ art.
Every super-hero has that trigger-moment, that pivotal event where they fundamentally change. Batman’s parents were killed before his young eyes. Spider-man let a criminal go and that criminal killed his Uncle Ben, the man who taught him, “With great power comes great responsibility.” Batwoman’s trigger moment is pretty cool.
Kate Kane is a wonderful modern super-heroine. She dropped out of West Point because she refused to lie about being gay and her Army dad supported that decision, telling her that her mom would have been proud of her. After West Point, she wants a way to serve, to make the world a better place. She finds a uniform with a bat on her chest. Her connection to the rest of the Bat-family is tenuous and that works. She is a citizen who was inspired by what Batman represents and under a cape and cowl found an army that would accept her.
The villain of the first arc is setting up to be Batwoman’s own Joker-level villain, a Lewis Carrol obsessed criminal who only speaks in Alice in Wonderland quotes tied to Batwoman’s family history.
But there are bits that just don’t seem to quite work. There is some kind of crime cult who follow some kind of satanic crime religion and there are heretics and monsters. I want to like it. I really do but it just get’s in the damned way. I find myself looking for the flashbacks to Kate’s childhood or scenes where she is kicking ass and taking names. There is this crap from the DC cross-over series, 52 that I just could never bring myself to care about.
I was hoping to see the series mature under Rucka’s care but he left the title. Apparently, the artist will pick up the writing duties. I’m intrigued and will give the Batwoman title a shot when it hits the shelves.
The graphic novel is big and stunning. Along with the Forward by Rachel Maddow, its well worth picking up.
DC is just painful for me these days and has been for a few years now. I read a review like this one, and I see the intriguing bits but I’m inevitably disappointed when they often end up demoted to loose ends hanging off the company wide metaplot that barrels through almost any given comic. Rucka & Williams III is a seductive artistic pairing but like so many it sounds like it ends up one of modern comics many ‘coulda been greats’ rather than even the ‘was great while it lasteds.’