Category: Comic Books


Batwoman #4

I’m slowly getting more used to trying to review comics, it’s still not the focus of the blog but I enjoy them and about half my daily views seem to be from people trying to find out when/if characters that I’ve talked about wanting to see in the DCnU will be showing up.  So, why not?

Issue four picks up almost immediately after issue three’s ending.  Bette Kane is back in the Flamebird costume ready to take down the scum of Gotham to prove herself to herself and probably her cousin.  Predictably, this does not go well and the reader is treated to  vibrantly colored scenes of Flamebird in a painfully one-sided fight interspersed with tasteful scenes of Kate and Maggie having comfort sex.  From there, Batwoman takes to the streets to track down the monster that’s been kidnapping Gotham’s children.  Meanwhile, Agent Chase tricks Bette into revealing her cousin’s name and, possibly, Batwoman’s identity.

Jumping right in, if Batwoman: Elegy hadn’t sold me on J.H. Willaims III’s art then this issue would have.  The Bette’s fight scene contrasts starkly with the clips of Kate and Maggie.  The bright colors of one really complemented the muted sketchy qualities of the other.  It makes what would have already been tender scenes all that much more so.  And the two page spread of Batwoman coming through that window where each scallop of her cape contains another panel was just awesome.

I find myself increasingly hoping that something really bad happens to Agent Chase.  On a logical level I know she’s just doing her job, but there’s a level of casual cruelty in the way she delt with Bette that just bothers me.  On the flipside, the more I read the more I like Maggie Sawyer.  She’s the beleaguered good cop here, the Commissioner Gordon to Kate’s Bat.  It makes me a bit less interested in seeing what happens when either she figures out that Kate’s Batwoman or Renee Montoya shows back up.

I’m impressed so far and I look quite forward to seeing what happens to wrap this arc up.

Yeah, I’m back on this again and ignoring that review that I’ll be posting probably either later tonight or sometime tomorrow.  Here’s the thing, I’ve been a fan of Barbara Gordon since back in the nineties with Batman the Animated Series when I had no clue that the comics were any different.   Back then, I had no idea that The Killing Joke had happened or that there was a second Batgirl.  This was the character that I wanted to grow up to be.  She was like Velma but with more attitude and she got to work with Batman.

Fast forward to sometime during high school and I’ve heard of The Killing Joke but not read it.  I’ve heard that there was a second Batgirl and that she was rather poorly delt with for a chunk of her run in the cape.  But I hadn’t really started reading comics yet.  The Sandman, sure but that was because the school library had it in trade paperbacks and I had free time while being a library aide.  It was around this time that I started to get more interested in comics as a whole, so I’d started reading up on DC’s super heroes to see who I wanted to focus on.

Fast forward again to around February.  Holy cow there’s going to be a Batwoman monthly comic!  Issue #0 is coming out and The Question is going to be in Birds of Prey!  I was practically dancing in my seat with this one.  Plus I was trying to keep up with the Odyssy of Wonder Woman arc of Wonder Woman because I wanted to see how they changed the character.  And follow it through to Flashpoint and my various rants on that, it’s really one of the things that sticks out at me as a forced money grab even now.  But I’ve finally got that Batwoman ongoing as part of my draw list, and Birds of Prey is still pretty cool even without Lady Blackhawk or Huntress.

It’s kind of itchy though, reading Batgirl and seeing Barbara go from tough leadery Oracle to a Batgirl so full of self doubt that I almost expect that the villain is going to wind up doing himself in rather than her winning.This is where I get to the meat of my ramble, don’t worry the rest was just back story.  Now, not all of the sources agree, but apparently Babs was Oracle sometime during those three years post-Flashpoint.  Why isn’t she still?  I’m basing this mostly on the character I was reading back in Birds of Prey but it’s hard to see her giving up the autonomy of being a hero on her own to step back under the Batmantle.  Out of the chair she’s still the same character, or at least she should be.  Post-Flashpoint Batgirl seems to assume a Barbara who never quit being Batgirl prior to The Killing Joke, one who would go back to that after having been Oracle.

This is a character who questioned her reasons for crime fighting right up through the eighties when she quit and was then shot in the spine for being related to Batman’s supporting cast.  Except it isn’t anymore, maybe.  What was DCnU Barbara Gordon like before the Joker shot her?  Was she Silver Age Batgirl with her Batpurse and day job as a librarian?  Was she BtAS Batgirl the plucky not quite side kick?  Heck, was she Stephanie Brown with red hair and no history as Spoiler?  I’m growing tired of DCnU Batgirl’s near constant self questioning.  I understand that she’s not at a hundred percent yet and I understand that Gail Simone is laying the basis for the rest of the comic, but the more I read the less I like Babs and the more I want to just quietly go back to finding Oracle’s appearances in trade paperbacks.

This is one of those situations where I want to see what other people have to say about this.  I’m going to keep reading for at least the next arc to see how DCnU Babs develops, but I’m thinking that this may not be something that stays on my draw list much longer. What do you think internets?  Does the current incarnation make more sense to you that it does me?  Where do you think Simone is going to go with Batgirl from here?