I didn’t read the Detective comics featuring Batwoman. I also know that a lot of folks love these Batwoman stories, but with no explanation of who these characters are and what their motivations are, I couldn’t get interested in this comic. Don’t get me wrong, the art is fantastic. It could very well be the best art of any book in DC’s New 52 and it’s definitely the best drawn and best colored Bat-book, but unless you’re familiar with Batwoman you might want to skip this story.
The book tries to explain Batwoman’s back story and sum up the events of her run on Detective Comics through a 2-page collage. That might be great for reminding those Batwoman fans of what happened, but if you’re a first time reader it will only confuse you (especially if you’re joining comics for the 1st time or returning after a few years absence). I thought the whole point of the New 52 was to attract new readers, but with Batwoman #1, if you’re not already a fan of Kate Kane, you’re not welcome.
The story here is that a ghost is stealing children and it’s up to Batwoman to find out why. If that sounds interesting to you then dive right in. I’m not a fan of the paranormal or extraterrestrial elements entering Gotham so this doesn’t interest me. Granted, this could turn out to be some variety of Scooby-Doo villain pretending to be a ghost, but I just don’t care. It’s not that the writing is bad! The dialogue is good, especially in a scene in which Kate Kane arranges a date with Detective Maggie Sawyer. The pacing is nice (except for the expositional collage that helped NO ONE). Where the writing fails is being new-reader friendly.
It runs along at a steady pace and we get cameos from Batman, Gordon, and a villain who I’ll leave nameless for those who wish to pick up this book. The way J.H. Williams lays out pages is particularly interesting. If you buy comics more for the art then you definitely won’t be disappointed. The opening sequence’s use of color, done by Dave Stewart, is both eerie and stunning.
I gave this book a 6/10, but that’s because I’m someone who is new to Kate Kane. And if you’re new too then you won’t understand who these people are or why you should care. Is it a buy if you’re unfamiliar with Batwoman? Definitely not. If you’re already a fan of Batwoman then you’re probably going to love this book. Just by looking around at a few message boards I’ve seen most Batwoman fans giving this book a 9/10 and you’ll most likely feel the same way. Note: If you pick this one up digitally it will be listed as only 16 pages rather than 22. That’s because of the double page spreads that occur. This is not one a short read. There’s plenty of content here to enjoy.