New 52 – Batwoman #4 review

It isn’t possible to get used to the level of breathtaking artwork that J.H. Williams produces month after month. He shifts styles depending on whether Kate Kane is in the costume or out and both renditions are gorgeous. He’s always finding new ways to lay out the panels that aren’t cluttered or confusing, but just plain beautiful. And when not using heavy pencils/markers to shade, or vibrant colors that leap off the page, he incorporates water colors, which I’m a sucker for.

Batwoman is so far ahead of anything else being drawn today that it truly is the gold standard for comic art. A big part of what makes J.H. seem so prolific right now, though, is that these first few issues were supposed to come out before the New 52 started. Rich artwork like this takes time and J.H. Williams said himself that he can only do about 6 issues of this magnitude per year which could mean that the future of Batwoman might involve fill in artists, or, even worse, delays.

But that’s awfully pessimistic thinking, isn’t it? Let’s focus on what we have right now: one of the most beautifully drawn comics. Period.

However, the art’s never been my problem with this comic and I typically give it sort of mediocre scores because I’m just not that into supernatural stories that take place in Gotham. Well, I’ve just got to suck it up and accept the fact that supernatural is what Kate Kane does…at least not so much in this issue and maybe that’s why I liked it so much. I mean, a great deal happens in this comic. Some questions get answered regarding the watery ghost woman that’s snatching up children, there’s quite the graphic sex scene (but don’t expect it to cause an uproar like Catwoman #1 did) that opens up the story, and, well, something else that I won’t spoil for you, but trust me IT’S IMPORTANT.

If you like Batwoman already, then issue #4 is must-have. If you’re like me and you’ve never been that into the character, but like love the art and Kate Kane’s personal life…it’s also a must have. My only complaints are that I have yet to really care about Batwoman’s side-kick and (this goes for all Batwoman books) J.H. William’s beautiful splash pages, mesmerizing as they are, also make for a very quick-read. And this issue in particular does something that none of the other titles have done yet: it saves alllllllll the ads for the last 12 pages. That’s right, the story is uninterrupted. And if you’re used to the ads for toys/videogames/converse sneakers breaking up the story gradually until the end, you’re going to be a bit jarred when you feel the thickness of 12 pages still in your right hand when the words “to be continued…” show up. That’s not a knock against the book by the way, that’s just a warning to brace yourself because when it says “to be continued” you definitely will want more and feeling that much paper left in your hand will leave you wanting.

Oh yeah, and Director Bones shows up and says “pfft.” –you can’t do that, Bones. You’ve got no lips.

Great comic. Brief, but great.

SCORE: 9/10

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