If you weren’t sold on Amy Reeder’s art in the last issue, you will be here. The story on the other hand is not so hot.
My advice for readers of “Batwoman” right now would be to skip the monthly floppies and wait for a TPB. The non-linear storytelling here is atrocious in my opinion. It was so convoluted and jumpy in issue #6 last month that none of it was memorable and I found myself flipping through it again as a refresher before diving into what’s happening here. Sadly, that still didn’t help and I found myself not only confused by what was happening but, far worse, not caring. Being confused by a narrative can be a good thing if the content is there. If the events of a story are interesting enough I’ll go along with every jump, twist, and turn and piece together each narrative thread like the complex puzzle the author intended it to be, but this is 6 stories that are taking place at 6 different points in time squeezed into a mere 20 pages. Every vignette is far too short lived and the end it’s a pretty unsatisfying read for $3 bucks. Due to this erratic narrative, of all six plot lines, not a single one has hooked me or stayed in memory after setting the book aside. If it was a TPB, however, that could be an entirely different story.
Here’s a rundown of the 6 supposedly interconnecting stories:
- Batwoman Now: She’s at what appears to be the final showdown with all of these urban legends and an 8-eyed Stegosaurus version of Killer Croc. Don’t even get me started on Croc. I can’t stand it when he’s depicted as being a mutant and I definitely hate it when he’s depicted as a mutant who has been further altered with magic. Just…no.
- Jacob 3 Weeks Ago: Batwoman’s dad gets all emotinal in Flamebird’s hospital room. I always found Flamebird annoying, but that’s not what makes these scenes weak to me. They’re actually some of the most well-written moments in the comic. The problem is that they have no impact on the story at hand. These scenes do nothing to advance to the story of Batwoman and everyone else’s mission to bring down all of these urban legends brought to life. Instead, they serve only to remind us all that these people still exist, they are nice, well developed characters and they are the ones Batwoman is trying to protect by working for Bones.
- Kate and Maggie 2 Weeks Ago: Watching the relationship of these two grow was always the best part of the previous arc, but here it’s very much out of place and slowing everything down.
- Maro’s Story 2 Months Ago: Two months is a long jump. Too long of a jump. And although it’s interesting to see the central bad guy put his evil plot together the story doesn’t spend enough time with him for it to really hook my interest. Also, we see more of Killer Croc as a giant lizard man, which I hate. Making him a mutant half-man half crocodile just makes Killer Croc a cheap knock-off of Spider-Man’s “The Lizard” which, honestly, he is, but he can be so much more if you just have him be a guy with a horrible skin/bone disorder who has suffered years of abuse and later in life turned to crime and perhaps lost sanity and began filing his teeth, etc. How do you like seeing Croc portrayed?
- Maggie’s Story 1 Week Ago: Maggie’s fighting mutated monsters. Since it’s only a couple pages long and just jumps right into the action there’s no sense of danger here or clear purpose other than good guys good, monsters bad, must beat monsters. The scene carries no weight and is pretty disposable except for showing the apprehension of a Medusa operative whose detainment is explain in the exposition of the following story.
- Chase’s story 1 Week Ago: It’s the typical James Bond and Q sort of scene where the hero gets a rundown of all the new high-tech gadgets they’ll be using. After last week’s issue with Batwoman’s indestructible armor I feel that her tech has gone a way too far.
Does “Batwoman” #7 look good? Yes. Reeder is doing an awesome job drawing all the creepy, disgusting monsters and the page layouts are phenomenal. A lot of content gets packed into every page without becoming cluttered and the colors by Guy Major, while not the highly stylized brush strokes of the previous arc, are very strong. The only problem with “Batwoman” right now is that the story is a chore to read. Does that mean it’s a bad story? Possibly not. As I said before, once this whole thing gets collected in a trade and you can read the whole thing in one sitting it should be much easier to follow and possibly quite enjoyable. But with a month in between reading each issue and such short glimpses at each of 6 stories it’s almost impossible to recollect what happened in the previous installment. For that reason I can’t give it a strong recommendation as a monthly title.