After JH Williams III and W. Haden Blackman walked off the title due to editorial differences, DC had to scramble to find suitable replacements. As of last week, solicitations still had issue #25 listed as a continuation of Williams’ and Blackman’s Batwoman vs. Batman arc and even DC themselves tweeted the very same synopsis yesterday morning so I think it’s evident that this book was quite rushed. Rather than finish the previous arc, everything has been interrupted and new writer, Marc Andreyko, was tasked not with beginning an all new direction for Batwoman in issue #25, but to do a Zero Year tie-in first (which costs a dollar more). Art duties also became somewhat chaotic as you can see by the long list of pencillers and inkers on the cover. It’s a comic that shouldn’t exist and a tie-in that no one asked for, but did everything turn out okay in the end?
Six years ago, young Kate Kane returns from West Point to attend her uncle Philip’s wake, which is being held at Wayne Manor. The visit home takes a surprising turn, however, as the power in Gotham goes out (causing the streetlights to explode for some reason) as the two are driving to the event. Is there mass panic? No, Gotham proves to be the calm place it was in Nightwing #25 and Kate and her father continue to Wayne Manor where everyone else is equally unfazed. This wake scene is the most interesting of the book because it removes all doubt that Bruce and Kate are indeed cousins and likely first cousins. The chummy interaction between Bruce and Kate and also Bruce and Bette caught me off guard and honestly didn’t sit well. Something about seeing that Bruce apparently had such a close extended family all along is in conflict with the lore, isn’t it? I think I would have been more accepting of it all had the wake been somewhere else and the Kane clan looked upon Bruce unfavorably. I’m not sure… I’ll need my thoughts to settle on this topic more.
These quieter moments make up the first half of the comic while the latter portion is all action as Kate, in a show of heroism that can’t be contained, decides she must do something more for this city. She steals one of Bruce’s many motorcycles (After reading Zero Year, this Bruce really doesn’t strike me as the kind of guy who would own this many bikes) and drives off into the night, not to help get food and supplies to folks in need but to do some crime fighting. It’s not the best use of the Zero Year scenario and could have easily taken place during any night in Gotham. The closing pages show her going full-John-McClane , even going so far as crashing through the 10th story window of one building and diving through the windows of another and into a swimming pool, guns-a-blazing. This would all make for some kick-ass Batwoman action, and for that I think the new creative team shows promise, but Kate hasn’t even graduated from West Point yet. It all feels too big for Kate at this point in her life.
Weaving throughout the comic is Maggie Sawyer, who is an officer for the Metropolis PD at this point in time. The Metropolis police are being shipped in to help with the relief effort which… doesn’t really look necessary since the only chaos is apparently a couple of jewel thieves. Basically she shows up in the comic just so we can have a cute moment in which she and Kate can cross paths. I found it strange, however, because I never thought of Maggie being too much older than Kate but there would have to be a difference of at least a few years now.
The artwork does shift quite frequently and there are some rather unrefined panels to be found. Overall, the artists managed to match Trevor McCarthy’s style somewhat closely but the transitions were still noticeable and even McCarthy’s work is not at its best. Batwoman #25 surely has the most underwhelming visuals of any issue in the series run so far. Bruce, in particular, looks far too old and could easily be mistaken for Kate’s father if it wasn’t for the difference in hair color. There was also a scene in which Kate is walking outside and her bottom half looked much too long. Another panel that I found odd was when Kate had this giant grin on her face as she watched a news report about all the endangered Gotham residents. Still, the action sequence at the comic’s close was enjoyable.
- You really want to won every Zero Year tie-in
- You want to try out the new writer, Marc Andreyko
- You’re curious to see the first time Maggie and Kate crossed paths
Issue #25 is clearly a rush-job and a wholly unnecessary tie-in, but it’s not the train wreck you’d expect it to be either. I recommend reserving judgment on the new creative team until issue #26 when they’re allowed to start their own storyline rather than struggle to involve themselves in a crossover event. The plot of “…Or High Water,” as the issue is called, is very forced but the voice of Kate Kane and her father sounded right to me and while the action was over the top for the character at this point in her life, it would have worked exceedingly well for a mature Batwoman. Ultimately, though, this is totally skippable (especially for the price) and I’m giving it slightly under 2 out of 4 stars.