Batwoman #34 “Night of the Hunter”
Written by Marc Andreyko
Art by Moritat and Jeremy Haun
This issue is supposed to change everything. Does it? Kind of, and we’ll get to those details later. But first, I want to discuss the cover. I love this cover! I meant to comment on how nice it is in my Upcoming Comics post, and failed to. The mood and drama of it is something I would expect from the previous creative team; a team that I find myself missing more and more each month. I don’t mean any disrespect to Andreyko and Haun, I’m just not sure if they’re the right fit for this title. I completely understand that this is their take on Batwoman, but there are times that I desperately wish they would go back and look at some of the earlier works to try and match the tone and mood of this book and character a little better. Honestly, I think this would be an amazing book if Andreyko had story credits, and Williams and Blackman were the writers… alright… I’m done fantasizing. Let’s get to this issue!
Nocturna has been quite the lady of the night. Despite recently being cleared of murder charges concerning her husband, Nocturna has already found another wealthy man to stand by her side… Until he’s murdered by a hitman named Killshot… who was hired by Nocturna’s daughter-in-law… who is upset that Nocturna is free while her dear, old dad is six feet under. (Hey, I think I remember this episode of All My Children!) Which is where this issue kicks off. It’s a rooftop altercation with Nocturna, Night-Thief, Killshot, and Batwoman. Nocturna wants to kill Killshot for killing her fiancé. Killshot has his sights set on Nocturna, who is being protected by Night-Thief. And Batwoman is essentially caught in the middle of everything. I can’t help but feel like Killshot is suddenly much more skilled as a fighter than he was in the previous issue. I initially wrote him off as a joke, but here, he’s able to take on both Night-Thief and Batwoman. Overall, I’m not that impressed with the action. There are two things that happen during the fight that are noteworthy, but I didn’t really feel anything when they happened.
During the fight, Kate has her mask pulled off rather easily. Nocturna sees her, and while this should be a big deal, I can’t help but feel irritated about how easily it happened. It literally distracted me, instead of creating that “Oh crap!” moment. All I could think about is how easily it came off, and if it really could come off that easily, then why hasn’t it happened more often? I was also bothered by her reaction to this: “Crapcrapcrapcrapcrap.” It feels out of character for Kate and amateurish. Could I see Betty reacting this way? Yeah… I’d totally believe that. But not Kate. I really think Andreyko should revisit some of the original Batwoman arcs just to get a feel for her as a character, because this isn’t Batwoman/ Kate Kane.
Also, Night-Thief jumps in front of Nocturna to save her from multiple gunshots. The two end up falling into the river, and I assume that Night-Thief is dead, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he isn’t.
Most of this issue deals with Kate’s personal life, specifically her relationship with Maggie and the custody battle. I don’t want to give anything away, so I’m going to tip-toe around this very delicately. I haven’t been that kind towards Andreyko and how he’s handled Kate and Maggie’s relationship from time to time. I feel like his approach reminds me of daytime soaps, and that’s not a good thing. With this particular issue, I’m honestly torn on how I feel. I thought the execution of what takes place between Kate and Maggie is done really well. It felt mature, and I believed it. It made sense as well. I wasn’t surprised when these events happened, especially after the previous issue, but I was glad it was done well. That being said – and I know I’m being vague, but I’d rather you read it – the reactions bothered me. Mainly because there wasn’t much of a reaction at all. Then, to add a little insult to injury, we follow this up with… a scene with the therapist where everything is discussed rather nonchalantly. You know how I feel about these therapy scenes. If you don’t, then let me refresh you: I hate it.
The issue does close with a nice little twist/cliff hanger, and I’m honestly excited to see what takes place next! Unfortunately, we have to get through the Futures End issue next month before we’re able to continue with this plot… but even then, I’m not sure how much of this will be covered considering the new “Unknowns” story arc will start.
- You are invested in Kate and Maggie’s personal lives.
- You want to know what the creative team has in-store for Batwoman that could change this book going forward.
For more details, opinions, and SPOILERS, see below!
The Art: The art was decent. I prefer Jeremy Haun on this book over Moritat, but I have my issues with each. Moritat’s art appeared as if it were from an animated series. I don’t think that’s a bad thing, and actually enjoyed that aspect of it, but it didn’t seem to gel with the narrative. I also noticed something about Haun’s art that’s never really caught my attention before… He draws heavy eyes. There were quite a few panels where it looked like a character had taken a sleep aid and was fighting to stay awake. It’s not incredibly bothering, just a nit-pick.
The Good: Kate’s letter saying she needed to leave Maggie was done well. I thought the creative team was going to play more into the fact that Nocturna now knows Kate is Batwoman, but I’m ok that it didn’t. The three “game changers” could also be very interesting over time if they’re dealt with correctly. Those three events being: Kate breaking up with Maggie, Nocturna discovering Kate’s identity, and Kate being bitten by Nocturna.
The Bad: The therapist. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist.)
I already spoke to the characterization of Kate, her losing her mask, and the lack of reactions to the breakup, so I won’t delve further into them. Despite everything that happened in this issue, I didn’t feel very affected by it. Maybe I’m cold and heartless, but my reaction was rather “Meh.”
I also want to mention the cover again. While I loved the cover, I did feel that it was a little misleading. This is a pet peeve of mine, and I felt a little let down when I didn’t see an altercation similar to this.
Overall: While there were things that will definitely impact and change this book, I wouldn’t consider any of it Earth shattering, at least not yet. And that’s the key. There’s a lot of potential stories that are set up in this issue, but at the moment, it’s just that: potential. In my opinion, Andreyko crafts decent stories, but his characters and execution never quite do it for me.