Batwoman #39 “Alice, Sweet Alice”
Written by Marc Andreyko
Pencils by Georges Jeanty
Inks by Karl Story and Dexter Vines
Colors by Guy Major

Well… Here we are… Back to a below average product. Last month we got a break from Jeanty’s mediocre-at-best art, but he’s returned for full art duties this issue… It’s unfortunate. Issue #38 ended with Alice surprising Kate, and that’s exactly where this story kicks off.

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Ugh… Are you ready for me to rant? Great, let’s rant… First off, if anyone ever leads a conversation with, “Don’t worry, I’m not here to kill you,” then you should probably start worrying. Especially if said person has tried to kill you on multiple occasions, and has essentially been classified as certifiably insane. The last time Kate saw Alice, she had rescued her from the D.E.O. and sent her off with her father to be rehabilitated. The time before that, Alice was running the Religion of Crime and stabbed Kate before falling to her assumed death… Now she’s standing in Kate’s home, with no warning or communication from her father, and Kate’s instinct is to hug her? Really Kate? Really? Nice job soldier. Any normal person, considering the circumstances, would think, “Why didn’t dad tell me you were coming? Or that you’re better?” and then wonder what happened to their father. Not hug formerly – potentially still – crazed sister. Granted, Kate does ask about her dad, but it is after she hugs Alice. And… AND, she just openly accepts the excuse that her dad needed “off the grid alone time” and that’s why she hasn’t heard from him in weeks? Nope. Sorry. Don’t buy it. I mean, I know that this is essentially true based on the “future” we’ve seen, but no logical person would think and react the way Kate is. Actually, now that I’m thinking about it. Can someone check on Bette? Can we make sure Alice didn’t kill her before popping over to Kate’s apartment? She disappeared a while ago… Just take a deep breath and keep reading. It’ll get better.

But hey, it gets worse! Kate and Alice are getting all chummy with each other. They’re bantering back and forth, making jokes about wine, acting like old school friends that are catching up during a holiday… Andreyko does realize these two have essentially had NO interaction since they were around the age of eight, right? I get they’re sisters, but this shouldn’t be a “let’s catch up” session. They don’t really know each other. Oh, and look… Nocturna is getting involved… and she’s starting a catfight with Alice… And am I really reading lines of Alice saying things like, “You used to be much more… “muchier.” You’ve lost your muchness.” And “You always had a thing for strays. Especially the lost ones (referring the Nocturna).”… Excuse me, but WTF? Can someone please make sure Andreyko picked up an issue of Batwoman and actually read it before he took over the book? Rachel Gluckstern? Mark Doyle? DC Comics? Somebody? I’m not the only one completely confused here am I? Editors, at what point do you step in and say, “Yoo hoo! I’m not sure Alice should be referring to Kate’s dating life considering the last time they spoke they were probably watching My Little Pony.” “You always had a thing for strays…” Are you kidding me? Somebody fire someone! Please! (Never mind… I just remembered this book was cancelled. We’re all good!)

Let’s time-out for a second though so I can stop my ranting and actually acknowledge Andreyko for something. I actually enjoyed reading the banter between Kate, Alice, and Nocturna. It was fun and engaging, and had it not been these characters with their histories, then I would have loved it… but it is Kate, Alice, and Nocturna… and they do have their history… If you want to write this interaction, then write it with Bette, Kate, and Nocturna! If that were the case, the two previous paragraphs would contain a completely different tone!

The story continues by jumping over to Rory and Clayface. If you remember, Clayface is having a bit of a memory lapse, and decides to go online and research himself. How do you think that goes? He’s a murderer. It’s a whole “woe is me, I’m a terrible person, how can I live, lock me up” bit. I could’ve done without it.

We finally get to the action of this issue after poor attempts at creating drama and character moments. Thankfully, it’s more enjoyable. Does it save the issue? Not at all. The Unknowns come together to try and stop Morgan Le Fay, and prevent her from gaining another amulet that will increase her power. She’s not the best villain, but she’s definitely strong, and that is a little intriguing in itself. But with a trip to space on the horizon, pretty much any intrigue that I can muster is lost.
The Good: Don’t you dare! I’m kidding. There actually are some good elements in this book, they’re just unfortunately ruined due to the extremely poor characterization. This has hindered Andreyko’s run on this title form the beginning, and it’s only gotten worse over time.

The Bad: I think I bashed this issue enough. If you want more bad, then please go pick up the issue.

The Art: I’ve been very vocal about not being a fan of Jeanty’s art. It looks blobby, and there’s little detail. It’s like bitter icing on a stale cake. The whole experience gets ruined. I feel bad for the previous creative team and the amazing work they put into this title. Their “baby” has been ruined.

Spoiler

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Recommended if:

  • You’ve enjoyed Andreyko’s run on Batman.
  • You enjoy when characters act nothing like themselves.
  • You want to continue reading this book until the end.

Overall: If you’ve been following Batwoman since the beginning, then you’re going to find this issue to extremely frustrating. If you’re new to the book and characters, then you might actually find this issue somewhat entertaining. If you asked my advice though, I’d tell you to chance your money on another title.

SCORE: 3.5/10