Detective Comics #949 review

This is the finale to the two-part “Batwoman Begins” story, but really, it’s not a finale at all.  Pretty much everything is left hanging.  This story is really just a sampling of what you should expect to get from the upcoming Batwoman series, to make you aware of it, and to peak your interest enough so that you’ll consider picking up the first issue when it comes out.  In that sense, you could say that Tec 948 and 949 have been nothing more than an extended advertisement.

There are two different perspectives you can approach this book with.  One is that you’re excited about the new Batwoman series and have every intention to continue this story in the pages of her new book.  Two is that you could care less about the new series and this two-parter has been a waste of your time.  Fortunately for me, I’m of the former opinion.  But I can totally see how the people who are solely buying and collecting Tec would feel cheated.  Now, the completionist in you will be forced to buy something you weren’t planning on getting in order to quell that facial tick.  Or maybe I’m just talking about myself.  I know that if I weren’t interested in Batwoman’s upcoming series, this little manipulation would have easily forced me to buy the book.  What can I say, I’m a compulsive finisher.  I just have to know.  It’s not a terrible strategy to use since wanting to know how a story ends is kind of built in to all of us to one degree or another, but it’s still kind of a cheap move.

I think it would have been preferable if this story had been more self contained.  That way you’d actually get a complete tale, and if you liked it, you’d then know where to go to get more of the same.  It just seems to me that there were methods available that would have been less likely to irritate some people.

As I said in my opening paragraph, everything is essentially left hanging: the villain gets away, the bio weapon isn’t recovered, the colony is still active.  You get no closure of any kind.  While I’m fine with these things not being answered since I plan on picking up Batwoman anyway, the story did at least try to give us a complete thematic arc.  But that might not be such a blessing as it’s one of the elements I actually didn’t care for.  In the first issue, we were basically asked the question, “What kind of hero will you be?”  This story does answer that question, but the thing is, Kate literally answers it herself through dialogue:

This isn’t the kind of thing I prefer to see.  In a story laced with flashbacks, why couldn’t we have seen the deciding moment that made her come to this realization.  I fell like this is one of the things we see writers do far too much: we are told and not shown why a character came to a decision.  When you consider that comics are only limited by the imagination of the writer, I don’t really feel there is an excuse for doing something like this.

Ben Oliver

The fill in artist…

Art for this issue is once again handled by Ben Oliver, and while the illustrations themselves are still wonderful, something is off about the ambiance.  Comparing the credits from both issues, I noticed that Ben did 948 all on his own but 949 had a team assisting with the color.  That is most likely what led to this particular issue having a less magical and more dull presentation.  It’s also worth noting that 2 of the 20 pages in this book are done by another artist.  It’s right in the middle of the book, and when it happened, I found it rather obvious.  Considering the assist with color and art, it seems fairly conclusive that Ben ran out of time and simply wasn’t able to deliver the kind of quality art that he gave us during part one.

The issue also ends with one of those generic “hero jumps off into the night to continue to fight the good fight against some, as of yet, unknown opponent”.  I’ve seen these kinds of ending splash pages hundreds of times and I really don’t care for them that much.  If you’re a regular reader you’ve probably seen me bring this up before.  It’s a personal preference, and while it might not bug everyone, it does bug me.

“Ok then.  It seems like all you’ve done so far is complain.  What is there to like?”

The character interactions are still wonderful, especially in the opening flashback.  Batman, once again, gets several nods as to how awesome he is.  And while there is a brief physical altercation between Kate and Batman, nobody comes out as looking weak by it.  So whether you’re rooting for Batman or Kate, you can walk away with your head held high knowing your hero wasn’t made out to look like a punk.

Speaking of looking like a punk, our villain may get away, but Batwoman and Batman completely put him in his place.  Which basically confirms my trepidations from last issue.  Colony Prime is overconfident and doesn’t actually have the mad skills he thinks he does in order to take on the Bats in their own lair.  It’s simply nice to see some arrogant jerk put in his place.  Heck, even Jacob Kane gives him a jab of sorts.  I’m not sure if this guy is going to end up being the major villain for the Batwoman series, but if so, this development kind of took away a lot of his bite.

Recommended if…

  • You want to read the prequel to Batwoman’s new series starting next month.


If I had to pick one thing as this stories major shortcoming, it would be that it doesn’t resolve anything.  Aside from that, it’s also not much more than an extended advertisement for another comic.  Granted, I enjoyed it, but I can see how a person not interested in the further adventures of Batwoman might be displeased with it.  Given that, I can’t really give it my full backing as I think your enjoyment level is dependent on what you’re reading it for.

SCORE: 7 / 10