Marguerite Bennett takes a break for Batwoman #11 but that doesn’t mean the issue lacks the staples of the series; character growth, flashbacks, horror and brooding aplenty feature in this month’s chapter.
I was delighted to see from Panosian’s creepy cover that this issue, it’s all about Pyg! Personally, I can’t get enough of the twisted professor; He’s been around for about a decade now and I’m glad he hasn’t faded into obscurity like so many newer villains tend to do because he’s incredibly creepy and often a lot of fun. I think what’s so frightening about him is that he’s more akin to the Joker than the Riddler or Two-Face because there’s little logic to his actions. You never know what he’s going to do and you certainly can’t reason with him; it’s not often that you can even get into a conversation with him because he tends to spew hilarious nonsense while slashing at his victim with a butcher’s meat cleaver. Here’s my favourite Pyg quote from Batman Eternal:
Unfortunately, Pyg isn’t quite as unpredictable or dramatic in this issue as he was in Grant Morrison’s Batman & Robin or in his appearances in Batman Eternal. He recently turned up in the pages of Nightwing and kidnapped Dick’s girlfriend, Shawn Tsang, and his function is similar here; this time Julia Pennyworth is his target of choice because she’s been digging into his criminal activities. Luckily for us, Pyg’s traditional characterisation isn’t totally absent- he’s still dangerous, eloquent and dedicated to his ‘art’ and that gives Scott Godlewski a wonderful opportunity for large panels of Pyg in all his horrific glory.
Speaking of which, 20 pages fly by under Godlewski’s pencils. There are kickass splash pages, lots of heavy shadow, clean details where required (such as when Kate is analysing a clue) and large, bold blocks of colour elsewhere (Kate’s hair mostly appears as one unbroken shape). There are also jumbled frames for the fight scenes and juxtaposed shots of Julia’s kidnapping and Kate’s exploration of the crime scene, a technique I’m very fond of when any detective work has to be done.
John Rauch’s colours look great too. The flashback is slightly sepia-toned and flashes of bright red are present throughout the issue, thanks to Pyg’s bloody dollotron operations and Kate’s flame-red hair. By contrast, the last page of the book shows Kate in her civilian clothing and I like how Rauch has chosen to mute the reds of her scarf and hair to accentuate the gloomy mood.
Not only does this issue feature a one-and-done adventure, it also provides some progression for Kate that sets up the next arc and a look at what kind of a sister Beth was before she went nuts (if you enjoy flashbacks, Batwoman never disappoints and they’re likely to come thick and fast in the next few issues featuring Kate’s family home in Brussels and the lost year in Coryana). That does mean some tiresome navel-gazing and questionable levels of self-doubt but it all reads as the organic upshot of Kate’s trials at the hands of Scarecrow and Pyg.
- You’re looking for a jumping-on point in the series.
- You like a good mix of contemplation and gory action.
- You’ve missed Professor Pyg and his freaky ways.
Overall: There’s a scene where Batwoman appears to have meticulously removed a boat’s motor when she should have been busy rescuing Pyg’s captives but apart from that, there’s little wrong here. Perkins bridges Bennett’s arcs nicely and there’s fun to be had along the way as well.