By Marguerite Bennett, James Tynion IV, Steve Epting & Jeremy Cox
“What can Batwoman do that Batman can’t?” is the question that opens this issue and it’s really interesting to see how the excellent creative team of Bennett and Tynion IV explore this, putting the spotlight on the character from the very beginning in a brand new solo series that fleshes out Kate in a very interesting way. The book really benefits from a mystery focus that separates it from the standard superhero fare of other bat-family books and it makes a very good case for another series to be added to that lengthy list of titles already available.
Teaming Batwoman with Julia Pennyworth to fulfil the role of Alfred, Batwoman #1 sees the main character on the hunt for answers. She’s spent the past six weeks on secret operations, stakeouts, and beating multiple organizations like white supremacist groups, but is no closer to solving the mystery that is at the core of the book. Spinning right out of Detective Comics (while managing to remain accessible for newcomers), the series follows Kate’s international quest to find the seller of a serum that is turning people into monsters. Bennet and Tynion IV really buil on this interesting premise to create a fascinating mystery that fans of the genre will love, especially those who love Bond movies. The decision to move away from Gotham plays a large part in making this mystery seem all that more appealing – rather than return to the familiar city, new surroundings such as Istanbul and Malta are explored here that provide an incredibly interesting backdrop. The longer this series moves away from Gotham the better, as there’s an infinite potential to explore with Kate on a more global scale.
Steve Epting is one of the best artists around right now and his work in Batwoman #1 is nothing short of incredible. The human touch applied to the characters makes them feel all the more real, fleshing out their emotions in a way that few others can hope to match. Everything from the action sequences to the quieter moments are clear and easy to follow and there’s no confusion as to who’s who when the brawls take place. It helps that his take on Kate Kane is so distinctive as well, really standing out in her batsuit and always casting an intimidating presence. The colors from Jeremy Cox do an excellent job at layering her character even further, making use of a focused palette to keep Kate’s world feeling personal and small despite the multiple locations that are visited in this issue. The layouts are well constructed too, with every page flowing incredibly well into the next.
There is a very strong narrative approach here that benefits from the decision to show rather than tell the reader. Rather than opt for clunky exposition the creative team keeps you in largely in the dark as to the mystery and as a result, this fresh and distinctive approach to the character feels like an incredibly welcome one. There’s a lot to love about Batwoman #1 and thanks to the care shown by the excellent creative team, this is one superhero comic that really shouldn’t be ignored.