Detective Comics #949 Review
Art by Ben Oliver and Szymon Kudranski
Colors by Ben Oliver, Gabe Eltaeb, and Hi-Fi
Letters by Marilyn Patrizio
Review by John Dubrawa
Detective Comics #949 marks the end of the all-too-brief two-issue mini-arc, “Batwoman Begins” in which co-writers James Tynion IV and Marguerite Bennett prepare to set Batwoman off on her own solo adventure next month. Whether or not the character will be pulling double duty and appearing in both books is still unclear, but judging by how this particular issue plays out, Batwoman is going to have her hands full in her own title moving forward. However, if there’s anyone that can handle herself and kick some serious monster butt, it’s Kate freaking Kane. If somehow you didn’t know that already, Tynion IV and Bennett show you exactly why in this issue.
Whereas last issue primarily set the stage–introducing the quarantined section of Gotham known as “Monster Town,” tasking Kate to find a missing monster serum, and the reappearance of The Colony–this issue leans heavily on the capability of Kate Kane. Removed from the team dynamic, Batwoman displays both a cunningness and ruthlessness against her foes that plays right into Tynion IV and Bennett’s growing narrative about Kate’s duality as both a crime fighter and a solider. Much like last issue, flashback is used to mine even further into Kate’s psyche (via her first face-to-cowl meeting with Batman), not to mention a way to show the sad reality of how far back her father Jacob’s betrayal truly went. That Jacob will continue to be a major player in Batwoman’s adventures moving forward is one of the brightest prospects of the upcoming solo title.
Detective Comics #949 once again features the majesty that is Ben Oliver’s stunning interior artwork. It’s hard not to just repeat what I said last time, but the swift linestrokes that Oliver uses are almost painterly in nature. Oliver’s own colors, along with those from Gabe Eltaeb and Hi-Fi, are, in true Batman fashion, primarily muted grays and deep blacks, while Batwoman’s outfit stands out in a beautiful blood red. There is a fill-in artist this time around as Szymon Kudranski steps in for two quick pages right smack in the middle of the issue but it doesn’t detract from the flow of the action at all. If anything, Kudranski manages to keep the energy going, and that carries through right to the end with Oliver’s magnificent final full-page spread.
Buy! “Batwoman Begins” comes to a close with an issue that shows exactly why Kate Kate is deserving of her own book. She’s not just another member of the Bat-family, she’s an intricate character in her own right that is luckily in the possession of two great writers. And while she’ll be moving on with a different artist, Ben Oliver’s artwork for these last two issues have shown that if the Batwoman solo book ever needs a temporary artist down the line, he’s more than deserving of that job.