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Batwoman #1 Review

Written by Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV
Art by Steve Epting
Colors by Jeromy Cox
Letters by Deron Bennett

Review by John Dubrawa

Batwoman is one of DC Comics’ most fascinating characters, a fact that writers James Tynion IV and Marguerite Bennett must realize as well given the prominence of Kate Kane in both of their recent writings. Between Detective Comics and Bombshells, Tynion and Bennett have shown not only an understanding for Batwoman’s greatness but also a willingness to expand her history in a way her New 52 series was never able to do. Now, the duo of Tynion and Bennett present Batwoman #1, the official start to their journey of writing the character in the Rebirth era, and the good news for those that enjoyed Batwoman’s heyday during the New 52 era days is this issue has a lot of the same feel. There’s still some rough edges to work out but it’s just great to have a Batwoman solo book back in DC’s lineup.

It’s important to note that although this issue does not require prior knowledge of the character, Batwoman #1 is a product of what has come before it, particularly Tynion and Bennett’s most recent “Batwoman Begins” story-arc in Detective Comics. For the most part, however, Tynion and Bennett manage to keep all readers on equal ground as the issue moves from Kate’s monster-hunting side mission to a more elaborate and mysterious central plot involving a “lost year” of her past. It’s almost too mysterious, unfortunately, what with Kate being stalked by a mysterious stranger to a mysterious island that holds some kind of mysterious significance to the both of them. I trust enough in Tynion and Bennett that they’ll make sense of this in the long run, but the idea of a new reader coming to this title with no history of the character and facing vague reference after vague reference doesn’t feel like the right move for an issue #1.

What does unequivocally work in this first issue, however, is Steve Epting’s gorgeous artwork. Marvel fans already know what Epting is capable of from his extensive history with Captain America, and there’s a surprising parallel that carries over to this issue as well. Much of Tynion and Bennett’s script deals with quieter moments of espionage that fits right into Epting’s wheelhouse. However, when a monster suddenly appears and puts the chase to Batwoman, the artwork never misses a beat. Epting’s panel layouts keep the action moving quickly and Batwoman herself moving even quicker. Jeromy Cox’s colors are crisp and vibrant when necessary and subdued when the issue takes a more calm approach to the storytelling. Batwoman deserves to look as great as she does in this book.

Verdict

Buy! Even if you have no previous connection the character and just think she looks cool, buy this book. There’s some hurdles to overcome in terms of the plot being incredibly vague, but knowing the writing team there’s a good payout to come. Steve Epting’s art is exactly what you would expect from someone that spent so long drawing Captain America:  a sense of kinetic action with an ability to draw tenser, more dramatic scenes. This book is worth your dollars to be sure.

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