Written by Dan Abnett
Art by Philip Tan
Colors by Dean White
By Matthew Iung
The Dark Knights are a fearsome force to be reckoned with and The Drowned is no different. She comes from earth negative eleven which is the dark multiverse counterpart to Earth-11. Where the Amazons imposed their law over the world and where the Hero’s like Wondrous Man, Superwoman, Batwoman, and Aquawoman are apart of the Justice Guild.
However on the Drowned world in true Batman/woman form she distrusted the Atlanteans and their request for peace upon emerging from the depths. When peace talks break down she goes to war, eventually killing Aquawoman, in retaliation, the Atlanteans drowned Gotham and a war is waged between land and sea.
Abnett takes Batwoman here and really shows the lengths she will go to especially after having everything taken from her. There is a primal ruthlessness that gets amplified by the alterations that she makes to herself in the course of the war. She changes her anatomy so that she can fight in any environment and ends up building a new species to wage war alongside her. We also learn that she has an ability that allows her to alter people into zombie-like drones.
The art credit for this book is a little hard to work out Tan (art) and White (Colors) have the cover credits but on the credits page, Tyler Kirkman (Art) and Arif Prianto (colors) are credited as well. Regardless of how the book was priced out or who did what, cover to cover this is a good looking book. With there being a distinction between the flashbacks and current pages it makes things feel separate and there is a bit of a feeling that the reader is watching this transformation and disfigurement with Batwoman. The costume design is cool and there are several pages that I personally would love to have up on my walls.
A trend I have been noticing is that some of the theses one-shots have their roots in a very old school horror and this one sort of rounds out the big three. The Murder Machine is the very science Fiction horror, The Dawn Breaker had weird fiction elements with horror from beyond and The Drowned covers things from the depths and maritime horror. These issues have been pretty good and even though at times the resemblance to their roots may only be slight it’s still fun to have these stories be so reminiscent.
Abnett and Tan really deliver on this character and her past it’s cool to use a unique earth like Earth-11 where the major heroes are now women. Verdict, Give it a read like all of the one-shots it’s not necessary but this is a well-penciled issue with a solid story and a cool take on Batwoman.