Monday, 19 September 2011

Batwoman #1

Series: Batwoman
Words: J.H. Williams & W. Haden Blackman
Images: J.H. Williams
Issue Number: 1
Release Date: In reality September but our cover reads November 2011
Format: Comic

One of the things that sets Batwoman ahead of the rest of the comics out there is the art. If this was a story just told via pictures I would still buy this comic every month and would still buy the trade paper back of it just to see the artwork inside it. J.H Williams is an amazing artist, I heavily suggest having a peek through his website especially the link to his flicker.

Of course the comic also does have words and a story. Luckily the artist is also one of the writers. The art and the story blend together so seamlessly. I loved how the artist makes style differences depending on if he's drawing Batwoman or her alter ego Kate Kane. It really stresses the personality shifts the character goes through when she puts on the mask and goes out.

One of the things that I like a lot about the modern Batwoman as a character is the blending of the supernatural with superheros. I was glad to see this trend continue with the relaunch. It makes for an interesting and refreshing twist on an old style superhero story for the supernatural to make up the primary focus of the villains of a very logical detective style hero with no actual powers. It ends up reading for me more like an urban fantasy that occasionally features Batman and company instead of a more hardcore super hero comic.

Issue one of Batwoman gives snippits of what happened in the pre-relaunch run Batwoman had with Detective Comics. I also adored that book so I am glad to see it still fits within the entire universe. I was sorta bemused that they just decided to ignore the relaunch and keep on going from where they were. But then again if it is not broken why fix it?

I first discovered the Batwoman character when friends of mine started demanding I read about the gay Batwoman who dates police officers. And that was their big hook for me to read the comic. Honestly it sorta worked. When Batwoman started appearing as a lesbian character there were mixed feelings about it some groups were worried it was less about diversity and more about hypersexualizing lesbians to fit into straight male fantasies (see here ). Of course it has also won some awards for having a lesbian character from

For the most part I like how the authors handle Batwoman's sexuality. It's there but it's not hyper sexualized for public consumption. I am hopeful with a little time she will shift from being the LESBIAN character into being a character who is lesbian. Yes there is a difference. As she develops and grows as a character (and she is showing potential signs that she will) then her sexuality will just become one part of who she is rather then how she is defined totally by the people consuming the comics.

I also like that Batwoman was the character chosen to have her back story slightly altered to make her LBTQ. For those of you who do not know Batwoman's history the character was introduced because people thought that Batman was gay. So way back in the day DC introduces Batwoman to act as a love interest and ease those fears.
Now she's the poster girl gay character.

And yes this amuses me endlessly. A character introduced out of homophobia is now the D.C. poster girl for queer inclusion.

I heavily suggest checking out issue one if you can still find a copy since they have already had to go into reprints of it. Otherwise wait for the reprint and have a gander at it if you can. Or if you have far more will power than I do well certainly buy this as a trade paperback.

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