Kate Kane returns in Batwoman: Rebirth #1 by James Tynion IV, Marguerite Bennett, and Steve Epting. Will the issue convince readers to join Batwoman on a new adventure? Is it good?
Batwoman: Rebirth #1 (DC Comics)
As an introduction encapsulating Batwoman’s origin and history, Batwoman: Rebirth #1 is certainly more entertaining and engaging, than, say, a Wikipedia article. And for readers new to the character, perhaps that’s all that is needed. For everyone else though, it’s hard to really sell this comic as anything more than an expertly crafted trailer for what’s to come.
It is undoubtedly a beautiful book, with Tynion and Bennett weaving through Kate Kane’s lengthy history to bring out a dark tonal quality to the narrative. The scenes here capture important moments in Kane’s life, but are fleeting in nature. Often just as readers get a sense of the conflict at hand, the scene cuts, creating a sense of rising tension before the final page reveal. As a deliberate choice, it works amazingly to create a sense of anticipation.
The artwork by Steve Epting is phenomenal, especially in the layouts. Rather than use guttered panels, Epting frames several images around a central figure, with colorist Jeremy Cox using a washed out palette on the surrounding images to highlight the central figure. The layouts create a strong flow and rhythm throughout the issue, a welcome feature considering the breadth of the narrative.
Is It Good?
The problem with Batwoman Rebirth #1 is that, in spite of how well it reads, it feels like little more than an advertisement for the upcoming series. While that may be one of the purposes of these “Rebirth” issues, it’s almost impossible to tell what type of book Batwoman will be once the first true issue hits the stand. What will the pacing be like? What will the focus be in the first arc? How will the dialogue read when the issue isn’t focused on a highlight reel of “big” moments? Other than the artwork, Batwoman Rebirth #1 leaves too much of that a mystery. Readers will likely come away still very much interested in Batwoman, but feeling a bit like they paid full price for an advert.