Batwoman is on the hunt to stop a major terrorist threat, but may learn more about her past than she bargained for. We dive into issue #2 to answer the question, is it good?
Writer: Margeurite Bennett & James Tynion IV
Artist: Steve Epting
Publisher: DC Comics
So what’s it about? The official summary reads:
“The Many Arms Of Death” part two! The criminal haven of Coryana has changed completely in the years since Batwoman left! The biggest change of all? Her closest friends are now her enemies — or they’re corpses! It’s time for Kate Kane to cut to the heart of what’s happening here, and find out who brought the deadly bioweapon Monster Venom into Coryana…but she might get her own heart cut out in the process, by the unbeatable assassin known as the Knife!
Why does this book matter?
Marguerite Bennett is a writer to watch with her name on some of the best books every month. Co-writing with James Tynion IV, they’ve created a Bat-family book here that feels incredibly unique and separate. Add in Steve Epting on art, who has a gritty crime-style that’s all his own, and you have a series that could probe Batwoman in new and interesting ways.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Gorgeous opening page.
This issue further fleshes out “The Lost Year” as it’s written when Batwoman recouped from an injury on Coryana. This island clearly holds many dear memories for Batwoman, which further complicates her visiting the island in the now. The writing team does a good job fleshing out more details from her past which includes the not-so-good-guy sort of folks her lover was involved with. As the reader discovers new details, the book flashes forward which helps ramp up the reader’s anticipation.
Epting positively kills it on art, especially in a five page action sequence pitting Batwoman against the mysterious assassin from the last issue. In pages with four to five panels Epting does a lot, perfectly guiding the reader through each blow and attack. His art truly excels in the darkness, with a majority of pages later in the issue doing just that. That said, the opening flashback has a romantic whimsy to it not unlike something from Rebecca. Maybe it’s the pretty roses, or the somewhat subdued colors by Jeromy Cox, but you get a sense of fond memories long gone visually.
The issue ends on a somewhat chilling reveal of a new threat to the people on the island. Two new characters, perfectly dressed and primped, turn out to be a scary duo. The creative team has me interested in these characters right off the bat.
That’s a lot of captions.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Though the island politics can be intriguing, the delivery is rather heavy on the exposition. On one page for instance, there are 15 captions running down the page over five panels (it’s a double page layout so the numbers might vary based on your opinion). We get a whole lot of backstory with very little imagery, which slows things down and makes you care less. Because there’s less showing and too much telling it’s hard to follow who all these people are and more importantly hard to care. We’ll see how this shakes out from here, but a page detailing the hierarchy and relationships between these characters would be helpful.
Is It Good?
The plot thickens in an issue that reveals more backstory, but will be most memorable to folks due to a wickedly good action scene.