Epilogues in comics tend to wrap things up for readers and make the story feel completely finished so as to move on from a big story arc. Given this is an epilogue issue and Batwoman’s time on a mysterious island may be at an end I couldn’t wait to dig in–I had so many questions!
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“THE MANY ARMS OF DEATH” epilogue! In this special one-off issue with art by Stephanie Hans (Angela), learn the truth of what went down between Kate and Safiyah, which led to the future Batwoman having to leave Coryana for what she was sure would be forever!
Why does this book matter?
Safiyah was an incredibly mysterious character in the last story arc thanks to her past with Kate and her relationship with the island. The story has harkened to the novel Rebecca in some ways as there’s danger looming, but also comfort right in front of you. Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV aim to fill in some gaps and in the process showcase some Kate Kane character work!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
The mystery continues with this issue, but it does so in a strong narrative way. Bennett and Tynion IV are writing a story here that’s at once romantic and dramatic. This issue basically shows how Kate and Safiyah got closer to each other, but given the political drama of the island, and Safiyah’s job as the boss to some dangerous people, it’s anything but simple. The issue reads like a dream in some ways, which actually suits Kate’s demeanor in the story. She’s hit her head and become a prisoner of sorts to the island and ends up attempting to gain favor with Safiyah, but I don’t even know if she knows why. In an excellent bit of captioning, Bennett and Tynion IV discuss fear, trust, and vulnerability. It conveys what many folks go through and feel when they get close to someone and I think many folks will be able to relate to it.
The art by Stephanie Hans is quite pretty in a painterly sort of way. The art plays around with double page layouts throughout with some striking use of color to look simple, but also clear in its intent. There’s an emotional arc going on here and Hans keeps you right there with Kate and Safiyah so that you feel what they feel. In a dramatic ending, Hans does excellent work showing the crashing and dangerous waves all about Kate and Safiyah. Then, in a dramatic full page layout, Hans shows memories cutting into a life or death moment. It builds the tension well and makes the full page spread cliffhanger that much more emotional.
It can’t be perfect can it?
It’s funny this is called an epilogue, because for all intents and purposes it’s more of a flashback issue to shed light on Kate and Safiyah and not any concluding chapter to what happened in the main story. It’s certainly a good comic, but it’s also a slow one. If you’re reading this don’t expect much action unless you consider character drama all the action you need.
Is it good?
An excellent romantic tale that tackles the budding of a relationship very well.