We’re getting closer to scariest time of year and, in this reviewer’s opinion, the best time of year: Halloween! As horror stories start trickling in we also get horror-like superhero stories and 2017 is a good year for those. With Dark Nights: Metal being punctuated as a horror story in itself, Marguerite Bennett aims to deliver a horror story just for Kate Kane in Batwoman #7.
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
“FEAR AND LOATHING” part one! When her father, Colonel Jacob Kane, realized that Kate would never become the soldier he wanted, he chose someone else to lead his secret paramilitary group, the Colony. That man–Colony Prime–hates nobody on Earth the way he hates Kate…and the feeling is mutual! So when the two of them are stranded in the Sahara Desert, heavily dosed with Scarecrow’s fear toxin, with no way to survive except to rely on each other…they might just choose death instead!
Why does this matter?
Aside from this being the start of a new, horror-tastic story arc, this is also a series punctuated with interesting flashbacks to Batwoman’s past. Bennett has delivered some deeply emotional stories that resonate with anyone who has ever been in love. Plus, Fernando Blanco draws this issue who simply blew me away time and time again on Midnighter and Apollo.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Go home Batwoman, you’re drunk!
This issue is very economical with its page time, opening in the now as we witness a distressed Batwoman wander in the Sahara Desert. It then opens with captions and a double page layout revealing what Kate’s last month has been like and it’s action packed. These first three pages are a reminder this would be the perfect series to take on a superhero/James Bond angle if the movie studios ever wanted to. Batwoman is stopping bad guys with big plans, kicking ass, and enjoying some barbecue too (just look below). This issue weaves in past memories with Safiyah and another love as Kate attempts to stay alive in the desert. It’s safe to say things get pretty weird and you’ll wonder if the heat and sun are getting to her. Then Bennett flips the script completely in the last three pages and truly changes where this story is going. It’s a great mix of character building and weird-out moments throughout this issue.
Blanco draws a hell of an issue–especially the last three pages–which go from trippy, to horrific, to action-packed at the drop of a hat. Blanco mixes up the action well with interesting layouts and good detail (you’ve never seen a robo-ape quite like this!). The quieter, more intimate moments land in a strong meaningful way too, in part because Blanco is able to capture such beauty in efficient ways. There’s also an interesting POV panel that reoccurs of Kate’s legs that adds a layer of dreamlike quality to the narrative.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Customary of discombobulating narratives it’s not the clearest and easy to follow plotting in a series. That’s part of the experience, though I wasn’t quite sure who characters were at times having not read a lot of Batwoman (but having read all of this series), which left me a bit in the dark.
Is It Good?
This is an excellent issue that’s unnerving and deeply real when it comes to character writing. Batwoman is in very capable hands and it’s one of the best interpretations of her ever.