Batwoman #15 has Kate reckoning with Alice and Tahani’s plague of diseased bats which they’ve let loose upon Gotham City in the hopes of sending everyone into a sickly chaos. Does the issue maintain the excitement level set by the previous one’s confrontation between Batwoman and The Many Arms of Death?
I have to start by talking about Fernando Blanco’s line art. It feels like he gets better and better with each issue and continues to try bigger, bolder visuals that have me gasping every time. From giant bats that frame the page to a two-page spread drawn to look like a medieval tome with era-appropriate style, Blanco serves nothing but his best in this issue. Even when he’s not drawing an eye-popping spread, his characters are rendered consistently and cleanly and his backgrounds are full of details like tiny trees in a birds-eye view of Gotham City.
John Rauch’s colors continue to work completely in tandem with Blanco’s line art and he continues to deliver exceptionally gorgeous fire and lighting effects. There’s an explosion in this issue that’s just gorgeous and almost photorealistic at a glance. This effect is thanks to the generous amount of white used in the flames with expertly handled gradients of orange and red that dim and glow in just the right ways to catch the eye and impress. I also love the more muted palette chosen for the medieval-style pages that help give an aged look to the panels while still letting it be colorful.
Deron Bennett’s lettering in this issue is a bit of a mixed bag. While most of the lettering remains consistent with the style of the series thus far and a few action effects are even more stylized and animated, there are a few sound effects that miss the mark. Whether it’s because of really flat coloration that contrast with backgrounds more than pop or just too simplistic and repetitive a font choice, the sound effects on some panels seemed like more of an afterthought than the more stylized ones on other pages.
What I felt was also something of a mixed bag was Marguerite Bennett’s script. The issue is fast-paced and exciting and while the way in which Kate solves the problem in front of her is clever, I felt like it all happened so fast that it lowered the stakes of the issue. Because she so quickly resolves the immediate threat, it made me feel like there was never any real danger, even though her resourcefulness does make Kate quick-thinking badass. On the other hand, I’m going to return to the medieval-style pages because I can’t get enough of them. That spread is a very clever way to recap Alice’s origin story without anyone doing any redundant monologuing. I also continue to love Kate’s voice and feel that Bennett has really solidified what this character sounds like in my head through her excellent characterization.
Overall, Batwoman #15 keeps up the series’ pace and features some truly gorgeous spreads that elevate the series in a major way. This issue also ends on a super exciting cliffhanger that makes me want the next issue immediately!