Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka

details
Title: Batwoman.
Story-arc: Elegy
Writer(s): Greg Rucka.
Penciller(s): J.H. Williams III.
Colourist(s): Dave Stewart.
Letterer(s): Todd Klein.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Format: Paperback.
Release Date: November 19th 2013.
Pages: 272.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
ISBN13: 9780785184874.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.

thoughts

Throughout his legacy, Batman has found himself countless allies to help him fight crime in the dirty and dangerous streets of Gotham. While some were recruited for their assets, others proved their worth through action rather than words. There is, however, always a line of conduct that is similar in every single one of these heroes and it is what brings them to work together. It is that silver lining that allows them to strike evil right in the face, with their fists or batarangs. Among these heroes, Batwoman, also known as Katherine “Kate” Kane, cousin to Bruce Wayne, is a hero that has quickly garnered a lot of attention. As a gay superhero, she is a symbol of a fiery passion for justice, smoothened by a seductive and teasing crime-fighting approach, yet very dangerous to anyone who finds themselves in her way.

What is Batwoman: Elegy about? Collecting Detective Comics #854-860, the story introduces Batwoman’s vigilantism debut in Gotham City while the Dark Knight is missing following Infinite Crisis. Dawning the blood-red bat symbol, Kate Kane is pitted against a madwoman known as Alice who runs around with a deep appreciation for Alice in Wonderland. With only her father to assist her on her war on crime, as well as her military background, she looks to stop Alice from unleashing a toxic death cloud on her city but an unimaginable revelation will flip her life upside down and resurge tragic memories from her childhood.

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Kate Kane was once a soldier who had to choose a dishonorable discharge for the sake of maintaining her self-respect and fighting for what she believes in. Throughout the story, there are glimpses of her character traits that are explored discretely, from her sexual preference for women to her lack of fear and thirst for adrenaline, that allow the reader to grasp her unique personality. Her past plays a major role on her current mindset, as she thrives to fight off wrongdoers while abiding by Batman’s code. Although this is an excellent entry point for new readers who want to find out Batwoman’s origins, it does have some moments that instills doubt in the reader’s understanding of the events that unfold, with humanesque creatures surging into the narrative and grafting in a story where she was once stabbed in the heart by an odd cult.

The artwork is foremost the most obvious appeal of this story arc. What J.H. Williams III has accomplished is a stunning work of art that gives Batwoman a terrifying yet dazzling image as a vigilante, while coating her with the appropriate amount of beauty and intellect to highlight her strengths. There is also a very original attempt to shift the artwork style according to the context, allowing the reader to easily note the differences in tone and time, as it changes whether she’s out as Batwoman, as Kate Kane or when we’re visiting her past.

This isn’t, however, to say that the visual style is flawless. There are a couple of issues that are worth noting and among those is the extremely ambitious ideas in the panel configuration on every page. There’s an overlaying theme of a hallucinogenic story-telling that is portrayed throughout sequences when she roams the city in her suit. Some of these pages are difficult to follow with there being very little clues to what the reading order of some dialogue bubbles actually is.

It should also be mentioned that the visuals convey a somewhat sexualized portrayal of her character that could be distracting at times, especially when her suit is somehow bulletproof while so incredibly skin-tight to the point where the curves of her nipples are more than visible. This style does, however, continue to emphasize her character’s sexuality, especially when her difficult but promiscuous love life is quickly glanced over throughout the story.

Batwoman: Elegy is a beautiful yet disorienting origin story that introduces Kate Kane through her feud with the madwoman Alice and unveils the past that has led her to become another guardian of Gotham City.


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Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!


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Following her debut in the CW Network Arrowverse crossover event ‘Elseworlds‘, she will now have her own show set to debut on October 6th, 2019 on the CW Network.
Will you be checking it out?

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