Collective Consciousness Batwoman #1

by stephengervais on March 14, 2017

Welcome back to Collective Consciousness, our weekly article where the staff takes one comic and puts it under the microscope. This allows us, and you, faithful reader, to get a good idea of how the comic fares against a variety of opinions. This week we're taking a look at new series from DC Comics, Batwoman #1.
DC solicit: “On the island nation of Coryana, anything goes for members of the criminal underworld... and during her lost years after being drummed out of the military, Kate Kane found a kind of refuge there. But now, a deadly new bioweapon is available in the markets of Coryana, and Batwoman will have to face up to the things she did in those days... and the people she left behind, some of whom would be happier to see her dead than alive!”
Written by: Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV
Art by: Steve Epting
Publisher: DC Comics
Ryan Lahaise
With so many characters from the Batman side of the DC universe do we need yet another series? Batwoman proves that we do. Kate Kane is such an engaging character, and this series is really refreshing since it does not set itself in Gotham or a Gotham like city. I enjoyed this book so much. Getting hints of Kates past along with her currently on mission helps to really connect with the character. There are parallels to Batman but there is enough here as well that gives Batwoman a unique look and style all her own.
Tony Hsieh
I know of Batwoman, but I have never been interested in reading her books.  Nothing against her character; it's just that after nearly 12 books on my pull list, I don't really have room for any others.  With that being said, I have never read any of her books, and don't know too much about her character.
The first thing I noticed about Batwoman #1 is now much she operates in the full light of day.  I know, it's not like Batman is strictly nocturnal, but there's something more striking about Kate Kane's costume than any of Batman's.  Perhaps it's the stark black with the explosion of red on her cape, boots, emblem, and hair that stands out so much.  It doesn't matter if we have a full colored panel or a black and white flashback; Batwoman simply pops off the page.
As for the story, it's a mildly interesting "secrets from character's past come back to haunt her/mysterious organization wanting to destroy the world" type of thing, but I probably won't continue to read the series.  Maybe if I have some free time I might pick up some trades, but for now, other than the impressive art direction, I'm not super impressed with the first issue.
The rebirth issue of this was nothing special, but one thing I think that rebirth has taught people is to not judge a series by the rebirth issue. The rebirth issue was a trailer of sorts, but this is where it really delves into the story. I have to say it sets up a much more interesting premise than the one originally set up in Detective Comics. I personally felt that with Detective Comics it was just gonna be Kate hunting down different monsters solo, which to me didn't sound all to interesting, instead it is Date with her own network, complete with a Butler/ Assistant in the form of Julia Pennyworth, a character that I loved in eternal, n now think it's so great that she is showing up. As for the book, it is not straight forward, as it sets up a rally intriguing mystery i can't wait to dive deeper into.
Hussein Al-Wasiti
It's a shame that Batwoman has to tie into the abysmal Night of the Monster Men at all, but writers Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV ground the monster serum epidemic and turn it into a serious tale. Batwoman, Kate Kane, has been a great addition to the recent Detective Comics series by Tynion, and her getting her own series only seems like the logical step.
I didn't care much for the Rebirth issue preceding this, but the writing was very strong. It took itself seriously, and this transitions to this series. This is a personal story for Kate, taking her to places she never thought she would see again. Along for the ride is Julia Pennyworth for some much-needed humour.
All this grounded storytelling is brought to life by the wonderful Steve Epting. The story presented looked and felt very realistic, and Jeromy Cox's colours helped achieve this. I got slight Sheriff of Babylon vibes when looking at the art.
I'm definitely going to be picking up this series given the strength of this first issue.
Forrest Hollingsworth
Given that I’m not a fan of the usual fare of “cape” books – I’m surprised at how much I liked this. Kate Kane finds herself returning, unexpectedly, to her past – looking for the answers to questions it seems she never thought she had to ask. And, for me at least, it works.
The art and the story are both smartly grounded in realism, bringing these supernatural elements, sometimes feeling misplaced in Batman books, to a realm of possibility that feels fitting for Batwoman. Similarly, the dialogue and supporting cast are honed, believable and the mystery at hand seems to have a depth, significant for Kate and readers alike.
The issue struggles then, in drawing too many comparisons to books it’s not – there’s more talking about Bruce, the ways Kate is both like Bruce and NOT like Bruce, than there is establishing where Kate is – where Batwoman is – right now. It’s a misstep but not a totally distracting one as it helps the world feel coherent, connected if a little misfocused. 
The next issue, Running Up That Hill, it’s named (I see what you did there with Kate Bush and Kate Kane by the way) makes me wonder what makes Kate want to swap places with God as the song goes. I’m eager to see. 

Our Score:


A Look Inside