Batwoman #12: Woman of Wonders
Over in Wonder Woman #12, there's been something of a big reveal at the end, indicating that the New Gods will be making themselves known very soon in the aftermath of the changing of the guard in Olympus. Hera has been exiled by the newly-crowned Apollo, and Hermes has betrayed Diana and Zola by taking the latter's child to Demeter. I'd speak more on that, but sadly, Wonder Woman lost me as soon as they introduced the Amazon Sex Pirate Spartans. All I can say is 'New Genesis Fans, Rock Rock On.'
However, Diana's also getting a starring role over in the J.H. Williams III/W. Haden Blackaman Batwoman series, which seems to be getting back into the swing of things with issue #12. True, the first arc of the series is STILL bleeding onward, as Kate Kane is trying to track down the ultimate culprit behind the abductions and murders of children – one evil magic shapeshifter named Maro and the shadowy Medusa organization. However, the last few issues have felt very disjointed, which is a danger whenever you start jumping back and forth in the timeline of a story and juggling a lot of different characters. It's been good, but it's something that likely reads better when collected as one book rather than spread out over several months.
Batwoman's dealings with Maro and her subordinates like the Weeping Woman have kept her firmly steeped in mysticism, and she's managed to weather it well with the help of the Department of Extranormal Operations, the pain in the ass Agent Chase and its director, one awesome invisible-fleshy guy named Bones (seriously, I want a Director Bones #0. And a Director Bones series). Now that she's grasping at straws, enlisting werebeasts and hunting down urban legends like Bloody Mary for help, she eventually gets the idea to bring in a powerful magical ally – and who better to help stop Medusa than a Greek warrior like Wonder Woman?
Diana's battle with the Serpentine cult and their giant monster that should not be unfolds concurrently with Batwoman's confrontation with Mary, and Williams proves his stunning artistic mettle once more by differentiating the styles of both tales in a way that's both subtle and stark somehow. He seems to be somewhat emulating the Cliff Chiang style from Brian Azzarello's WW book while not copying it directly, while keeping his usual stellar painted look for Kate Kane's adventure. It'll be interesting to see how those two distinct aesthetics mesh when the twain eventually meet.
Also compelling is the notion that Bones set up a giant yacht in Gotham's harbor as their local base of operations just to piss off Chase, who gets seasick. It's also cool to see a skeleton-man wearing beach-bum clothes – and a curious little revelation comes with that – Bones seems to have a cybernetic left leg. That alone makes me happy if for no other reason than I now have much more reason to expect some cool Bones-centric stories in the future.
Then there's the long-awaited resurgence of Kate's cousin Bette, whom she was training as a sidekick before kicking her off the training regimen, forcing her to try to prove herself in her old identity of Flamebird and nearly got herself killed doing it. It took a promise from Kate's father, Bette's uncle, to promise to give her the same training Kate got that actually brought her out of her coma. Very much looking forward to seeing how an underrated character like Bette factors into things later on down the line.
Batwoman feels like it's back in the saddle again – not that it was ever really off. It still feels like a breath of fresh air for the series, though, and come on – Batwoman and Wonder Woman. That's gonna be a cool team-up no matter how you slice it.