Batwoman is, indubitably, one of the best looking books on the market and issue #13 is no exception. Special guest star Wonder Woman continues to fight alongside Batwoman in a team-up that dreams are made of. The creative team of Williams and Blackman keep pushing the at the boundaries of the medium to deliver a book that combines visual innovation with stellar story-telling. The latest issue of “Batwoman” is equal parts expertly paced plot, character study, and stunning imagery, the likes of which we don’t see often enough.
WRITTEN BY: J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman
ART BY: J.H. Williams III
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
RELEASE: October 17, 2012
Issue #13 picks up with Kate and Diana preparing to enter a place even Amazons would fear to tread: a prison, deep underground, that houses monsters deemed more dangerous than Wonder Woman herself. Elsewhere, Bette and her uncle are lost in their own thoughts as they deal with the fallout of Bette’s recent injury.
Each character is trapped in a prison, some literal, some of their own making. To call “Batwoman” moody and atmospheric would be an understatement. Williams’ explosive layouts and energetic lines convey the themes and emotions that lie at the heart of the book: anxiety, willpower, and most importantly, fear. Though the October issue isn’t necessarily Halloween themed, it’s easily one of the scariest issues Williams and Blackman have produced.
The beauty of this issue is that we get to crawl inside the heads of two of the most formidable female characters in DC’s lineup. Through their voiceover narration, we’re given a glimpse at each character through the eyes of the other. Batwoman reflects on Wonder Woman with a sprinkling of hero worship while trying to maintain her cool exterior in the face of threats that she worries are just out of her league. Likewise, Diana muses about Batwoman’s bravery and adaptability. Williams and Blackman have created an interesting dichotomy between two warriors, whose origins are quite literally worlds apart, but who have more in common than they initially realize.
“Batwoman” is such a brilliantly designed book that it’s hard to believe that it’s a monthly. The level of sophistication in the illustration and design are arguably unmatched and Williams seems to be constantly challenging himself to reinvent the wheel with every gorgeous splash page. While almost any of Williams’ two page spreads could easily be pulled out and framed, there is a particularly striking moment when text and images collide in an almost overwhelming orgy of visual stimulation.
If you only pick up one book this week, make sure it’s “Batwoman.” With unparalleled art, stunning design, and a masterfully paced narrative, it’s far and away one of the best damn comics I’ve ever read.
Reviewed by – Melissa Grey