Batwoman Vol. 1: Hydrology ReviewDecember 12, 2012
Is DC’s Batwoman endeavor just another cash-in?
Batwoman was around for a while before The New 52 reboot, but I initially thought her re-release into the wild probably could’ve waited.There are a lot of similarities between Bruce Wayne and Kate Kane. Both number among the comic world’s many super-billionaire non-superpowered superheroes. Both used the fortunes they inherited after their families’ murders for training to go out and fight bad guys. Looking for answers and vengeance, she’s determined, well-trained, and strong-willed. When I came across this collection, I didn’t really want to pick it up. However, the guy at the comic book shop praised the book highly, which led to the decision to buy. Would DC’s Batwoman endeavor prove to be just another cash-in?
Batwoman Vol. 1: Hydrology is co-written by J.H. Williams III (Promethea, Starman, Detective Comics) and W. Haden Blackman (Star Wars: Darth Vader and the Lost Command, Clone Wars Adventures). It collects issues #1-5 of the Batwoman series in The New 52 universe and was released on June 19, 2012. Williams provides most of the art of the book, as well.
When Batman-verse stories take a turn for the supernatural, I have a tendency to get turned off. This one turns out to be a ghost story. It is a hard pill to swallow in an environment I’ve come to expect as logical and pragmatic. However, this writing team did a really good job. They’ve written a detective story that pulls in the reader with mysteries and twists from every angle. As the tale unfolds, the book provides different points-of-view from multiple characters. At times, these POV’s run concurrently alongside each other, resulting in a multifaceted narrative that weaves and turns through every flip of the page. The characters have well-defined motivations and inclinations, adding to the richness of the story. The masterful storytelling leads all of the elements into a logical and pragmatic conclusion. It is quite fitting.
The art within its pages contribute greatly to the story. There is good attention to facial and body expression in these drawings, and not just for the extreme ones. After looking through these pages, you get a sense of how real these characters are. Meaningful dialogue and complementary illustration eliminate the need for raw exposition. The artist uses unorthodox panel placement to add to the surreality of the story. Where appropriate, the panels convey movement and action, which really help the flow of the book. However, there are pages where this approach proved to be a little confusing. This is a minor complaint, though. The reward for the realization of what the writers are trying to do more than makes up for it.
So, what went wrong? Absolutely nothing. The storytelling and artwork demonstrate a high level of cohesion and makes this book worth more than a single read. Comic book writers and artists should take note: Batwoman Vol.1: Hydrology is the result of a carefully planned production. There aren’t enough books like this out there. This collection is a gem and should truly be appreciated. It is worth every penny.