Review – Batwoman #10: Parental Nightmares

Reading Time: 3 minutes
Batwoman #10 cover
Batwoman versus Scarecrow, image via DC Comics

Batwoman #10 – Marguerite Bennett, Writer; Fernando Blanco, Marc Laming, Artists; John Rauch, Colorist

Ratings:

Ray – 9/10

Corrina: Jacob Kane: Best or Worst Father?

WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW!

Ray: The conclusion to the tense, horror-accented, surreal “Kiss From a Rose” arc takes Kate to some of the darkest corners of her soul – before then throwing the entire series for a loop with a wild revelation. When it kicks off, Kate has turned the tables on Scarecrow, taking control of the nightmare and turning herself into a monster-Bat-being. After forcing the antidote out of Scarecrow, she turns on Fatima and pursues her through the base, falling more and more into animal instincts in her new form. But seeing her lost love, Safiyah, who appears to her in a vision, allows her to pull herself back from her animal brain and restore her own sanity. And wow, the fantasy tryst between Kate and Safiyah, in a scene full of roses, is one of the most passionate and beautiful scenes this title has had so far. And that’s exactly what’s needed to save Kate right then.

Snapping back to reality, the Colony has arrived on the scene and neutralized Scarecrow. Kate, realizing that she had never actually transformed, is able to discuss the mission with Colony Prime until Jacob Kane shows up, and the estranged father and daughter finally face off. I know Jacob’s heel turn has been controversial, and I wasn’t a big fan of it myself, but under both Tynion and Bennett, he’s been given a lot of additional nuances. The back-and-forth between him and Kate, with scenes calling back to her childhood, is one of the most engrossing segments of the issue. But there’s still one last twist to be played, courtesy of a security tape that reveals the truth of what happened while Kate was “under” that sends the title veering into a wild new direction. Batwoman’s had great series before, but this run feels like it’s the one that focuses most clearly on Kate Kane, her history, her family, and her future. A must-read for Batwoman fans.

Batwoman #10 page 1 Scarecrow
Scarecrow’s toxins have turned Kate’s world into this surreal landscape.

Corrina: I loved Kate’s descent and recovery from fear. The last villain I expected in this series was the Scarecrow but it was a brilliant idea, forcing the reader to take a trip into Kate’s psyche as well and showing what makes her such a formidable hero. The best exchanges here are with Colony Prime, as those two do indeed act like sniping siblings. Or, rather, the assured older sibling and the whiny younger one who still blames others for his problems.

But as for the wild revelation that Ray talks about, I had some idea in my head that we already knew the truth about Safiyah. Perhaps it was telegraphed in another issue or perhaps I’m that ahead of the writer (but I think it was telegraphed heavily.) I’m not a big fan of the twist simply because for Safiyah’s betrayal to matter, I would have to be invested in Safiyah and Kate’s relationship. The storytelling of the flashbacks that show their relationship, both in this arc and the first one, feels choppy and uneven, and it doesn’t allow me to get a good take on why Kate is so emotionally tied to Safiyah, other than great sex. (Which, admittedly, is quite a draw.)

I am invested in Jacob and Kate Kane’s relationship, however, enough so that I wince when Jacob once again spouts his company line about doing what he had to do–lie about the Colony, lie about her sister–to Kate. This is not a man after any kind of redemption or even offering to hear out his daughter’s pain and heartbreak because of his actions. But I want that to happen, very much.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes. 

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