Batwoman #13 – Marguerite Bennett, Writer; Fernando Blanco, Artist; John Rauch, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: The Past Isn’t Past
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: Marguerite Bennett has talked this arc up as her defining moment on the Batwoman title, bringing together all the elements from the character’s history for a story in Batwoman #13 that digs into the dark history of the Kane clan. And based on this first chapter, it’s not going to disappoint. Fernando Blanco, who replaced Steve Epting with the second arc, has his finest hour in this issue, as Kate returns to the home where her traumas began. The issue opens with Kate desperately trying to get ahold of Alice in the sanitarium where she’s recovering, but the responses are evasive and suspicious, making it clear Alice has been taken. Kate instantly suspects Safiyah, her manipulative ex-lover who is out for revenge for the fall of Coryana. Kate’s quest takes her back to her family home, which Blanco infuses with the feel of a haunted house without physical ghosts.
But while there aren’t any actual phantoms in this house, Kate is far from alone – Safiyah is waiting for her, and the first face-to-face showdown between these two in the modern era is as tense as you’d expect. Safiyah is a fascinating antagonist – powerful, dangerous, but with just enough humanity needed to keep you in suspense about what she really wants. However, in the middle of their battle and Safiyah’s attempts to get under Kate’s skin, it becomes clear that she’s not the person Kate’s been looking for. In fact, she’s a victim too – of someone named the Mother of War, the actual mastermind behind Alice’s kidnapping. At least, that’s what it seems like – because the Mother of War is Alice herself, now aligned with Tahani and planning a war on Gotham. This is a tense, gripping first issue that raises a lot of questions, and I can’t wait to see how it plays out.
Corrina: I need to talk about the art this issue because it sells every aspect of the mood of the story. First, there is the fuzzy images of the manager of the asylum where Beth was supposed to reside, an art technique that not only shows the bad connection literally but also hints at the bad connection, figuratively, between Kate and her sister.
From there, the art inside Kate’s lost childhood home, a wrecked house shown in mostly black and white and shadows, save for the bright red, as with the roses. A tip of the hat to Rauch, whose colors enhance the mood. Kate walks upstairs with portraits of her family behind her, and she arrives at the top to find another piece of her past, Safiyah.
As for the story itself, I’ve talked about how I thought the first twelve issues teased out the backstory with Safiyah far too long. This arc seems much less likely to make that mistake and certainly has started things off with the biggest revelation so far. This seems to take place before Clayface’s death, so perhaps we’ll see some interaction between Jacob and Kate Kane that will make her choices in Detective Comics recently seem less puzzling to me.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this issue for review purposes.