Review – Batwoman #14: The Return of Alice

Batwoman #14 variant cover
Superman variant. Image via DC Comics

Batwoman #14 – Marguerite Bennett, Writer; Fernando Blanco, Artist; John Rauch, Colorist

Ratings:

Ray – 9/10

Corrina: Intense

WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW

Ray: “The Fall of the House of Kane” continues in Batwoman #14, as the truth behind Alice’s return to evil is revealed. Last issue exposed her as the Mother of War, the mysterious new villain that Tahani has taken up with, but this issue reveals that the truth is actually very different. While the last issue made it look like Alice was running things, in fact, Tahani is drugging her and turning her into a brainwashed maniac, manipulating her to think that Kate is her enemy. Every time Alice starts to “wake up” and realize the horror of what she’s being made to do, Tahani doses her again. Tahani’s transformation from Safiyah’s true believer to a dangerous villain in her own right has been fascinating, and she’s now firmly established as the main villain of the series. Kate, meanwhile, is getting ready to go to war. She’s armored up, has deputized custody of Safiyah to Julia, and faces off against a massive scarlet hologram of Beth.

Although Alice is the ostensible face of the villains, she quickly sends Tahani out to face Kate, and she quickly dismantles Kate’s armor and thoroughly beats her, while rambling about their master plan to infect Gotham with countless pathogens. And their weapon of choice? The mammal that can transmit more viruses than any other in the world – the bat. The two-page spread of these corrupted Bats being unleashed on Gotham is one of the best pieces of art that this title has showcased since its beginning, even during Epting’s run. Bennett’s run has brought this title back to the roots established in the original Rucka and JH Williams run, with some brilliant new twists involving the island of Coryana. More than anything, this title’s strength is in giving Kate her own unique world to inhabit – as a global crusader for the mission of the Bat whose personal demons haunt her as much as those of her villains.

Batwoman #14 page 3
Manipulating Alice. Image via DC Comics

Corrina: As I’ve said, the arc with the island of Coryana has been muddled and slow for me but these last two issues have been terrific, pulling all the different threads that Bennett has woven in this story and using them perfectly. Alice is a character we haven’t seen in, well, years, and she’s used effectively here as a villain but one not totally in control of her actions. I know, I know, this arc is called “The Fall of the House of Kane” but I’m hopeful it also provides some closure for the Kane twins. (Now the question is whether this series takes place before or after what’s going on in Detective Comics. I lean toward before but if that’s the case, I have no idea where it fits in. It’s probably best to take this as its own story and not worry about continuity.)

Epting is a hard act to follow but Blanco is more than competent, and those last two panels that Ray mentioned are breathtaking, as is the depiction of the ship looming over Gotham.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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