Batwoman #15 – Marguerite Bennett, Writer; Fernando Blanco, Artist; John Rauch, Colorist
Ray – 8.5/10
WARNING: SPOILERS BELOW
Ray: The rumors are that Batwoman‘s title – or at least Bennett’s run on it – will conclude with Batwoman #18, which makes Batwoman #15 part of the last major arc. It will be followed by a short arc dealing with Renee Montoya. On that note, this series definitely works as a grand finale and delivers some truly spectacular visuals in the process. The issue kicks off in the aftermath of last month’s crisis, which revealed that Beth had been programmed by Tahani to revert back to Alice – and had now unleashed an army of plague bats on Gotham. Although there’s some wonky age stuff in the opening (Beth was only twenty-seven when she was in the sanatorium? That would make Kate quite a bit younger than Bruce), the two-page fairy-tale like spread that depicts Alice’s origin in a new light is one of the most brilliant pieces of art this series has shown off yet. The rest of the issue is almost pure chaos, one of the most action-packed issues of the series.
Tahani is mostly off-panel, now that she’s set her plan for revenge into motion. Instead, the issue focuses on Kate desperately trying to put the genie back in the bottle, and keep the slow-acting plague from rooting in Gotham City and killing untold people. This requires her to fix her relationship with Julia Pennyworth, bringing the brilliant ex-spy back into the fold to use her skills. There’s a lot of double-page spreads in this issue, and Blanco makes full use of all of them. The level of detail in the art is something truly amazing, creating a sense of scope that we rarely see. The issue deals with some of the fallout from Kate’s decision to kill Clayface in Detective, but it seems like that’s going to play out more next issue – as Batman shows up to take Alice into custody, and Batwoman is about to get in his way to protect her sister. While Batwoman’s character in Detective had some issues, I think this might be my favorite run on the character, even above the legendary Rucka and JH Williams runs.
Corrina: Bennett is indeed in full creative force this issue but Ray’s already covered that. I want to talk about the rest of the creative team.
J.H. Williams III is a high, high standard to live up to for a Batwoman artist and, this issue, Blanco at the very least equals the master. The double-page spreads, the detail of the fairy tale story told about Alice’s origin, the spectacular action sequences–they’re all a sight to behold. I read this in the digital review form and cursed the limits of that form because I wanted to spend time studying the print details.
I also have to mention the lettering and the narration boxes, which are dripping with angst and personality. We don’t often talk about that in our reviews but the style of the narration boxes often set the tone for how the character sounds in our heads. Kate’s desperation is clear in these boxes, as is Alice’s instability.
If these are the last few issues, this title is going out with its best work.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.