I review Batwoman #22 by J.H. Williams III., W. Haden Blackman with art from Ray McCarthy, published by DC Comics.
Writer: J.H. Williams III & W. Haden Blackman | Art: Ray McCarthy | Cover: J.H. Williams III | Price: $2.99 (US) £2.75 (UK)
Batwoman discovers that the D.E.O. are bringing in Gotham City’s most dangerous villains for questioning. Their real target? Batman! Plus, Hawkfire continues to plan a strike against the D.E.O.
This title has been heading towards a Batwoman and Batman confrontation for quite some time, and for those of you who think that we might get one this issue after it didn’t happen last time, think again. The main issue opens with a brief but entertaining fight which sees Batwoman and Hawkfire take on Bane, before we learn that the D.E.O are capturing various members of Batman’s Rogue Gallery (Bane, Black Mask etc), for the information on the Dark Knight – to learn his strengths, his weaknesses etc. There’s a pretty awesome page shortly after the capture of Bane that shows various interviews with the Rogues, each offering their opinions on Batman. Even though we didn’t get the showdown, this issue more than made up for it, and it was pretty awesome to spend some time in the spotlight with Hawkfire as well, in the training exercise for her planned break in of the D.E.O presumably to rescue Batwoman.
The cover art by J.H. Williams III continues to be one of the strongest things about this book (and not to mention the fact that this is an incredibly strong book), and I particularly love the cover for this issue. In any other week, it would be my Pick of the Week for the Cover, but Esad Ribic’s cover for Thor: God of Thunder #10 is just incredibly awesome as well, so the vote has to go to that one. The interior artwork, not done by Williams III but instead by Ray McCarthy, isn’t as spectacular, but it’s still very strong.
The story itself is pretty interesting, and fun, with the premise of more interesting stuff to come. I’ve been following this series since #19 and it’s been a really fun ride over the course of the current arc, with some excellent character interaction. It’s fun, kickass, and I’ve loved every second of it. The exploration of Kate’s character, and how Williams III pushes her to the limits of what she’ll do in order to save her family (although this was touched on in earlier issues more than this one), and as a result – this book remains one of the higher tier series at DC Comics.
Another thing that I love about this series is its continued independence from the mainstream Bat-Universe. Whilst it would be nice to pit Batwoman against the Joker, or see her interact with Nightwing, Batgirl etc more – as she was one of the few Batman titles that has missed both crossover events so far – having avoided Court/City of Owls and the Death of the Family arc. Then again, she’s not really part of the overall Bat-Family, and as far as I’m aware, the only member that she’s actually encountered is Batman. However, feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, and with the multiple Batman rogues that appeared in this issue, it’ll be interesting to see where things go from here.