Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Batwoman 20, originally released May 15th, 2013.
Shelby: Trust is always an interesting concept to explore when masked superheroes are involved. The protagonist’s entire experience is based on a lack of trust: they don’t trust their loved ones to with their secret identity, they don’t trust the existing authority to take care of crime. That the distrust is well-founded doesn’t lessen the fact it’s the foundation of a successful masked superhero. But even the most independent superhero has got to have someone in the corner, some support system of people they trust and can rely on. Unfortunately, Kate seems to continuously find herself faced with people telling her, “you will trust me, whether you like it or not!”, essentially rendering the entire concept meaningless.
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Batwoman 19, originally released April 17th, 2013.
Patrick: Early in this issue, DEO Agent Cameron Chase says to her sister: “I think I’m about to do something horrible.” This isn’t an admission of guilt, she isn’t asking for absolution, and she certainly doesn’t want to be talked out of doing this horrible something. But Chase isn’t the only person in this series that’s about to do something horrible. The whole cast of Batwoman imposes personal sacrifices on each other to the benefit of… well, of what exactly? Love? Honor? Duty? The very thing they’re sacrificing?
Today, Courtney and (guest writer) Nate are discussing Batwoman 18, originally released March 20th, 2013.
Courtney: It’s hard work to start a sequel off with a credible voice. The expression that most often comes to mind is “Space Mutants IV: the Trilogy Continues.” This is essentially the beginning of Batwoman’s second major story arc, and I am proud to report that J.H. Williams has risen admirably to the occasion. The grim mystery of Gotham’s missing children solved, this series hits the ground running with a new set of problems for our heroes, or at least a set of unsettling complications of all of their old problems. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and guest-writer Suzanne are discussing Batwoman 17, originally released February 20th, 2013.
Patrick: We’re posting this two days after the Academy Awards, but I’m writing this at 9:25PM, Pacific Standard Time, the Thursday before the ceremony. I’m being so specific because I want to make a prediction: Lincoln will not win Best Picture (editors note: called it!). For everything Lincoln does well, it does not earn the sentiment expressed in its many soaring speeches. Endings are so naturally powerful, and it’s a shame how frequently Spielberg employs John Williams’ moving score and the impassioned performances of some of the best living Hollywood actors to approximate the feeling of catharsis. It’s a shortcut, it’s phony, and it stinks. J.H. Williams III and Hayden Blackman employ no such tricks as they wrap things up in Batwoman 17 and every single moving moment — and there are many — is earned.
Today, Drew and Courtney are discussing Batwoman 16, originally released January 23rd, 2013.
Drew: The notion that myths gain their power from our belief in them has been a primary focus of Batwoman in the New 52. It’s a theme that has come up explicitly in the text — as Maro conjures the myths that haunt our dreams, and as Kate seeks out the myths that inspire us to greatness — as well as implicitly in our analyses. Indeed, we’ve made the case that comics are modern mythology so often, I’d forgotten what “myth” might mean besides “story.” It’s parsing that very detail that makes Batwoman 16 such a pleasure to read, as J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman remind us of the pleasures of form afforded to modern storytelling. Continue reading →
We generally avoid quantifying our enthusiasm around here — we’ll gladly praise or condemn comics as our tastes dictate, but turning that into a grade or a score makes us uncomfortable. As there are in our pull-list, there are holes in this ‘Best of’ list. Mea culpa. We’ve had some great experiences with comics this year, and these are the series that were consistently fun, thoughtful and beautiful. Too subjective for a year-end list? Ignore the rankings. Any way you slice it, these are fantastic series that deserve the scrutiny we heap on everything. Each is a rewarding read and well worth your attention. Our picks for the top 12 series of 2012:
Today, Shelby and Courtney are discussing Batwoman 15, originally released December 19th, 2012.
Shelby: Speaking in the broadest of terms, there are a couple ways to define a person: in relation to the other people in their lives, or based solely on who they are as a person. So far in Batwoman, Maggie Sawyer has largely been defined as a character through her relationships, with Kate, with her daughter Jamie, even her relationship with her job and the missing children. This issue, we get a glimpse of just Maggie, and it looks like she’s starting to come apart at the seams. She’s got a job that’s pretty terrible even on the good days, a girlfriend who just isn’t around often enough, and a stubbornly independent streak which prevents her from asking for help. The batshit crazy she’s had to deal with these last 15 issues is catching up to her in a bad way; I have faith in her, but I worry she won’t make it through to the end.
Today, Courtney and Patrick are discussing Batwoman 14, originally released November 21st, 2012.
Courtney: When we left off, Batwoman and Wonder Woman had just sought the assistance of Pegasus, who, confusingly, was not a winged horse, but an exceptionally grizzled, disheveled, and unhappy-looking man of purpleish complexion. In this issue, we start to get a grasp on why. Pegasus is “dying” (or experiencing some not-yet-fully-explained immortal analog for death), and it is not a pleasant picture. Batwoman examines his wounds and mentally outlines a brutal altercation with Falchion, for which Pegasus is distinctly the worse. He explains Falchion’s complicity in Medusa’s sadistic, misanthropic, world-domination plans. He says that if Wonder Woman will cut off his head so that he can die “a warrior’s death,” he will point them in Medusa’s direction. Batwoman is appalled, but Wonder Woman agrees. Unsurprisingly, he sends them back to Gotham. Wonder Woman kills him, then quietly agonizes over the decision. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Courtney are discussing Batwoman 13, originally released October 17th 2012.
Patrick: One summer time during college, I was looking for a job and I stopped by the mall in Appleton, Wisconsin. There was a sign at the info desk in the food court that said “Help Wanted” and then listed all the stores that were hiring. I didn’t know why, but I was really uncomfortable asking for this information – to the point where I almost wasn’t going to do it. But then I swallowed hard and just to myself “okay, I’ll just be funny.” Humor is the one tool I have at my disposal that I can use to address any situation I get myself into. God help me if I ever find myself pitted against the spawn of Chaos – I’d be fucked. Batwoman’s tools, on the other hand, we can have some confidence in those.
Today, (guest writer) Courtney Ehlers and Drew are discussing Batwoman 0, originally released September 19th, 2012. Batwoman 0 is part of the line-wide Zero Month.
Courtney: I don’t much care for plot in fiction. There is enough cause-and-effect to parse out in real life, and I would rather just trust fiction-writers to operate within their own made-up rules and make all the numbers add up on their own. I want to stare out the window of the car and appreciate the landscape without worrying about whether we missed our exit, and Batwoman 0 allows me to do exactly that. Continue reading →