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 →
Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Batwoman 11, originally released July 18th, 2012.
Drew: In their write-up for issue 10, the siblings Ehlers described the “To Drown the World” arc as one about the power of belief. That summary somehow seemed too simple, given the chronological gymnastics that dominated our discussions. The emphasis on the chronology has eased off as the arc draws to its close, taking it out of the realm of gimmick and back to the much more common device of alternating between A and B story lines. What we’re left with are the themes the Ehlers so readily pointed out — how the lies we tell ourselves and others shape the way we perceive the world. I don’t know if it’s intentional or ironic that my faith in the creative team lead me to believe in vain there was more to the narrative gimmickry, but it establishes a fascinating meta-theme for the arc. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and (guest-writer) Courtney Ehlers are discussing Batwoman 10, originally released June 20th, 2012.
Patrick: This whole arc has been about the power of belief. The monsters of Medusa’s army are all terrors from the zeitgeist, and while there’s a fair amount of straight-up magic that brings these creatures into play, Maro states time and again that she can only spawn these monsters is because the citizens of Gotham believe in them. Their belief makes the impossible possible. But people don’t just believe in ghosts and hook-handed men and sewer creatures – even in a city as dark as Gotham, they believe in each other and abstract Bat-ideal of justice.
Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Batwoman 9, originally released May 16th 2012.
Drew: Last month, I was pretty hard on Batwoman. The gambit of dividing the story into six discrete narratives necessarily forces the plot to only be advanced incrementally in each. That, I’m fine with, but when every story hit the emotional doldrums simultaneously, the result is an issue that strains to justify its existence. This month, writers J.H. Williams and W. Haden Blackman find the emotional through-line issue 8 was lacking, crafting a meaningful rumination on the nature of loyalty. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Batwoman 8, originally released April 11th 2012.
Patrick: Every time I pick up an issue from this arc of Batwoman, I have to retrain my brain on how to read this thing. The defining characteristic of this story has been a fractured chronology that essentially demands to be re-read over and over again until the pieces fit. Whenever I assemble the pieces and take a step back, more connections become apparent and the complexity of the narrative grows. Continue reading →
Today, Drew and Patrick are discussing Batwoman 7, originally released March 14th 2012.
Drew: Last month, Batwoman kicked off its “To Drown the World” arc, separating the action into six separate times and perspectives: Batwoman’s, Jacob’s, Kate’s, Maro’s, Maggie’s, and Chase’s. It’s an interesting gambit, but one that makes assessing individual issues quite difficult. Each mini-story only has a few pages devoted to it each issue, which means they don’t have time for more than one or two story beats. I’m not entirely certain why the story is being told this way, but I have faith that writers J.H. Williams and W. Handen Blackman will more than justify breaking the story up in this way. Until that happens, though, these issues are a little frustrating in terms of how little each story moves. Continue reading →