Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Batwoman 24, originally released October 16th, 2013.
Drew: When evaluating a work of art, I tend to ignore the artist — I’m far too focused on what the art means to me to care about what it means to anyone else, even if that anyone happens to be the one who made it. I think it helps me stay focused on the work in question — it’s all to easy to excuse bad art from an artist you like, or dismiss good art from an artist you hate — and focus on the meaning of a work of art. Occasionally, though, the artist (or the context into which the art was released) dominate the work’s meaning. Van Gogh paintings are presented as springboards for discussions of madness, and Beethoven symphonies simply cannot be performed without someone mentioning deafness. The real-world drama surrounding the release of Batwoman 24 are not nearly so biological, but in many ways, that only makes the issue a more frustrating read.
Today, Drew and Shelby are discussing Batwoman 23, originally released August 21st, 2013.
Drew: At the end of Batwoman 22, Kate asks Bones for thirty hours to prepare for her planned takedown of Batman. We all suspected that that request might not be entirely on-the-level, assuming that Kate would use that time to set-up her own counter-plan. Issue 23 reveals that we were only half-right — Kate does use that time more for her own personal ends than for preparing for her mission, but how she uses it is entirely unexpected. Continue reading →
Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Batwoman 22, originally released July 17th, 2013.
Patrick: We spent last month with The Killer Croc — an oddly blunt instrument for symphony as subtle and sophisticated as Batwoman. A few pages in to this issue, and we become aware that our heroes are searching for Bane to ask him for advice on how to capture Batman. I know Bane’s actually done this before, but it is interesting to see the brutish villains popping up in a more cerebral title. And the party doesn’t end there — the ranks of the good guys and the bad are fleshed out with soldiers and psychopaths. How exactly these opposing forced are going to accomplish their goals is another topic of conversation altogether. Continue reading →
Today, Shelby and guest writer Suzanne are discussing Batwoman 21, originally released June 19th, 2013.
Shelby: Story breaks are a tricky thing to manage when you’re dealing with a serialized form of media. In the case of comic books, the writer already has to contend with a month of time passing between story points; I like to think I’m a pretty attentive reader, and there are times I have to go back and skim over last month’s issue to remember what all we’re dealing with. But to interrupt your own on-going story with a mini-story takes a lot of confidence in both your on-going work and your interlude. J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman have that confidence for good reason, as they interrupt out regularly scheduled Batwoman programming for a touching look at Gotham’s scaliest villain.
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, Jack and (guest writer) Nate are discussing Batwoman 18, originally released March 20th, 2013.
Jack: 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 Jack 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 →