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
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.
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.
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