Both issues of Gail Simone’s Batgirl and J.H. Williams III’s Batwoman hit the stands this week, and it was definitely a good time to be a Bat-Lady.
Starting off my pull list for the week was Simone’s Batgirl. I’ve had my reservations about this series before, but this month’s issue read like what a modern take on a Silver Age story should actually look like. There was a heart-warming (also a bit heart-wrenching) scene with Commissioner “Redhead McCoy” Gordon, a runaway train, and a game of tag between a couple of former kid-wonders. Usually, I’m not one to lose myself in nostalgia stories, but Simone manages to pull hers off with tact and even a bit of grace. Also a little spit and blood, but that’s what good stories are made of. The relationship between Barbara Gordon and Dick Grayson gets a little more firmly established in the DCnU as the two play a game of chase between Dick’s good intentions and Barbara’s stubbornness. Shippers beware, you will love this issue. Personally, my favorite part of Simone’s Batgirl wasn’t the witty repartee between the Acrobat and the Ballerina, but instead Simone’s ability to pinpoint something that other writers in the superhero universe tend to overlook. The innocence that can’t be saved. Occasionally, a writer will bring this trope out of the closet and give it a Robin domino mask to give a well-meaning hero something to angst about, but Simone weaves the theme carefully throughout all of her stories, and it’s something her heroes (or not exactly heroes) contend with throughout the stories she writes. The way Barbara deals with Mirror’s victims is very real, and it gives the reader that anchor in a world where guys fly around in spandex and Batjets. Again, not being the greatest fan of nostalgia-comics, I found myself wanting a little more, but overall the story itself was solid and fun and fans of Barbara Gordon Batgirl will really love this issue.
Next on the list was Batwoman, part three of the series that’s been teased to readers since last year. In all fairness though, the wait was totally worth it. To say J.H. Williams III’s Batwoman is a visual feast for fine art and comic book lovers alike would be an egregious understatement. Everything about the art in this book is gorgeous, and never at the cost of narrative comprehension. Williams’ has mastered the two-page splash page combining art and concise dialogue in a way that other writer’s should definitely take note of. This particular issue doesn’t necessarily further the plot of the book itself, but readers still get some bone-crunching action for their precious 2.99. What makes this particular issue is the heart of the characters, we get to see a side of Kate Kane that we’ve never really seen before, and my little shipper heart is floating the Maggie Sawyer and Kate Kane boat all the way home after this most recent issue. There are also great moments between Kate and Bette, as well as a really fantastic moment featuring Kate’s father that proves Williams can be just as good with his words as he is with his art. This series in new and fresh in everything it takes on, from relationships to artwork to narrative choices, and it’s the perfect book to hook someone into comics that thought they were just funny-books for old white guys. Let’s just be honest. If you’re not reading Batwoman, you seriously need to reevaluate your life.