Comic Review: Batwoman, vol. 1

Batwomanby KT Pinto


Batwoman, Vol. 1: Hydrology
by J.H. Williams III & W. Haden Blackman
DC Comics

A friend bought me this graphic novel; he bought it from my wish list on Amazon, and I couldn’t remember for the life of me why I had requested it. Then I remembered that this was DC Comic’s lesbian superhero, and I had wanted to see how the fan-characterized straight-laced company was going to handle this type of character.

I had high hopes for this book because it was put out in Batman’s little corner of the DC ’verse. Never much a fan of DC in general, I always liked everything about Gotham: the villains, the heroes, the story lines, the artwork, the darkness… it was always the nice, twisted dark that I like. So I was all set for Kate Kane to wow me.

Sadly, she didn’t. Putting the amazing artwork aside—and the artwork was amazing—the story line and character were both lacking. Here’s a quick list of the “meh”:

  • What color is her skin? That bothered me throughout the book. Was she actually white like paper, as shown in some panels, or does she have a pale Irish skin tone like other panels showed? If she was really white-white, then why was it so difficult for Batman to figure out who the very pale woman with red hair (there were times she wasn’t in costume but still that albino white) and with enough money to be Batwoman was? And why did she keep changing skin tone throughout the book?
  • Where’s the bad guy? One of the things that I really like about the “Gotham-verse” is the twistedly insane bad guys that constantly spill out of Arkham Asylum. This story had a supernatural water-demon character that made no sense, especially since this is supposed to be part of the “New 52” reboot to make the plots and characters more understandable to fans. And then there was a super-organization that is either out to take Batwoman down, or use her as a hook to get Batman… I couldn’t tell which. But either way, none if it seemed to fit into the Gotham-verse that I was used to and liked.
  • Why is Kate Kane such a bitch? Of all the characters I’ve read and disliked, I think Kate Kane takes the cake. Spoiled, bitter, nasty… this wealthy party girl lives in a penthouse apartment (and I see so many things wrong with that gigantic tree…) and is angry with her father about the death of her mother and sister. She seems to be horrid with everyone unless she’s trying to hook up with them, and the nasty way she treated her cousin Bette—burning her Flamebird costume, calling her Plebe, dropping her without any explanation—was so blatant a set up to make Bette a victim for the bad guys. Kate even calls herself a bitch in one panel, and I can’t work up any sympathy for her at all.
  • Finally, what did she have against Batman? If you don’t want to be a part of his world, then come up with your own alternate personality instead of mooching off of his fame.

My friend had bought me Volume 2: To Drown the World as well. I will probably read it, but I’m not looking forward to it.


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