Written by Marc Andreyko
Art by Georges Jeanty
Published by DC Comics
Since its first issue back at the start of the New 52, Batwoman has been a problematic series. What has served as a fatal flaw of the book is how it tries to be a follow up to Greg Rucka’s excellent pre-New 52 Batwoman “Elegy” story arc on Detective Comics, and it sadly falls short of its own ambition. The book’s initial run suffered from the inexperienced writing of J. H. Williams III and H. Haden Blackman, but often the failings were made up in its art (whenever Williams and Blackman were on duty) When the two stormed out because DC Comics cancelled their long planned Batwoman marriage, writing duties were quickly shifted to Marc Andreyko. Andreyko has tried his best. However, much of his run has served as damage control to end Batwoman’s engagement while stepping on as few toes as possible.
Andreyko, for a long time, has been between a rock and a hard place. He’s a good writer, but not an exemplary one and there’s only so much he can do. He resolved the cancelled marriage while trying to keep the urban fantasy style set by Greg Rucka, Williams, and Blackman, but so far it’s led to a storyline that hasn’t been that captivating as he tries to write in someone else’s shadow.
Batwoman #35 resembles Andreyko moving Batwoman into something more in his comfort zone. This issue jumps right into the action with Kate Kane now teamed up with Red Alice (her psychotic sister), Batman villain Clayface, mystic superhero Ragman, and Etrigan the Demon all battling Morgan le Fey in orbit above Earth. It’s a strange, bizarre team-up that still manages to feel fresh. Not many details are given as to why these characters are all working together, but that will be explained in good time.“The Unknowns” are spread over a spectrum from typical Gotham super villains to high fantasy straight out of Arthurian lore. The only real issue with this team up is the lack of real character interaction within the team, especially with the endless possibilities everyone brings to the team.
Georges Jeanty of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season Eight takes up the duties on pencils. He does a serviceable job though the spells being slung around by Etrigan and le Fey tend to feel a little lackluster, and the designs for demons leave a little to be desired. Still the fight scene which dominates the issue is fun, all leading to a climax that will shamefully be compared to Guardians of the Galaxy.
It seems Batwoman is finally breaking out of Greg Rucka’s shadow and no longer trying to live up to “Elegy”. It shows some genuine promise. Whether or not this new direction will work has yet to be determined.