‘Batwoman #37:’ at the Devil’s crossroads

Cover

Batwoman #37
Written by Marc Andreyko
Pencils by George Jeanty
Published by DC Comics

While Batwoman has had an awkward run thanks mostly to interference by DC editorial and the infamous marriage fiasco, Marc Andreyko seems to be rounding out the end of this sadly mistreated  title with grace. Finally unshackled from the tone of Williams III and Blackman’s run, the currently story line of Batwoman teaming up with various heroes, antiheroes, and villains from across the DCU’s mystical and criminal undergrounds is starting out strong.

This issue marks the point wherein all the members (Batwoman, Etrigan the Demon, Clay Face, Ragman, and Red Alice) all enter the stage. Each character is pulled into a nefarious plot by the followers of Morgan le Fay from different sides of her resurrection. This issue sees most of them following their own leads which will likely have them all meet next issue. It is fun to see just how multifaceted Gotham’s streets are. Coincides leading to inevitable team up is comics writing 101 and it is always nice to see it happen.  A new reader can pick up this issue and understand the general backstory to each future team member with only a few exceptions. The main flaws in the writing is explaining a few character abilities and situations, for some reason the traditionally bonded Jason Blood and Etrigan the Demon have been separated with Jason knowing little of his life as an immortal. A few lines of dialogue could have easily fixed that problem. One plot line that has been a recent plague on the series is the character Nocturna, a vampiress who has turned Kate Kane into one of her kind and has a highly unnerving relationship with Batwoman that involves dubious consent. It has put some disturbing undertones on the series as a whole and has brought Andreyko’s run down from something greater. Fortunately, this issue features little of Nocturna’s mind control and implies future issues will involve Kate fighting against her villainous girlfriend.

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In the art department, Georges Jeanty continues to have the same problems of previous issues. Figures are vague, often ill defined, taking on a watery texture that does not work well. It matches the gothic/occult feel of the arc, but could use some thinker inks and more vibrant colors. Jeanty also has serious problems with long distance shots as his figures turn into faceless smudges of colors. He doesn’t implement complex backgrounds very often, but when they do they shine. There’s a particular scenic Gotham cityscape right out of Tim Burton’s Batman. Still, someone with a firmer grasp on pencils would serve strides on this title.

While sadly concluding next year, ‘Batwoman’ seems to be making what little it can from a history of problematic choices and editorial mandate. While everything from the Nocturna story arc should be completely abandoned, everything with Marc Andreyko’s Unknowns team-up looks exciting and new. He’s trying his best to bring the character into his own comfort zone. If his run could have started like this off the bat, it could have become a personal favorite.




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