General Marvel

Review: Batwoman Rebirth #1

batwomanrebirthcoverMost of Batwoman Rebirth #1 is a rehash of the past ten years of major storylines featuring Kate Kane from the tragic murder of her mother when she was 12 to the most recent “Batwoman Begins” arc in Detective Comics. Writers Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion provide a decent primer for potential new fans of Batwoman while dropping some very intriguing teasers for her ongoing series that starts next month. It’s nice to have the whole of Kate Kane’s arc in a single issue of a comic, but most of it feels like a single issue of a comic-length “Previously on Batwoman Elegy” that costs $2.99.

However, Steve Epting‘s art and Jeromy Cox‘s colors present a possibly compelling reason to at the very least flip through some gorgeous, red tinged full page spreads. Epting’s skill with espionage action from his work on Captain America and especially Velvet with Ed Brubaker serves him well in a scene set in Kate Lane’s lost year where she was living with her girlfriend Safiyah on a Mediterranean Island. The interaction between shadows, shifting angles, and a focus on the background instead of the foreground during certain panels definitely whetted my appetite for more stealth incursions in the Batwoman ongoing title. Epting also plays off J.H. Williams stellar work with layouts by setting up pages at the beginning and end of the comic that look like something has shattered in Batwoman with figures from her past accusing her and asking her questions about what she’s doing with her life. The faded red from Cox evokes her costume as well as her rage and tumultous life from childhood to being kicked out of West Point and even the past year of Detective Comics. And the juicy image on the final page shows that these events have taken perhaps a little bit too much of a negative toll on her.

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Most of the big beats in Batwoman Rebirth #1 were already explored in depth in the excellent Batwoman Elegy comic, but Bennett and Tynion make a valiant effort to add shading to that classic story. The interactions between Bennett is an excellent writer of flirting as seen in Bombshells, the Angela comics, and Josie and the Pussycats, and Epting’s gift with body language along with close-ups on lips and hands create instant chemistry between Kate and her three girlfriends that pop up in the flashbacks. The nearly silent page  of Kate and Renee Montoya is a pure masterpiece and a visual argument for why they should be a couple. Except these hints of romance are suddenly swept away for boring recaps of “Batwoman Begins” combined with one tantalizing image at the end. The scales of interesting and a skippable re-do aren’t evenly balanced though.

Batwoman Rebirth #1 has fantastic art and colors from Steve Epting and Jeromy Cox, who will hopefully return her book’s visuals to the lofty heights of J.H. Williams and Amy Reeder several years back. Bennett and Tynion’s plot is skippable for long time Batwoman aficionadoes, and Elegy is a better introduction for new fans so this is definitely a comic you pick up just for the art and the occasional spark of intrigue or romance.

Story: Marguerite Bennett, James Tynion IV Art: Steve Epting Colors: Jeromy Cox
Story: 6 Art: 9 Overall: 7 Recommendation: Read

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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