Review: Batwoman: Rebirth

batwomanrebirthcoverBatwoman: Rebirth starts off sweetly enough, Kate Kane headed out for birthday waffles and chocolate with her mother and twin sister. That’s where the sweetness ends.

James T. Tynion IV and Marguerite Bennett serve up a story that brings the pain, the struggle, the strength and, the fire. We are treated to a back story for the ages complete with a rescue mission, a lesbian love affair, a fall from grace and, a triumphant return from the ashes to turn her into the hero that Batwoman becomes. There is passion in the pages that draws the reader into the fire behind Kane’s fight, telling the story of a woman who loses her family, finds herself, loses herself and, becomes reborn. We get to see first hand the struggles, the pain, the heartache and, the love that drives her.

Bennett and Tynion serve up Kane’s past on a silver platter, we watch the moment that made her want to fight, the love affair that sent her into exile, the year out of sight that showed her the demons that haunted her and, how Batman came into her life and trained her to be his equal in every way. This story focused on Kate Kane and nothing more, she retained her agency, her goals and, her dreams. Everything that made her an equal to the man in black and,  everything that made her unique is laid out in the pages of this issue. Because of the source material, this could have easily turned into the story of how Batwoman was lost and found by Batman and made her everything she was. The writers could have made this just another Batman spin-off but, luckily for us, they chose to go another way.

Bennett, known for being an out queer writer, handles Kane’s sexuality flawlessly carrying over her talented portrayal of the character from Bombshells. She showcases her sexuality with great care making it part of who she is without making it all that she is. There is never a feeling that she is only a lesbian for shock value which is refreshing and makes her a multifaceted character in her own story instead of a sideshow. The reveal of her sexuality so early on in issue one helps in the character development and informs the reader about the things that drive her, by the discrimination and slick side comments she’s faced.

Steve Epting and Ben Oliver‘s artwork is sleek and stylized without being overly sexual or adding a male gaze to the character. You can tell she is a woman and you can tell she has relationships with other women, without it feeling cheap or unnecessary. Each panel is detailed and well thought out drawing you into the story and there’s a genuine feeling of involvement in Batwoman’s life. The art makes you feel like a fly on the wall in a good way.

Overall between the storytelling and the art, this issue felt sincere, smart, well thought out, and engaging. There wasn’t a lot of action but, there didn’t need to be, it was about human connection, the things that drive us and, make us into what we become.

Story: James T. Tynion IV & Marguerite Bennett Art: Steve Epting & Ben Oliver
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.4 Overall: 9.4 Recommendation: Buy

DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with a free copy for review