23 November 2011

"Batwoman" #3 (Jan 2012)

Batwoman #3
"Hydrology 3: Gaining Stream"
J.H. Williams, III: co-writer & artist
W. Haden Blackman: co-writer
Dave Stewart: colors
Todd Klein: letters
Rickey Purdin: assistant. editor
Harvey Richards: associate editor
Michael Marts: editor
Batman created by Bob Kane
Date of publication: 9 November 2011
$2.99, 32 pages

Oh, Batwoman. Just last month you had me feeling good about our relationship, but now you go and make me think twice about you. Again. Issue #3 is as disjointed as the first, though with far less awkward exposition. The issue opens with Batwoman being drowned by The Weeping Woman and then escaping...into the clutches of DEO operative Chase. So far, so good. But after escaping Chase, Batwoman comes home and...fires her cousin? Bette Kane isn't the only one wondering WTF? I've read the issue from front to back and I have no idea what this is about.

What I know is that writers Williams and Blackman seem to have little actual interest in The Weeping Woman plot and far more interest in the relationships Kate has with Bette and Maggie. They're interesting relationships to explore and I'm all for that. But I have a hard time with a superhero comic in which the pursuit of a woman kidnapping and murdering children is a peripheral part of the story. That should be Batwoman's top priority, and it's a point made most clearly when contrasting this book with either Batgirl or Detective Comics. In their story arcs to date, Batgirl and Batman are much more focused on their antagonists (the latter predictably more than the former).

It doesn't seem that The Weeping Woman is even important to Batwoman; she's done virtually nothing to further her investigation. I suppose that was the point of fighting groups of tough looking guys in issue #2, but there wasn't one line of dialog to tell us just what the reason for the fisticuffs was. For all I know, Batwoman and her cousin got into it with those guys because no one could agree whether the Beatles were better than the Stones.

It's also worth noting that the editorial team changed with this issue; gone are Katie Kubert (assistant editor) and Janelle Asselin (associate editor), replaced by Rickey Purdin and Harvey Richards, respectively. What influence this change had on this issue, or will have on the series, remains to be seen. My hope is that the new editors will recognize and address the shortcomings I have emphasized throughout these first three issues. As of right now, though, it's going to be very difficult for me to see myself buying issue #6 in February.

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