Batwoman #13: Back In Form

Williams & Blackman are making things amazing again in this team-up with Wonder Woman.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Batwoman #13

Batwoman was the best book of the New 52 out of the gate. It had the unfair advantage of having twice as much lead time as any other series did, but still, the work of writer/artist J.H. Williams III and his co-writer W. Haden Blackman was absolutely stellar. Darkly beautiful and twisted, it just had a completely different feel from everything else in the batch.

As the series progressed, there were some artistic changes that didn't seem to work out properly, and the plot got a little bogged down and confusing, and there's something a bit lamentable to be said about the fact that, essentially, the first arc is still going on, although there have been significant developments within that. Perhaps when this all shakes out, we'll realize that some stories are meant to be more epic than others.

Kate Kane takes a journey towards that kind of epic in Batwoman #13, which sees our hero teaming up with Wonder Woman and treading upon her mythic history, knowing full well she's completely out of her league when dealing with this mystic malarkey she's been trying to handle since the spectral Weeping Woman first made herself known by killing Gotham's children while under the thrall of the evil warlock Maro – aka Sune aka… New Falchion?  I'm not sure, it got kind of confusing in there, but he/she/it's an evil shapeshifting warlock whom Batwoman is still trying to bring to justice. The fact that Maro works for the mysterious Medusa organization with the intimation that the actual Medusa of legend is behind it all is why she's crossed paths with Diana.

Batwoman #13 opens with internal monologues of both Batwoman and Wonder Woman, sizing each other up, giving us interesting perspectives on what's going through their minds as they travel in Kate's DEO-submarine (complete with Black Manta tech!) to what she refers to as an "Amazonian Arkham Asylum," where Medusa is to be held. What they find is a labyrinth filled with gore and corpses, a dungeon that lends to the epic feel that is only heightened when they come upon the armless, savaged Minotaur, who reports that the "black-hearted Nyx, mistress of the night" has caused the carnage. And when the two are buried under 400 pounds of creepy black centipede monsters. Part of that result is visible in the header image for this review – once again showcasing just how imaginative Williams gets with layouts and storytelling, and why I keep coming back to Batwoman even when it starts to lose me a bit.

That, and the fact that Mr. Bones is a recurring character as Batwoman's boss, who reveals in an elsewhere conversation with Agent Cameron Chase of the DEO that he's hoping to get intel on Wonder Woman and the Amazons, and has a contingency plan that might be too dirty even for Bones if Batwoman decides to bolt from their service.

As mentioned earlier, this story got confusing when things got too non-linear to be properly coherent – although it may read better in trade format. However, I'm thankful that Williams and Blackman have gotten back to something a little more straightforward, and yet show us that they can still bend and twist expectations without breaking them beyond recognition. They even manage to work in a quip where we see that Wonder Woman's bathing suit look is, for perhaps the first time ever, actually practical when they have to go to the desert. That's something I appreciated, even if I'd rather see Diana get her pants back.

Batwoman #13 shows Willians and Blackman back in top form, and it's a refreshing change of pace from most superhero fare.