Sometimes in comics, we’re given characters that serve for a specific era and then fade into the distance like a ship into the mist. Unfortunately, Batwoman was exactly one of those characters. Created by Edmond Hamilton and Sheldon Moldoff in July 1956, Kathy Kane made her debut as Batwoman in Detective Comics #233. Originally, the character was introduced as a love interest for Batman.
Batwoman was basically created to get around the allegations of Batman and Robin’s relationship is more than what it was, thanks to the controversial book Seduction of the Innocent. In 1964, a new editor by the name of Julius Schwartz took off for the Bat-books non-essential characters got the boot and the 1985 event, Crisis on Infinite Earths only solidified that statement. Apparently, in that mythology, the character was never created at all. That was until 52 #11 when writers like Geoff Johns and Grant Morrison brought the character back to life.
In her first solo arc in Detective Comics writer, Greg Rucka, pits her against the crazed cult leader, Alice. Rucka creates a mystery about the protagonist and antagonist that compels the interest of the reader to push further. Crafting a series of wondrously written action sequences between the cult of Alice and Batwoman. While this arc is filled with action, it’s’ also filled with small character moments that push the limits of storytelling and bring depth to a once dead character. Rucka creates a new hero for the modern age and gives a voice to the otherwise voiceless at the time of her genesis.
The art by J.H. Willaims III has a certain type of evolution to it. As you move from one panel to the next, you’re met with a sense of depth and richness that’s even deeper than the last one. As the arc develops, the art develops right along with it. Willaims is truly one of the unsung heroes of the medium. His art alone is worth the experience of this arc.
Overall, Batwoman: Elegy, is a hidden gem within the medium. Taking a character that was once deemed unnecessary and levelling her to a hero of our modern age. With an arc that is compelling, enduring and inspiring. Rucka does a masterful job at handling both larger scenes of action and intensity. While also whispering intimate moments within characters. Matched only by the art of J.H. Willaims III that contains a steady evolution of depth. Elegy strikes for gold and steals it in spades.
Josh Burkey is the host and producer of the Victims and Villains Podcast. Victims and Villains is the marriage of Nerd Culture and Suicide Prevention. Josh’s passion for both of these areas heard clearly within each episode of his hope-filled podcast.
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