Sunday, January 15, 2017

Detective Comics #948 "Batwoman Begins, Pt.1

By: Jerry Montgomery
January 13, 2017

Detective Comics: #948
“Batwoman Begins, Pt. 1”

Written by: James Tynion IV and Marguerite Bennett
Art by: Ben Oliver

Since the beginning of Detective Comics #934, the very 1st issue of DC’s Rebirth for this title, Batwoman has  been a major player in the Batman Family. To combat a growing threat of electronic surveillance and cyber warfare, Batman assembled a team to help him. Red Robin, Orphan, Spoiler, Clayface and Batwoman. Now, in issue # 948 of Detective Comics, Batwoman gets the “Year One” treatment which focuses on her emergence.

“What can Batwoman do that Batman can’t ?” That’s a good question and one that is raised in the new story arc of Detective Comics. Batman has been around a long time and throughout countless issues and stories, there are not many who would dispute that he is a master of his craft. The world’s greatest detective, second to none.  Is there anyone who could rival that title? “Batwoman Begins” affords a look into Batwoman’s beginnings as an antagonist to Batman. At this point in time, Katie Kane is already being guided by her father, Colonel Jacob Kane to replace Batman and with no doubt, implement his own agenda as leader of the Court of Owls towards Gotham City.

 Issue #948 also deals with the present as well, dealing with the aftermath of “Night of the Monster Men” as cleanup of the massive dead creatures continue but not without new dangers arising. It would seem Hugo Strange’s “Monster Venom” continues to create horrible mutations upon any living thing that gets to close to Gotham Bay. Enter a new character, Victoria October, head scientist with the Argus group, charged with the excavation and removal of the hulking monster carcasses under an area quarantine. The really notable thing here about Dr. Victoria October is that, to my knowledge,  could be comics first transgender character in the DC universe. Its revealed that she and Batman have known one another for a long time, since her “pupal” stage. So, in DCU’s rebirth into the modern world,  it has maintained bits of all culture and news as well as modern fears and issues we see and hear about every day.

By the end of the issue,  the threat of the Court of Owls resurfaces at the Belfry, requiring Batman and Batwoman to intervene. Faced with a new foe, a new danger and a new criminal agenda, can Batman count on Batwoman to assist him completely when confronted by old allegiances? It looks as though this new multi-storyline has alot of problems in store for Batman and his team.

The Verdict: With the coming new solo Batwoman title to hit shelves soon, Detective Comics #948, “Batwoman Begins,  Pt.1” is a great starting point to learn about her and a good jumping on point. The artwork is gorgeous, reminiscent of Alex Ross’ treatment of Marvel Comic’s characters in the Marvels title, that fleshed out their heroes and villains as real people. Some of Ben Oliver’s illustrations have me wondering what Batwoman is thinking through expression contrary to what she may be saying, especially when having to do with her father. The story remains interesting, keeping time in addressing past issues as well as new ones. I know with several Batman titles out there monthly, Detective remains for me, the essential read.

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