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Batwoman Vol. 2: To Drown the World (The New 52) Paperback – September 24, 2013
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"Truly a work of art."—USA Today
"The most satisfying read of the new DC 52."—The New York Times
"In our world, barriers slowly erode; in superhero stories, they get smashed."—Rolling Stone
"Shatters expectations."—Complex Magazine
"Gorgeous, stylized and unique`the story's pretty much non-stop."—Publishers Weekly
"The bottom line: it is an excellent book."—PopMatters
About the Author
J.H. Williams entered the comics field in 1991 and immediately began getting attention for his finely crafted work on such titles as Batman, Starman and Seven Soldiers of Victory. William's went on to co-create and pencil the hit series PROMETHEA with comics legend Alan Moore. His recent works include writing and drawing the critically acclaimed DC—The New 52 title BATWOMAN as well as drawing Neil Gaiman's return to the legendary SANDMAN series.
Top customer reviews
The plot is pretty promising, but sadly this volume just failed to deliver. Now, part of this is not really something we can fairly criticize, as the middling parts of serial stories almost always do poorly compared to the first and last parts. If all the story does is keep the plot going, and introduce new plot threads even, with no resolution at all, that is a recipe for boredom. Arguably it is a "necessary" boredom, though, as the story has to have some development before the big denouement.
The above said, the writers could have done something similar to how they handled the first volume, wherein they told a self-contained story within the larger overall meta-narrative of the overall story arcs. They didn't, so this volume was just one long, action-packed case of a story going nowhere (seemingly). As you can see, the writers could have ameliorated the boring tendencies of a middle act, but did not, so that is something for which they can be fairly criticized.
However, that is quite minor. The main problem with the story that the reader can take the writers to task for is the format of this volume. The narrative kept jumping from place to place like a kangaroo on crack. Every couple of pages was "'X' character at 'X' time". The narrative kept moving around in a thoroughly confusing manner. This was not a good story-telling device at all. Maybe someone should have reminded the writers that there is a reason the later seasons of LOST were the least favorite, largely due to moving around so much.
This is not to say that there was nothing good about this comic. There were many praiseworthy elements. First of all, the art here was just as gorgeous as the art in the previous issues. Seriously, the rest of the artists at DC Comics should take advice or lessons from the artists of this comic. Each panel is flat-out stunning.
The personal character arcs were also impressive. At least what was possible to interpret of them from the meandering, back and forth manner in which the story was told. The writers here focus a lot on character development and it shows. The sweetest part for me, and what was the best part of the whole graphic novel, was the vigil of Colonel Jacob Kane (Kate's father) by Bette's bedside. Such sentimentality is often mocked as not "true art", but I think, for what that is worth, that it is an essential part of what makes life, and art, beautiful. Kindness, respect, compassion, mercy, without these, life has no beauty or charm.
I will also say that the writers have settled into having Kate's views on sexual issues, or homosexual orientation, just be a "part" of her character, and not be her character. In other words, they have decided to not push politics so much, and just tell quality stories. Even an off-hand remark by Detective Sawyer is not (in my own opinion and interpretation) so much a political statement, but one that is expected. Regardless of individual situations, a single mom who doesn't have custody of her kid would make some remark to "lash out" against the injustice of it all. It is only human. These characters are eminently human, and that is to the betterment of the Batwoman comic book series.
Batwoman throws us back into the fray with J. H. Williams and W. Hayden Blackman writing the stories and Amy Reeder, Trevor McCarthy, Rob Hunter, Richard Friend, and Pere Perez pulling art duty. The art's the real show-stealer here with the twisting, turning panels and stunning, sometimes sickening, visuals. It's not light on gore at times and any panel with Batwoman is a work of art. The writing here gets a bit more confusing as it covers many different stories page-by-page and takes place in many different time frames. One page may be about Kate in current time while the next page is another character two weeks ago followed by a third character on the following page fifteen minutes in the future. You can see where, initially, it's confusing. Once you're a few issues in, you'll get the hang of who's where and what's what or if you're really confused you can give it another read but it should still be something everyone can follow right off the bat. Otherwise, the story's great with monsters popping up in Gotham and Batwoman and the DEO being there to clean up the mess and solve the case.
The presentation's nice with textless covers for all the issues as well as black-and-whites. Extras include some scripts and work-in-progress panels all in a nice hardcover with a dustjacket. A must-have if you want the whole story to this new Batwoman!
Against them is the heroine Batwoman, "estranged daughter, grieving sister, proud lesbian, brave soldier, determined hero." She is supposed to be under the supervision of a government agent named Chase, who is at once blackmailing her, guiding her, and giving her advanced armor and weapons. She is unwillingly competing with her lover, Detective Maggie Sawyer, who is in charge of the Gotham P.D.'s investigation of the kidnappings. She is all the while worrying about her badly injured cousin, comatose in a hospital under the care of the Batwoman's father.
What does all of this add up to? A disappointment to me, for although she throws her all at the bad guys, they more or less win -- for now. I'm guessing she'll eventually save the children, but I can't see how, and I could be wrong, considering today's comic book standards. I do want to see what happens in volume 3 next so I guess the book was that much of a success.