Batwoman – The Many Arms of Death (Part 1)
Story: Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV
Art: Steve Epting
Publisher: DC Comics
Editor: Dave Welgosz & Chris Conroy
Pages: 22 Colour Pages
Release Date (Print & Digital): 15th March 2017
Age Rating: Teen
A lead takes Batwoman to a Mystery Island where her past is revealed…
The Story: Monster Venom is the hottest new bio-weapon on the market and to break up the syndicate spreading it around the world, Batwoman has to return to the place where she spent some of her darkest hours!
For those who came in late, Batwoman was First created in the mid 1950s by writer Edmond Hamilton and artist Sheldon Moldoff under the direction of editor Jack Schiff, as part of an ongoing effort to expand Batman’s cast of supporting characters. She was also introduced as a love interest for Batman in order to combat the allegations of Batman’s homosexuality arising from the controversial book Seduction of the Innocent, published in 1954.
Dropped from the DC line-up for many years (Wikipedia details the character’s history here, if you’re curious), Batwoman was re-introduced to DC continuity in 2006 in the seventh week of the publisher’s year-long 52 weekly comic book.
Reintroduced as Kate Kane, the modern Batwoman began operating in Gotham City in Batman’s absence following the events of the company-wide crossover Infinite Crisis, published in 2005.
Kate Kane is a citizen of Gotham city and just like Batman, she is also a healthy heiress who turns into a vigilante to serve justice. Her simple motto, of late, is to do things that Batman cannot.
DC Comics Rebirth
For the uninitiated, this mega event started in June 2016 and the entire timeline and story arcs are reset to that of the New 52 series.
This particular story arc (“The Many Arms of Death”) starts from the time line of “Night of the Monster men”. The writing is taken care by Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV and they have done a fabulous job, to start with.
The Review: Forget about suicide bombers. Terrorists have a new bio weapon named Monster venom drug. The takers of that turn into a monster and cause more havoc than a bomb would do so. Kate was tracking one such bomb and while defusing (pun intended) she gets a lead that takes her to the mysterious island of Coryana, situated somewhere in the Mediterranean Sea.
Kate’s visit to the island is also triggers an emotional flashback about her “Lost Year” and the story kicks on from that point.
First and foremost, the dialogue in this comic are some of the best in the recent times, especially in characters involving citizens of Gotham. The opening sequence and the repetition of the same set of dialogues in the middle, both are penned nicely. Having followed Marguerite Bennett through Bombshells series, this was no surprise at all. Knowing her abilities, and of course that of the redoubtable James Tynion IV, we can surely expect a damn good series where writing gets its due.
What elevates this setting-up-for-the-story (part 1) comic to a higher plane is the artwork of Steve Epting.
Here is a question: How many emotions that one artist can make us feel through artwork? Happiness, sorrow, pain, fear, etc. Yes, these are all easy for the master artists. That is where Epting is taking us to. There are certain sequences in the comics where the artwork requires a very deep and careful look rather than the casual glance that is normally associated with the action packed stories, which we normally do. Consider the scenes where Kate is staring at the sea, the flashback sequence are some of the classic examples of the strong inking of Steve Epting.
There is a particular sequence in the story which yields something about the past of Kate and that entire sequence is handled in black and white.
But you know what? The colorist for this comic, Jeremy Cox, makes his presence felt so effectively in those pages. While the entire sequence is in black and white, Kate’s hair alone is colored in blood red. And her lips. This is good, damn good.
Final Point: Strong build up for the series.
Verdict: Recommended. (4/6).
King Viswa – TCU Syndicate