New 52 Review – “Batwoman #1”

The second title in this week’s Batman family set is up next.

General Information

Title: Batwoman #1

Author: J. H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman

Illustrator(s): J. H. Williams III (art) and Dave Stewart (colours)

Cover Date: November 2011

Cover Price: $2.99

Buy the digital edition.


Kate Kane is working to protect Gotham, along with her sidekick Plebe. Someone or something is kidnapping children who start turning up dead, and Kate is determined to track that individual down.

High Point

The art. J.H. Williams III is possibly the most innovative artist working in mainstream comics right now, particularly when it comes to how the page it laid out. Williams’ layouts don’t just facilitate the story, they actively tell the story while setting tone and mood.

Low Point

There’s a lot of back story here, which is surprising for such a new character. Yes, it reveals motivations, but much could have waited for a later issue.

The Scores

Batwoman still doesn’t feel like an original hero. I know she first appeared before Barbara Gordon, and that the sidekick she has here was originally greated to be the first Bat-Girl, but neither are as well known, and the new Batgirl series launched first. When 9 out of 52 titles are in the Bat family, it feels like a lot of them, which makes it hard for the line to differentiate and feel unique. This has a lot of long term potential, though. Regardless of how long ago the character first appeared, she was ignored for decades, and is still a mostly clean slate to work from. I give it 4 out of 6.

The art by Williams and Stewart is amazing. The art is incredibly expressive, both in terms of characters emoting and in terms of telling the story. Williams deserves his “Best Artist” Eisner and Harvey awards for his run with this character on Detective, and I won’t be surprised when he wins again for this title. I give it 6 out of 6.

The story is okay. It’s well told, with two clear adversaries, and some interesting interpersonal relationships in the supporting cast. I give it 4 out of 6.

The characterization is strong, and gets more focus than the villains without a doubt. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response to the story is mediocre, but the art alone is mesmerizing. I give it 5 out of 6.

The flow is extremely well driven by the art. I give it 6 out of 6.

Overall, this is a book that’s easy to recommend to art lovers. The story isn’t as strong, but art lovers may not care. I give it 4 out of 6.

In total, Batwoman #1 receives 34 out of 42.

The New 52

Here are handy links for the reviews of all 52 new #1 issues:

  1. Action Comics
  2. All-Star Western
  3. Animal Man
  4. Aquaman
  5. Batgirl
  6. Batman
  7. Batman and Robin
  8. Batman: The Dark Knight
  9. Batwing
  10. Batwoman
  11. Birds of Prey
  12. Blackhawks
  13. Blue Beetle
  14. Captain Atom
  15. Catwoman
  16. DC Universe Presents
  17. Deathstroke
  18. Demon Knights
  19. Detective Comics
  20. The Flash
  21. Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
  22. The Fury of Firestorm
  23. Green Arrow
  24. Green Lantern
  25. Green Lantern Corps
  26. Green Lantern: New Guardians
  27. Grifter
  28. Hawk and Dove
  29. I, Vampire
  30. Justice League
  31. Justice League Dark
  32. Justice League International
  33. Legion Lost
  34. Legion of Super-Heroes
  35. Men of War
  36. Mister Terrific
  37. Nightwing
  38. O.M.A.C.
  39. Red Hood and the Outlaws
  40. Red Lanterns
  41. Resurrection Man
  42. The Savage Hawkman
  43. Static Shock
  44. Stormwatch
  45. Suicide Squad
  46. Superboy
  47. Supergirl
  48. Superman
  49. Swamp Thing
  50. Teen Titans
  51. Voodoo
  52. Wonder Woman

4 replies on “New 52 Review – “Batwoman #1””

  1. A few silly questions?

    Is Kate Kane still a lesbian? (Considering the dearth of lesbian super-heroines, changing this would be kind of significant).

    Second, any information here on who The Question is? Is Renee Montoya still The Question, or have they gone back to Vic Sage?

    • As far as I can tell, the entire Bat family’s history is preserved. Kate Kane is still a lesbian, Renee Montoya is still her ex, and officer Sawyer is her current love interest, though she isn’t over Renee yet. (The art conveys this entire romantic history clearly in three panels, whether you read the text or not.)

      • It would appear the origin that ran awhile back in Detective remains more-or-less intact. The time-frame would have to be adjusted, since certain aspects of her age relative to Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent’s no longer make sense. (ie. she was an older child when Superman and Batman made their debuts. See my discussion of the character here). In general, several details of the Bat-characters timelines don’t really make sense anymore (if they ever did) and no, we’re not supposed to worry about it.

        And yes, Batwoman boasts some of the best mainstream superhero artwork in recent comics.

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