Saturday, March 24, 2012

Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka and JH Williams III

Kate Kane's lesbianism is out in the open in the graphic novel Batwoman: Elegy. It is the reason she was thrown out of the army right after graduating from West Point. The thing that complicates Kate's love life is her secret identity as the Batwoman.

In an earlier graphic novel written by Greg Rucka, Gotham Central: Half a Life, readers were introduced to Renee Montoya, a detective in Gotham's police force. Renee was outed and framed for murder in that story. Renee appears briefly in Batwoman: Elegy as an ex-lover for whom Kate pines.

A new leader of the Religion of Crime has come to Gotham City and her name is Alice. She speaks only in dialogue from Lewis Carroll's works. Artist JH Williams III seems to have been inspired by Tim Burton and his Alice looks like a saucy Victorian punk goth version of Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter. Williams' dynamic page layouts also include neat visual tricks that foreshadow an important plot element.

Kate and Alice are well-matched as adversaries. While there are evil minions with superpowers around them, these two women are athletic humans with lots of nifty military gadgets. Thrilling, dark and fun. There's also a great introduction by Rachel Maddow, praising the Batwoman's moral spine.

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