Pick of the Week

06.24.2009 – Detective Comics #854

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877
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Avg Rating: 4.6
iFanboy Community Pick of the Week Percentage: 42.7%
 
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Size: pages
Price: 3.99

It occurred to me recently that I’ve missed Greg Rucka terribly.  In the pantheon of modern comic book writers who hang out at the top of the heap, I have started to forget that Rucka is one of my favorites.  In fact, in comparison to the work I’ve read lately from some of my other favorites from the same class as Rucka, he’s way ahead of Bendis and Brubaker in terms of making me a consistently happy reader.  There are all sorts of reasons he’s fallen to the wayside in my mind.  Mostly, I’ll blame 52, which was a great achievement and some fun comics, but it also knocked Rucka out of the running for a while.  Sure he did Checkmate for a while, and that was fun, as well as the poorly titled mini-series with the Question, but they weren’t exactly the same.  Let me explain.  Both were extremely well done, as we’re used to, but Checkmate was a big sprawling book, and as well as he did, my favorite Rucka work is when he can zero in on a character or two, and really develop them.  There was a lot of stuff going on in Checkmate, more than even Gotham Central, and it wasn’t quite the same as my favorite stuff he did.  But now, between Action Comics, and Detective Comics today, I really feel like he’s back. 

And he brought company.

Long ago, there was a media brouhaha about the new gay Batwoman, and most of it amounted to exactly nothing.  But beneath all the (fucking lame) jokes, Rucka had, here and there, in various appearances, started to really develop a Kate Kane I wanted to know more about.  While the headlines suggested something silly, I knew Greg Rucka’s work well enough that if he was going to get into a character, it would be worth my attention.  When it was announced that he was taking over Detective Comics, and Batwoman would be the focus, I was thrilled.  Savvy readers will remember Rucka’s time on Detective Comics previously, and know that it was glorious.  If this issue is any indication, we could be in for another great ride.

Now we’ve got Kate Kane.  She’s Batwoman, presumably for no other reason than she wants to be.  There’s a lot of ground to be covered in getting to know who she is, and why she’s doing this.  But straight away, we’re aware that she’s different than Bruce, Tim, Dick, Damian, Jean-Paul, or whoever.  She’s not like them, but she’s part of that life, and right away, it’s interesting, because it’s different.  She’s got some tattoos and she’s got problems with her relationship, and for some reason I don’t fully understand, she’s very confident in her superhero role.  Simply put, this issue made me want to know more.  It made me want to have the next 12 issues that I could read right in a row, without stopping, finally looking up and wondering why I was so hungry.  But it looks like I’ll have to wait in line with the rest of the rabble.  But it’s worth it.  At least it will be.  I know enough about Greg Rucka to bet on that one.

I’ve made it clear that Rucka is a writer’s writer, but there are plenty out there who would have shown up just for J.H. Williams III, and with good reason.  Williams is one of those guys who doesn’t do all that much work, so when he shows up, people notice it.  It’s sort of hard not to notice, because the pages don’t look like anything else out there.  The stuff in this book is all over the map stylistically.  There are pages Jamie McKelvie could have drawn.  There are pages Alex Ross might have worked on.  There are pages David Mack could have signed.  But they’re all Williams.  While they are not typical superhero pages, they’re a wonder to study.  Skottie Young commented on twitter about grid layouts, and how it’s a skill that comes with time, suggesting that most artists try to master a simple grid before breaking format.  Williams stands out as a person who’s figured it out.  His layouts, when appropriate mind you, are incredible, but even he knows when to pull back and when to pull out all the stops.  The pages invite reading and re-reading, always finding more to look at.  And in the midst of that he’s doing beautiful figure work, and character acting.  There’s really nothing quite like them.

Williams is doing one other thing worthy of highlighting.  Here’s a book about a young woman; a beautiful young woman, not without sexuality, or sensuousness.  Yet he manages to capture that without resorting to cheesecake.  Kate Kane is sexy as hell, but there’s no gratuitous butt shots in here that we see in so many other books.  He knew where the line should be drawn, and the book is better off for it.  With all the hoopla about this character being gay, so many artists would turn it into some lascivious fantasy for repressed boys’ imaginations.  Instead, he portrays a grown up woman, who is sexy yes, but not silly.  The same can’t be said of previous artists Rucka has worked with on both Batwoman and Montoya.

Did you think I forgot Montoya?  As if all this wasn’t good enough, the backup (notice I didn’t say co-feature), illustrated by Cully Hamner joins up with Renee Montoya, and her life as the Question.  She’s apparently living in southern California, and she’s helping out illegal immigrants.  That’s about all we know, but it’s about as “street level” as it gets, and again, I want to know more.

One surefire way to make sure that the people who love Batman aren’t pissed off about the absence of Bruce Wayne is to keep cramming high quality Gotham comics down their throats. It certainly can’t be said that DC isn’t doing that.  Not one of the 6 relaunched Bat-books have been stinkers, and once again we’re reminded how badly that corner of DC needed a shot in the arm.  The key will be to keep the quality up where it is, and keep people excited for a world without Bruce.  For my part, I don’t really care if Bruce Wayne is in the books or not, as long as Greg Rucka is.

Josh Flanagan
Even the heels didn’t look so ridiculous
josh@ifanboy.com

Comments

  1. This wasn’t even on my radar but it caught my eye and I thumbed through it.  It was too gorgeous for me not to take it home.  It was like a puppy at the pet store.

  2. …..You almost swayed me. I mean, wow, you seriously have peaked my interested with Detective Comics.

    I’ve stated my problems with Batwoman being the focus and I wont beat a dead horse with it. But this review has now made me wish I could’ve at least gave this issue a shot. Cause I gave Streets of Gotham and Sirens a try and I wasnt planning on buying either really until the last minute. (Well Sirens I wanted to buy but I was on the edge looking at the previews for it).

    If the art is gorgeous as you say it is and the 5 page preview I saw on comixology.com….god damn I missed out on a great book.

  3. Ah! Awesome, gald I took the chance on this, now I just have to wait for DCBS to get here. 

  4. @TNC Dude just buy it.  Don’t cheat yourself, treat yourself.

  5. Like I wasn’t looking forward to this book enough already, you have to go and write this review. Now getting through my work day and counting down the time until i can punch out and make a mad dash for the comic shop is going to suck even more. 

  6. I haven’t enjoyed reading a comic this much in I can’t remember when.  The coloring was also incredible – I love the basically black & red palette that Dave Stewart uses.

  7. @TNC – I have no interest in this character really, but the book is just so gorgeous, and this is coming from a story guy. 

  8. @Heroville: First I need the money. lol

    Let’s see *counts piggy bank* $4.25……$4.26……damnit, I’m a penny short!! 🙂

  9. @NJBaritone – It’s a fucking crime that I didn’t mention Stewart in the review, but yes.  A thousand times yes.

  10. Also I think I’ve figured out what Batman: Reborn means.  Its about keeping Bruce’s style of crime fighting alive after he’s dead; that’s why we has so many different people taking over his books and why we’re seeing other, deadlier vigilantes (Manhunter, Azrael, Red Hood) coming into Gotham to test whether or not his way works.  Because if what Batman established can’t survive without Bruce Wayne in the costume then its all been a failure.

  11. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I never understood the apprehension for a book about Batwoman. "She’s never been developed since she was introduced!" Well, this is your chance to meet her. And damn, is it an awesome formal introduction. Gorgeous, gorgeous book. Great review, Josh.  

  12. Can’t wait to read this and Dini’s Sirens . . . I got a nice stack of great comics to dig into tonight and tomorrow.

    I’ll assume Bruce Wayne will be back sooner than Steve Rogers was . . . if they go longer than Rogers, I’ll be shocked.

    But I’m with you, good writing, good stories outweigh even the original Batman and Captain America.

  13. YAY.

    I’ve been looking forward to this book pretty much constantly since it was announced at NYCC.  Not only did it not disappoint me, it exceeded my expectations.  The dynamic with Kate and her dad was something I wasn’t expecting or looking for but it added a perfect dimension to the book; though Kate’s not a teenager, they remind me a bit of Veronica and Keith Mars, which is awesome.  Can this book come out every week?

    I should mention there was also some other fantastic stuff out this week — Swierczynski’s run on ‘Iron Fist’ wrapped up (for now at least) with a great character issue.  And Matt Fraction both brought the steampunk in Uncanny X-Men 512 and launched what looks to be a fascinating crossover in X-Men/Dark Avengers Utopia.  This is a good day to love comics.

  14. @Josh and NJBaritone

    over the past six months or so, I have really been paying attention to the coloring on a book. Doesn’t Marvel realize how horrible the coloring is on half their books and just how much it takes away from the art? The coloring on Black panther was so muddled and bad on Black Panther and Dark Avengers recently, that I was considering dropping both books based on just the coloring job. 

  15. So glad to see this as POW!

  16. ooo, there a little fire in that review. nice one, josh

  17. This was such a great issue.  For some reason, I was looking forward to this the least out of all the relaunched bat books.  Rucka was why I picked it up, and I’m so glad I did.  I had no idea who Batwoman is, and as people have mentioned so far, this is the best way to get to know her.  Rucka’s character development is just top notch.  And I have to tip my hat to Williams’s art.  I had to flip to the front page multiple times to make sure it was the same penciller because of the dramatic dichotomy between the Batwoman and Kate Kane pages.  I have barely started on my ridiculous stack this week, but Detective Comics is a very strong contender for my PoW.

  18. I’m about to read mine again, after I read The Boys volume two.  I read so many trades this week, it’s fucking sick!

  19. I knew I should have bought this.

  20. yea boy! 3/4 batbooks for the month of june only cause ron doesnt buy dini anymore….

  21. @TNC, you pay sales tax on comic books? really? that blows, it ain’t like that in Rhode Island or Massachusetts

  22. @crazy: Yeah taxes are used for comics in my shop…wait a tic…my 10% cut for being a member! I can afford this…Yay!

  23. I’m still working through a large stack this week, but I can tell you right now that nothing else could be the pick. This is an excellent comic book. Josh states it very accurately. Rucka’s at the top of his game here. There’s a lot we DON’T know about Kate. We don’t know why she started on this path. We don’t know why he father is working with her in this capacity. But Rucka knows that it’s more interesting to start the story this way and let the backstory unravel as we go. I love this kind of storytelling. It doesn’t give you everything with loads of exposition, but it makes you feel as though there IS a backstory waiting to be told. 

    Another thing I love about both stories in this issue: they’re mostly self-contained. Sure, Batwoman’s part of the Batverse, but it feels like it’s own corner. And I feel like Rucka’s telling a story that has NO intention of crossing into other titles. That’s something I hope to see more of. And the Question story could easily be the pilot for a new TV series. It has a backstory, but I also think you get all you need from this first chapter. She’s a woman who helps people who ask the right Question. Questions she needs to answer. It’s a smart update on the original concept.

  24. I keep looking through this issue even though I haven’t finished my other new books for the week. I really enjoyed this issue of Detective Comics………. 

  25. This might be my favorite of the bat books in this new status quo. It’s definitely between this and Batman and Robin. I decided to completely drop all of the batbooks after War Games and I never thought I would come back, but I’m now getting every bat-title and I’m enjoying nearly every single one (I wasn’t crazy about Gotham Sirens, but I’ll give it another chance.) It’s nice to see things are finally in a right place with this line of books, hopefully they can keep this up and it’s not just a case of all the first issues being fantastic and everything following falling apart.

    Great review, Josh.

  26. 14 book stack today and this was my favorite as well.  Damn fine read.

    Also enjoyed Thor, the new team on Runaways and Guardians of the Galaxy.  Overall a very busy and rewarding week in comics for me

  27. This was inches from my pick of the week.  I remember on the comment section for the actual comic, somebody asked, "why Batwoman" and Conor’s response was, "Why not?"  Exactly.  I hope whoever posted that has since changed their mind.  She was a great character in this book, and even though I’m unfamiliar with her character, I was impressed with her morality, humanity, and tenacity.  I hate over-the-top characters and she’s everything but. 

    The coloring, dear God the coloring was gorgeous.

    Josh, outside of a few cheesy phrases and choice of words, that was probably one of the best reviews I’ve read from you yet.  I really think you captured in words everything I felt about this book.

  28. I came for the Rucka, but it was J.H. Williams who blew me away with his work this week. I especially liked what he  did with his panel layouts. By using something closer to a traditional grid layout for the out-of-costume and down tempo moments, then shifting to non-traditional, angular, almost shattered layouts for the action sequences, he really raised the level of tension and excitement on those pages.

     

    I don’t usually read Bat-books, but I’m onboard for this run. 

  29. Is it true Ron gave this a 5 too?  All the ifanboys gave a Bat(wo)man book a 5.  It seems historical.

     

  30. Nice review.  The art on this one was brilliantly stunning enough to make it an automatic POW.    Small nit-pick:  Rucka’s story, though good overall, at times dipped a bit too far into cliché, especially the scenes out of costume.  The ex breaking up with the super hero because she thinks the hero is out too much.  The military man who can’t stop talking about everything in military terms (“soldier on”).  Also, there were just too many people shouting character traits at Batwoman.  “You’re smart, you’re sexy, you’ve got a great sense of humor…”, “you keep pushing yourself, you’re going to hurt yourself again.  Maybe bad enough you don’t recover from it…”, etc.  But again, this is just a nit-picking; definitely a worthy pick.   

  31. This is my pick as well. The art alone brings it in first. I knew it would be good, but this was something else. Williams sense of design in not only the layouts, but in the graphic representation in some of the panels juxtaposed against the painterly grayscale art really made it seem like something new. It catapulted him up the list of my favorite artists and is now a creator I will be following.

     

    The story is really interesting and looks to expand the Batman universe out with some exciting new faces. Kate Kane looks like she is going to be fleshed out into a fully realized and interesting heroine. On the whole this is a five star book and I can’t wait for more. 

  32. I think I’m going to go with Uncanny X-Men this week.  I usually hate time travel, but this was very well done.

  33. @vadamowens – You’re not so good with compliments are you?

  34. Great pick, although there were some awesome other choices like Nova and the Amazing, ASM. There were times reading Detective that I had a feeling similar to the first time I read Dark Knight or Kingdom Come.

  35. 🙂 I call them critical compliments.  Starts with a slap and ends with a hug.

  36. Yeah, you sound like a delight to be around.

  37. lol

  38. of course this would be the month I decide to try out DCBS cold turkey, can’t wait for the bat books to come! (I havn’t read any of them yet)

  39. the cover is absolutly gorgous, and the use of red in the book really pops against the blacks and grays of gotham city. i’m also really interested in seeing how the question b-story is going to go down, if the last three pages of the story are any indication its gonna get dark. Its good to have Rucka back.

  40. I haven’t even read this yet, but last night before bed, I thumbed through it and knew it was going to be the pick.  The craft in the pages is astounding.  I can’t wait to read this later today.

  41. Well done Josh! I’m thinking that this villain is not going to be around long as how many times can Rucka find quotes from Adventures in Wonderland that work as dialogue. But I’ll enjoy while it lasts. And indeed there are only a handful of comic book artists that have ever hit the plain of creativity that willaims is working on right now.

  42. @josh Were you trying to keep it spoiler free, or was their not a lot going on?

  43. fantastic issue and fantastic review to match!  "For my part, I don’t really care if Bruce Wayne is in the books or not, as long as Greg Rucka is."  great line!

  44. Absolutely beautiful issue…nice that a 70-year-old title can feature work this fresh.

  45. So she got stabbed in the heart right? I’m seeing a trend with bat characters. Catwoman had her heart taken out and put back in, Tim was stabbed in the heart by Jason and now Kane… Weird.

  46. @CharlieBlix: It’s the initiation for new members of the Bat family.

    "You wanna be the next Robin? Well all you have to do is stand right here….in front of the harpoon gun"-Bruce

    If anyone wanted to know: INCREDIBLE HERCULES was my pick for the week. Just easily the most fun you’ll have in a comic book. Plus you learn a lot about Greek Mythology.

  47. I gotta say for me, of the new relaunches, Detective Comics is head shoulders above the others. I gave the others five stars and have to say it’s a step up from even them. The art and coloring alone make this book near perfect.

    I’m also glad Detective Comics, features a pair of people attempting to ‘Detect’ 

  48. Changed my mind from Uncanny to Detective.  It’s just such a beatiful book.  I really don’t think that the story is any better or any different than an average issue of DD, but the art puts it way over the top.  I like how, especially given all the complicate stuff that’s going on in the Bat universe right now, the story sticks to the basics so that anybody can read and enjoy it.

  49. That amazing spread a few pages from the end was all the convincing my girlfriend needed to read it.

  50. So, so good. One of those rare treats where everything about it screamed "quality".  JH Williams is just perfection, he turns in the comic book equivalent of fine art in every book he pencils, nothing ever seems half hearted or rushed.  Also, never hated Kate Kane but just never felt she had enough depth to care.  Now, 3 years on, I do care, love the fleshing out of her character and can’t wait for next issue. Great pick.

  51. I wanted those questions answered before I started pissing on this parade, but oh well. I think the review is all over the place and needs editing to tighten it up. Also it’s the type of reviews that don’t say anything about the product. Ones you read at the back of books ending up thinking "yeah, it’s the messiah, but what is it about?". I don’t know if it’s due to not having a lot to say about it (it is after all a single issue) or trying to keep it spoiler free.

    If you were busy and I was impatient, sorry. Cupcake of forgiveness? 

  52. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @chlop – I’d really rather not have a synopsis in the reviews I read.  

  53. @chlop — you’re right, Josh doesn’t really cover the plot in his review, presumably to avoid spoilers. But it’s very simple at this point: Batwoman gets a lead about a new leader coming to take over the cult responsible for, you know, stabbing her in the heart, and so she tracks down and confronts said leader. Pretty straightforward, but Kate and her father are interesting characters, and I found myself instantly intrigued by them and their actions in this issue.

  54. @Paul — i think it’s a fine line. I like a little plot in the review. Just a sense of the story being told. Particularly if I didn’t pick up the book and am considering it. Make it more of a complete review. That said, I don’t really expect that from the PotW reviews because I see them as precursors to the podcast, which undoubtedly will discuss the plot. 😉

  55. My job is to talk about what was good about the book.  Sometimes, that’s the plot, sometimes it’s the art, sometimes it’s the characterization, and sometimes it’s the gut feeling the book gave me. 

    The book is about Kate Kane, Batwoman. It’s written by Greg Rucka with stellar art by JH Williams III.

    I hate writing a synopsis as a review. We’ll talk about more in the podcast, but in the 1000 words above, I said everything I wanted it.  It encapsulates my experience with the book perfectly.

    If you want more from a review, there are lots of other websites for which I do no write.

  56. @daccampo – thanks.

  57. I agree with chlop to an extent, and with daccampo, and with josh.

    While I prefer some synopsis in a review sometimes; other times I just wanna know why a writer or artist did a good/bad job on a book and nothing more. I think josh did a great job explaining why this was the best book of the week. Maybe it was a bit gushing over Rucka at points; but this was a great review overall.

  58. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    The concept is pretty clear in the promotional material and free previews that have been online for a while now. If you want to know anything else that happens in a single issue of a comic book, why not read the single issue of the comic book? While Josh wrote a review that covered the presentation of the book, the atmosphere, the characterization, the historical significance, there are lesser reviewers out there writing a synopsis review without any kind of commentary other than their own star rating. I appreciate the former and shake my head at the latter.  

  59. I don’t think anyone’s talking about a full synopsis, though, Paul. I’m also not talking about ONLY a synopsis, either. Again, I’m not coming down on Josh for this — I think he’s got a lot of interesting points in his review. But I certainly don’t think there’s anything wrong with establishing a foundation by simply stating the direction of the story.

    I honestly hadn’t thought about it until chlop mentioned it — particularly because I already read the story. But then I went back and re-read the review, thinking about it as if I was completely new to comics. IN it, the reviewer praises the writer for being back in form, praises the artist for innovation and beauty, states a brief bit about the protagonist… but… doesn’t really give me an idea of what type of story the protagonist finds herself embroiled in. Again, it’s different strokes for different folks, and Josh sure doesn’t owe it to me to write a review any such way, but I don’t think one can dismiss chlop’s point summarily.

  60. I agree with most of the review except I did not think she was "sexy".  Strong, yes.  Determined, yes. Heroic, yes.  Sexy, no.  Now she is batwoman, and if its meant to follow the mantle of batman, fear is what she would incite someone to feel, so sexy is not needed.  You want a hero to look "hawt" draw them hot.  You want them to look scary, draw them scary.

    Batwoman = scary and NOT sexy.

  61. Also, it was an excellent review Josh.  Don’t let anybody tell you different.  You guys do a great job. 

    Just be leary of using redneck phrases or ideas.  For example, "if you don’t like it, you can get out".  That earlier post basically said, ‘if you don’t like my review, kiss my ass’.  Not a good place to be man.

    Does it really suprise anyone that Ron doesn’t get on here?  You guys are freaking ruthless.

  62. Did someone just remove one of my posts?

  63. Yes.

  64. What rule did I break?

  65. Personal attack.

    Personal attack with profanity.

    General jerkishness.

    Pick any one of those.

  66. lol.  fair enough

  67. @fingaz

    How can you not find strong, heroic, or determined sexy?  I think Josh meant that it’s sexy in not the cheesecake way.  And I have to agree with him, I found Kate incredibly sexy in this issue.

  68. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    For anyone interested in hearing about the writing process behind this book, including the communication between Rucka and Williams on these insane layouts, I definitely recommend listening to the latest Word Balloon. Rucka sounds like he’s having the time of his life on this project. Anyways, check it out. Great discussion.  

    And apparently it took a long time to get that red hair just right.

  69. Fluffy repost.  Why are certain ‘people’ attacking others about critiquing Josh’s response.  You guys are professional reviewers.  We are not.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t dissect the review to discuss what we found good and bad.  We should be able to do so without getting our ‘stuff’ jumped on by certain ‘people’.  It just seems that many of you on the ifanboy staff are very defensive about things that aren’t really necessary to be defensive about.  Sometimes it feels like its you against us. Shouldn’t ‘big feelings’ be taken out of the mix as professionals?

  70. Wasn’t on my pull list originally. Took a peek at the store on Wednesday. VERY glad I did. Spot on, Josh! Great book & great pick!

  71. OK, this space is about talking about the Pick of the Week, not how we moderate our site.  We expect everyone to be respectful of everyone else, and that’s at our own discretion.  

    As far as being professional reviewers, we’re still people, providing a free service.  We expect to be treated with respect and tact, and to be honest, there’s been too little of that lately.  Conversely, we need to be respectful as well, and we try to be.  But if we feel people are being rude or disrespectful, we’ll deal with it and delete posts.

    If you have a concern about a poster, no matter who they are, email us and let us know.  Please don’t try to moderate other users within the threads.  You don’t have to worry about it.  This is supposed to be, and has been a fun place to talk about comics.  Let’s keep it that way.

  72. Yes Yes….let’s talk about josh and his reviewing style in our own private chatrooms…

    I kid, I kid…(Don’t delete me!) lol

  73. Wow, this jumped up a notch, didn’t it?

    I don’t see why people take certain things so seriously, but then, I have the advantage of being hella laid back.

  74. ‘Tec was an awesome package this week. All the talk, the past few months, about whether the character "deserves" to be the lead in DC’s oldest title just seems…superfluous. Seems like this is going to be a solid book by a great creative team. They can put "Detective Comics" on the cover or "aLuD7dDsZZZ$" on the cover–it doesn’t really matter. There does seem to be some detective-ing going on, though, so…it works. Never read much Rucka before…and I think the goth/Alice angle might get a little annoying to me…but things are fine so far. I liked the interaction between Kate and her (ex)gf, especally. Will Kate turn out to be similar to Bruce, relationship-wise? I assume that we’ll get a little more inside Kate’s head in future issues. And as for the art, well, it’s of course amazing. Anything JH does is, but this is among his best.

  75. Talk about the comics.  I’m deleting anything else from here on.

  76. So are all the bat books planned for 12 month stints? I know Red Robin is. I’m sure Dini’s books are long haul books, but does anyone know how long Rucka is on Detective?

  77. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    I like Rucka’s decision to pretty much keep Detective out of the Reborn continuity. It fits if you want it too, but it’s not explicitly dated. In the Word Balloon interview he explained that the Batman in this book could be Bruce or Dick. It’s up to the reader to decide. That way, this will make sense to future readers who might only know about this status quo as a foot note. He’s giving Kate room to develop in a safe little corner of Gotham, and I really respect that. This is looking to be a timeless book. 

  78. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    @jurassicalien – Rucka said it’s 12 issues. Three arcs: four issues, three issues, five issues. So at least 12. 

  79. Meh on the character and story but the art was amazing.

  80. @Paul – that’s totally one of the things I loved about the issue. I see this becoming a gorgeous hardcover that almost anyone can enjoy. Sure, there’s a wee bit of context you need, but I suspect as he rolls along, he’ll cover everything. 

    That said, I think that’s roughly the success of the overall "relaunch" thus far. Red Robin has it’s own corner, as do ‘Streets’ and ‘Sirens.’ 

    Hell, I’d even argue that Batman & Robin has a certain timeless quality to it. You don’t really need to know about RIP or the Battle for the Cowl. You could hand that issue to someone and say it’s the next generation of Batman, where the new Batman is the old Robin and the new Robin is the original Batman’s son, and they’d be fine.

    I’ve been critical of DC editorial for a lot of their moves in the past few years, but right now I consider this soft relaunch of the Bat books to be one of their greatest successes in some time — with Detective as a shining example of how DC should be handling their publishing line.

  81. @daccamp – I’m very impressed by how either Detective and Batman & Robin could be read on their own and still be enjoyed at a high level.  Kudos to DC on this relaunch.  I really liked Batwoman and B&R and now I kinda regret skipping Red Robin.  (I just hate that name.)

  82. Does anybody have recommendations for what I should read for some more background on Katherine Kane specifically related to this story?  I’m talking specifically about this cult that she had a run in with and almost died.

  83. @vadamowens  52.

  84. Other’s keep telling me that, but there’s no steady storyline or issues focused around her is there?  I’m just very ignorant of DC outside of Batman and any reading attempts I’ve made at 52 have left me an invalid.

  85. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    The incident you’re talking about takes place in issues 47 and 48 of 52.  

  86. Outstanding. Thanks

  87. Wasn’t that in Crime Bible?  I don’t remember.

  88. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    She definitely has a knife in her chest in 52. 

  89. The Crime Bible has been mentioned to me as well.  I just don’t have the money for back issues right now, and for whatever reason, my library is pretty weak with their DC availability.

  90. I’d be surprised if there ends up being a Crime Bible trade.  But if the knife thing happens in 52, you can skip it.

  91. Paul Montgomery (@fuzzytypewriter) says:

    The Five Books of Blood mini? It just came out in trade last week.

  92. I don’t get enough sleep.

  93. This book had unbelievably high expectations for me with my favorite writer, my favorite artist, and a (mostly) new high profile gay character…and holy crap it delivered. Loved it, and cannot wait for more. Great review Josh, thanks!

  94. The art in this book is simply stunning.  I am so loving the bat-universe right now.    And next week, more Bat-goodness with Batman and Robin #2.  What a streak for the POW, if only Ron had bought Streets of Gotham . . . !

  95. I’ve discovered that my enjoyment of Green Lantern is inversely proportional to the number of ring shades.

  96. I owe you one, Josh! I probably would have missed this if it wasn’t your POW. I haven’t read it yet, but the art is gorgeous.

    iFanboy: Pointing out the good shit since 1973

  97. I love Rucka so, so much so of course I picked this up.  He’s quite a lovely writer.  But how lovely was JH Williams’s art?  So absolutely gorgeous.  And coloring?  I just about died.  I love a good work and this is definitely it.  

  98. I know I’m being nitpicky here but is that dick grayson batman?? Because this batman’s gauntlet has 3 spikes and dicks suit has 2. Is it just an art mistake?

  99. @smeeeeee Greg Rucka addressed that in a recent word ballon podcast.  He said that they made it deliebratly vague so that this story could stand on its own years from know when we’ve forgot all about the whole battle for the cowl story line.  Essentially he didn’t want anyone to say that she hasn’t met the "real" batman.

  100. well, well, well… you guys have been busy.

    so the comic huh?

    @Fingerz: I agree. I don’t think kate is sexy  and guess what? a female character in fiction doesn’t need to be…. even if she is a lesibain! Even though Kate was wearing skin tight black leather as batwoman her face looked like messed up. PaulieP’s comment about finding a determined, strong and heroic sexy doesn’t really work. Reason=Madelynn Albright.

    @Bedhead: I agree. The brake-up scene was cliched, arbitrary and dull. it doesn’t humanise the character, if anything it make her seem even more impossiblely unbelievable because dispite the fact she’s running around all night she than spends her days chasing tail. If you’re a superhero, if think you mightspend your days focusing on your career, not chatting chick on over a latte.

    A little comment on the art: the panel with the cut way shot aerial shot of her apartment with fading ceiling effect was really cool.

     

  101. Kate Kane is dead sexy.  The end.

    (Says the straight girl, okay.  But. . .gah, those boots!)

  102. The boots were better than they have been in the past.  That was all I thought about it.

  103. To be clear, I *like* the boots.  A lot.

  104. I realize that I’m incredibly late to this particular party, but I knew I was going to want to spend a great deal of time on this book and so waited until I had a chunk of time to read it in peace. Josh: Perfect review, no spoilers, all quality, thank you. I loved the comic, everything about it was perfection in my opinion. Not going to waste time faffing about which parts and why – it was all perfect. PERFECT!

  105. I can’t decide which of the new Batman books is best.  The only one I didn’t like that much was Winick’s Batman but I think it’ll get better once he puts Battle For The Cowl behind him and moves in the direction everybody else has been in already. 

    A lot of people say that they didn’t understand what wuz going on in this book because they didn’t know shit about Batwoman but I made it through without any problems.  If you can half understand Final Crisis, then you should fully understand this no problem at all.

    The Question didn’t do shit for me though.  Neither did Manhunter.

     

  106. I often don’t get a chance to read my weekly books till the weekend.  So, as usual I’ve missed all the interesting parts of this discussion, but I just want to say that the art in this book blew my effing mind.  All kinds of coolness.  The really amazing thing is that DC has me hook, line and sinker.  I’m now going to be buying all of the new Bat-Books.  They’re irresistible.  How did they do that??? 

     Anyway, right now, this is getting single issue pick of the year consideration. 

  107. This was definitely the best book I read this week.  I loved J.H. Williams art and the dynamism of the panels.  This reminded me of his work in Promethea, whose layouts were similar.  The colors by Dave Stewart and the lettering were top notch as well.  Did I mention that the story by that Rucka guy was pretty good too?  This was one of the best comics I read in a long, long time, and it’s a prime example as to why comics is such a great medium.  I’m so stoked for this whole thing.

  108. To Josh and Conor et al:

    You guys don’t get enough credit for all you do.  This site is amazing, your reviews are always great and well thought out, I don’t always read what you pick but I know you work your asses off and put up with a lot of crap from we the followers.  So let me be one to say "Thank You" for all the hard work and personal time you put into making this site and your podcasts so enjoyable. iFanboy is the best comic-centric podcast I’ve heard and the only one I listen to consistently.  I listen to others on occasion but none are quite as good.  So keep up the good work, and thank you thank you thank you!

  109. All right, I give. Between you guys and Rucka on Wordballon, I’m going to go buy this today.

     

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