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Saturday, November 25, 2017

Comic Review: Batwoman (2017-) Vol. 1: The Many Arms of Death

Cover by: Steve Epting
Written by: James T Tynion IV, Marguerite Bennett
Series: BATWOMAN 2017
Book Type: Collected Edition Graphic Novel
Publisher: DC

Fresh from her adventures in DETECTIVE COMICS, Katherine Kane returns with her own DC Rebirth title—and an intriguing new mystery to solve—in BATWOMAN VOL. 1: THE MANY ARMS OF DEATH.

Someone is selling cutting-edge weaponry on the black market, and their aim is to kill as many people—from as many nations—as possible. With help from her intrepid assistant, Julia Pennyworth, and their high-tech mobile command center, the yacht Sequoia, Batwoman quickly tracks the weapons to their source: a small, lawless island known as Coryana, home to pirates, outlaws…and a year of Batwoman’s life.

 Back before she joined the Bat-Family, Kate Kane spent some time with Coryana’s unofficial matriarch—and nearly lost herself in the process. Now her past is quickly catching up to her, and if Batwoman can’t figure out who to trust, the next thing she loses will be her life!

 Acclaimed writers Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV and artists Steve Epting (Captain America: The Winter Soldier), Stephanie Hans and Renato Arlem launch Batwoman into an explosive new era in BATWOMAN VOL. 1: THE MANY ARMS OF DEATH, collecting the BATWOMAN: REBIRTH one-shot special and issues #1-6.

I’m ashamed to admit, I’m not familiar with Batwoman. I know nothing about her so I went in blind to Batwoman Vol. 1: The Many Arms of Death.

And had my mind blown.
REBIRTH one-shot special and issues #1-6

Kate Kane’s story is one of tragedy, heartbreak, and survival that writers Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV strongly convey in each page of dialogue. From Kate’s tragic loss of her twin and mother as a child to her time in the military to the day she meets the Caped Crusader himself, Kate’s journey is chronicled in a few short sentences. I would have liked more about Kate’s past because it was just a fascinating story that took place over the course of a few years and in more than one place. The little bit that was told was what hooked me and had me finishing this volume in about an hour.

Just as important to a good story are the illustrations. Artists Steve Epting, Stephanie Hans, and Renato Arlem beautifully bring to life Kate’s world and don’t shy away from depicting the harsher aspects of her life. The details in each image really draw the eye to the rough action scenes as well as the raw emotions on Kate’s face. I loved all three artists’ contributions.
All in all Batwoman Vol. 1, The Many Arms of Death was a good introduction to a character I knew nothing about. I would have loved a more in-depth look into her past but I still managed to connect to this character through her will to survive and make amends. She’s a tortured character, more so than the more well known Batman, but she has a realistic complexity that makes her more interesting and in my opinion, that complex nature of hers should be explored a lot better in future volumes.

Sheep Rating: 3 ½ “Need More Background” Sheep

Adria Reyes

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