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REVIEW: Batwoman #7

Written by J.H. WILLIAMS III & W. HADEN BLACKMAN
Art by AMY REEDER & ROB HUNTER
Colors by GUY MAJOR
Letters by TODD KLEIN

 It’s one of DC’s most beautiful and daring superhero books and month after month Batwoman remains the pick of their comic book crop. This month is no different with the A-list creative team of J.H. Williams III, W. Haden Blackman and Amy Reeder knocking out another fantastic issue.

Yet sadly, Batwoman #7 was also released with the news that after issue #8, Reeder will no longer be working on the series. It’s a real shame because the talent assembled for this book was damn impressive. Williams defined Batwoman aesthetically and we’re lucky he’s there to oversee the art, but Reeder’s art with its manga-influenced style was a good match and it’s our loss we won’t be seeing her continue. Good news is we do have this issue and one more to look forward to, plus Reeder said she would release some of the pages she began working on for #9 when that book releases.

But how about the art for Batwoman #7? It continues to be of the high caliber you’ve come to expect. Reeder’s look for Batwoman is crisper, more defined and with that I think packs a bit more punch on the page. Reeder’s style is benefited by the change in colorist from Dave Stewart to Guy Majors. Stewart was good for Williams and their pages had a haunting, etheral quality to them, but Major’s and Reeder’s pages pop. It’s refreshing to see Batwoman portrayed in different but still great artwork. And Reeder shows a stylistic understanding of not only Batwoman but Kate Kane as well.

Something else that has stayed consistently good throughout the Batwoman series are the spectacular designs of the page layouts. In this issue same as the last they scream Williams not Reeder, and maybe that’s where some of the tension arose. No matter who’s responsible for them they’re wonderful and are a good compliment to the flow of the storytelling. Batwoman is a book so smartly designed it could easily be enjoyed without any wording at all.

This isn’t to say that because Batwoman is one of the most beautiful books on the shelves the writing is complete crap. Williams and Blackman have strongly defined Kate Kane throughout her series. We know this character well and so do her writers. Kate is disciplined, determined, at times defiant and has a wonderfully dry sense of humor. She is also as much a soldier as she is a super hero and we’re reminded of that in this issue. Her fallout with her father stems from what really happened to her twin sister, but Kate has still agreed to work for the Department of Extranormal Operations in order to keep her dad out of prison. This has her taking orders from her liaison officer, Cameron Chase, and while it appears Batwoman only begrudgingly follows I think it has more to do with her being where she’s comfortable. She’s a soldier trained to follow orders, but capable of leading when her mission requires it. She says she’s only using the D.E.O.’s technology to help with her case but I think she’s seeking direction, and the D.E.O.is offering that. Of course, that may soon change. The D.E.O.’s most recent request is about to put Batwoman at odds with Kate’s girlfriend and I imagine we’re about to see her become more independent and break away from the need to follow orders.

We’re also given the setup for a show down between Batwoman and the mysterious Medusa organization that has been behind the strange and supernatural crimes we’ve seen thus far. This issue is mostly about setup for upcoming conflicts and that isn’t unusual for a comic coming in the middle of an arc. In Batwoman #7 we begin at the end and are then shown the story through flashbacks leading us back to the moment we came in. It manages to make you all the more anxious once you come back to the end because all you’re craving is resolution, but you’ll have to wait a few more issues.

If this title was able to keep the high quality content we’d come to expect from Batwoman through the behind-the-scenes drama, I have faith the book will continue being excellent through this creative shakeup. It’s good to see a character through different artists and it’s good to have a character continue to develop under someone who’s been there from the start. With Batwoman, we’re getting the best of both worlds.

WRITING: 5/5
ART: 5/5
OVERALL: 5/5

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