Batwoman battles her demons this issue, when an encounter with the supernatural La Llarona, the Weeping Woman that has been kidnapping and killing children in Gotham City almost turns lethal for the vigilante. Images of Batwoman’s seemingly dead sister Elizabeth/Alice appear, until Batwoman breaks free only to be swooped upon by Agent Cameron Chase and her D.E.O. Agents.
Meanwhile, Kate’s current love interest, Maggie Sawyer, waits patiently for her date to materialize, which of course she doesn’t. Overcome with emotion after her near-fatal encounter with the Weeping Woman, Kate shambles home and tells her cousin Bette, formerly the Teen Titan Flamebird that she will no longer help train her as a crime fighter. Even Kate realizes she could have handled the situation more subtly after Bette angrily storms out. Chase then questions Kate’s father, but he refuses to answer her. Maggie confronts Kate as to why she stood her up, but Kate is a mess and begins sobbing. The Weeping Woman continues her spree and Bette sets out to prove herself, with or without her cousin’s help.
Of course, I love the ‘Batwoman’ comic, so I enjoyed this issue with its numerous new developments. That said, I do have a few reservations. The Weeping Woman storyline is unfolding quite slowly, having taken a backseat in issue #2 and just serving as the opening of this chapter, before being reduced to a subplot. There is a lot going on in this book, to the degree I suppose, that I am kind of craving some more linear storytelling. I’m hoping the La Llarona storyline wraps up in either next issue or the one after. Part of that is simply that past the first issue, not much has been done with it.
We get more discussion of Elizabeth and the psychological toll her very existence had upon Kate, which led to her distancing herself from her father, who knew that she’d survived only to endure a life so violent and tortured that she fractured and became the villain Alice. We also see the continued evolution of Kate’s relationship with Maggie, Cameron Chase’s tenacity, Jacob Kane’s steely determination and Bette’s resourcefulness as she chooses to carry on without Kate’s training. All in all, excellent character development and the story advances. I just hope to see the lead story returned to to the focus, so we can get that wrapped up and it doesn’t get strung out too long. Considering that the writers, J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman are already setting up the next storyline, we need some resolution to the La Llorona story sooner than later.
There’s not much to say about the art other than it truly is just that, ART! The beautifully aquatic La Llorona opening is just fluid and gorgeous. Cameron Chase’s sequences are rendered as spare and stark. The absolute kicker though is Bette’s sequences which are rendered as crisp and bright, like a typical comic. But when Kate returns, still soaking wet from her battle with La Llorona and being chased by the D.E.O. Agents, she is still rendered in the lusher, painted look from the earlier chapters. The two characters standing face-to-face, rendered in two different artistic styles is pure genius! I am dumbfounded that the brilliant J.H. Williams III continues to bring in some amazing new artistic storytelling device with every issue!
I can’t wait for next issue! I have a sneaking suspicion that things won’t go smoothly for Bette, but I hope things work out in the end!
Written by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman
Art and Cover by Williams