There are a lot of storylines going on in this issue, including several time jumps. Batwoman has caught up to Rush, the hook-handed villain that gutted her cousin Bette, also known as Flamebird. She brutally rips the hook from his arm, to discover that both Rush and the hook are sentient and symbiotic. Rush pleads for her to give him back his hook. The hook begs for the return of its body. Batwoman then finds herself surrounded by Falchion, the head of the crime organization Medusa along with his grotesque operatives, including a massively mutated Killer Croc.
The story then flashes back three weeks, to a scene of Jacob in Bette’s recovery room. She is still in a coma. Jacob talks to try and help her recover, thinking about his daughters, Kate and Beth and how different they were growing up. Kate, it seems, took after him, whereas Beth took after his wife, Gabi. (Kate became Batwoman. Beth became the twisted villain Alice.)
In a flashback to two weeks ago, Kate and Maggie are enjoying a date at an upscale sushi restaurant, when out the window, Kate spies the villain Abbott from the now-powerless Religion of Crime. Kate runs out to confront him and he tells her about Medusa going after what’s left of his organization. “Why not go after Two-Face or The Penguin? Someone who’s actually competition?” Kate demands. Abbott replies that the Religion has been targeted because both factions employ magic. Abbott says he will help Kate battle them, but she tells him and his people to stay away.
Two months ago, the mystical Maro, the sorceress responsible for the creation of La Llorona, has teamed up with Killer Croc (decidedly less mutated here than in the opening scene). They have invaded a slumber party and bound and gagged three teenage girls in order to summon Bloody Mary in a mirror, as in the old superstition. Maro binds Mary to Medusa in exchange for the three girls.
One week prior, Maggie, Bullock and their men crash a Medusa lair and confront the now-mutated Killer Croc (he is larger and appears to have six eyes!). Maggie herself captures Sune, Maro’s sister and the second-in-command of Medusa.
Subsequently, Cameron Chase gives Batwoman a high-tech arsenal to basically test out for the government. Kate is resistant, though. Chase then instructs Batwoman to capture Sune, which would bring her into conflict with Maggie. (This part I didn’t get. Why does Batwoman have to take her from the police? Can’t they just ask for her?)
The issue wraps up in a continuation of the opening scene. Batwoman snaps, “Falchion! Let’s get on with it!”
Sadly, that’s exactly what I was thinking by this point. I must be getting impatient in my old age, but this issue kind of dragged. I usually rave about this book, but this single issue felt too dull. Maybe it was the fact that it opened and closed with the same scene and not much occurred in that time, other than Kate getting her revenge on Rush.
As for the rest of it, Jacob’s scene is only two pages, but nothing really happened within those pages. Kate’s confrontation with Abbott served the greater story, but once again, it felt a bit slow. Of all the subplots, Maro’s was the most interesting as we add another supernatural horror to the book.
Amy Reeder’s art looks great, though! Sadly, she’s being moved off the book, but for now at least, she’s delivering solid work.
I’m never going to “Burn” an issue of ‘Batwoman, but this issue was probably the weakest so far, so…
Written by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman
Art and Cover by Amy Reeder