‘Batwoman’ #2 picks up after last issue’s conclusion with Kate and Bette discussing Batman’s offer for Kate to join Batman Inc., his international alliance of heroes, all funded and organized by Wayne Enterprises.  This conversation takes place while both women are beating up a gang of criminals, breaking several bones in the process.  A number of Bat operatives are depicted in the background including Renee Montoya (The Question) and Kate Spencer (Manhunter), which made me happy.  Both are excellent characters whose full potential has yet to be exploited.  In fact, no one knew if DC would stick with Montoya as The Question or if they’d give the role back to the more famous Question, Vic Sage.  Of course, Kate and Renee have a complicated history, to say the least.

Meanwhile, speaking of female characters with untapped potential, D.E.O. Agent Cameron Chase arrives in Gotham on the hunt for Batwoman.  She meets with Maggie Sawyer and informs her of her intentions.  Elsewhere, the Weeping Lady strikes again.  Kate and Maggie have their first date, which is slightly awkward, but these two definitely have chemistry!  Later, Maggie meets with Chase again, this time at a grisly crime scene.  Apparently, a gang war has broken out between a never-before-seen gang and the beast men of The Religion of Crime, from ’52’ and ‘Detective Comics.’  Batwoman briefly meets with Batman, then continues her investigation, which accidentally places her at odds with Maggie.  And finally, the Weeping Lady strikes once again!

The Weeping Lady plot actually gets pushed to the background in favor of some character development and the introduction of the new Religion of Crime storyline.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  There’s still some action, with the opening scene of Bette and Kate in combat.  There’s also a newly added element of humor!  There’s a slight awkwardness to Kate and Maggie’s date.  Even Batman gives Kate a warning that, maybe wasn’t intended to be funny, but was.  Kate is a fairly new character and even though she headlined ‘Detective Comics’ there’s still a lot of growth and development that can be added to further flesh her out and it looks like that’s what the creators here are doing.

The art remains the main draw, as J.H. Williams III maintains his “different art styles for different storylines” approach from issue #1, with the Weeping Lady scenes getting that lush, fluid painted look, the Kate and Maggie scenes getting more spare pencils, etc.  Not only does he maintain the clever and unique ideas he employed in the first issue, but he continues to innovate!  He uses an “X-Ray” effect in the opening fight scene to great effect.  There’s also an AMAZING double page spread of Maggie putting clues together that is simply stunning!  It really puts pressure on.  Can he keep adding new unique ideas every issue?  Even if he doesn’t his work will remain exceptional!

I think my review of ‘Batwoman’ #1 said it all.  This is THE BEST comic out there. It’s so smart and gorgeously illustrated… it’s ART! It truly is!

Verdict: Buy

Written by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman
Art and Cover by J.H. Williams III