Batwoman needs to get to the bottom of the mystery of La Llorona, the Weeping Woman, a specter who has been kidnapping and in some cases drowning children in Gotham City since the first issue of this series. Previously, Batwoman deduced that she was the ghost of a woman named Maria, who, when alive, was something of a floozie, busy boozing it up and flirting with scummy dudes while her children drowned under no supervision. Guilt-ridden, Maria then drowned herself in the exact same spot only to be reborn as this tormented spirit. It is the same spot in which Maria tried to drown Kate in issue #3… and nearly succeeded! Kate meditates and comes to the conclusion that she must return to that location, a dilapidated boat house. Once there, she summons forth Maria’s ghost by reasoning with the spirit and telling her she understands why she is doing what she is doing, but trying to rationalize with her so that she can locate the kidnapped children. La Llorona assaults Kate, forcing her to come face-to-face with her own demon, her sister Beth who was tortured and brutalized to the point of becoming the psychotic villain Alice. (The scene is beautifully inter-cut with scenes of Maria’s tragic past.)
Batwoman overcomes La Llorona, though, because Beth’s fate had nothing to do with Kate’s actions. She makes peace with the past and declares, “You have no power over me.” She also points out that the burden of the deaths of Maria’s children lies solely on her own shoulders. Kate had figured out how to defeat the ghost and sets her plan into motion. In a shocking twist however, La Llorona reveals that she may not be a 100% supernatural being. There may have been an outside force behind both her creation and actions, which opens a whole new can of worms for our hero!
Once home, Kate investigates the only clue La Llorona was able to provide to her before vanishing. It is then, however, that she is visited by Agent Cameron Chase and Director Bones of the D.E.O. The pair have been after her since the third issue and after Chase’s actions last issue, they were able to discern that Kate and Batwoman were one and the same. Chase presents Kate with Flamebird’s bloody uniform and Bones informs her that her cousin Bette is in stable condition at Gotham General. Bones then tells Kate that the reason he sought her out to begin with was to employ her to dismantle a burgeoning criminal organization called Medusa, which in fact, ties into the La Llorona mystery. Bones even threatens her father, to force Kate into cooperating.
Later, Batman warns her about the D.E.O., stating that at some point, Bones would force her to take sides against him. Kate tries to reassure him. She visits Bette in the hospital, then prepares herself to locate the still-missing children.
I’m glad to see at least partial resolution to the La Llorona mystery. In a way, the writers have chosen to fully utilize comics’ serialized nature, but slightly wrapping up the storyline, but leaving it open-ended to carry the book forward. I liked how Batwoman was able to figure out her course of action (meditation). I liked that Bette was still alive! A lot of storylines came to a head this issue and meshed nicely, while still presenting more mysteries to be solved.
The art, as always, is stellar. At first, J.H. Williams III was simply rendering each scene in its own art style. Then, he started bleeding the art styles into one another to dramatic effect. Now, he’s actually drawing different panels on the same page in different styles to suit the scenes! It’s simply incredible! He was doing brilliantly to begin with, but he’s actually improving! I can’t even speculate as to where his art will go from here! He’s thinking on a level that dwarfs my thought process, but I’m along for the ride, rest assured, and savoring every panel!
Best book out there! Month in, month out!
Written by J.H. Williams III & W. Haden Blackman
Art and Cover by Williams