This #0 issue is interesting in that while it does flash backward in time, it’s actually set in the present, with Batwoman/Kate Kane mentioning that she is about to battle a demigod– Medusa, which is the current storyline in the title. This tale is told via a letter Kate is composing to her estranged father Jacob. She reveals that she always wrote him goodbye letters before donning her mask, just in case she didn’t make it back and left them on her laptop, where he could easily find them.
She then flashes back to her childhood, growing up with her sister Beth and then seemingly losing Beth and her mother. She discusses what a good, strong father Jacob was. Basically the book covers a lot of what we’ve already seen about Kate’s life, but fleshes it out a bit more. What details we get that are new is what happens to her when she decides to become a super hero. Inspired by Batman, she launches a fledgling career as a crime fighter only for Jacob to find out and put a stop to it. He then forces her into a grueling training process, exposing her to absolute horrors and tearing her down, physically and mentally, to ensure she has what it takes. Her “final exam” is particularly shocking.
Award-winning artist J.H. Williams III once again employs his constantly alternating styles here, mimicking the art used in different story lines. The majority of the story, however, is rendered in a style that brings to mind David Mazzucchelli’s work on ‘Batman: Year One.’ I’m not 100% sure that that was the intention, but if so what a clever homage!
The rest of the story is interesting and having it told in first person gave us additional insight into Kate’s psyche. Having been a devoted follower of Batwoman since her solo adventures started, I was already familiar with most of the stories referenced here, but even so, Williams delivers a lot of them in really cool splash page montages. And for a new reader it’s a nice summary that will hopefully entice them to dig up the trades of Batwoman’s earlier adventures. (Definitely worth it!) I’d say that as a stand-alone read, it absolutely delivers, while supplementing the regular on-going series. Solid all the way around!
Written by J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman
Art and Cover by Williams