Well, with a new creative team coming on board, I guess it’s a good idea to kick off a new storyline, even though there are dangling threads from the previous run unresolved.
The book switches gears big time, jumping into the Zero Year event, which rewinds things back to years before most of the New 52 kicked off. In this story, Kate, still a student at West Point, learns her Uncle Phil has been murdered and returns home to Gotham.
What’s really occurring is an attempt to solidify Kate as a member of the Batman family. If was ever stated before I don’t remember it, but here it is firmly established that both she and Bette are Bruce Wayne’s cousins and she has ties to that whole world and even knows Alfred well.
In an interesting move, Maggie Sawyer, still in Metropolis is given a subplot, as Gotham is about to get pummeled by a tropical storm, so a contingent of Metropolis police are moving in to help out with relief efforts. Maggie’s subplot serves to further establish how dedicated she is to her police work and helping others, as she argues with other cops who think they should just let Gotham deal with the damage, hoping that some of the criminal scum get washed away.
Against her father’s insistence, Kate just has to go out into the storm and try to help out where she can. Years away from a Batwoman suit, she dons jeans, a hoodie and a leather jacket and “borrows” one of Bruce’s many motorcycles.
She runs afoul of some bumbling would-be jewel thieves and has her first crime fighting experience. She also briefly interacts with Maggie, who arrives at the scene of the crime.
Marc Andreyko steps on board as this series new writer with art by Trevor McCarthy, Andrea Mutti, Pat Olliffe and Jim Fern. Basically, this issue marks a huge shift in the style of the book. Andreyko does a fantastic job defining the two main characters, Kate and Maggie as firming up Kate’s connection to Bruce Wayne. But the book was just so stylized and unique before that this feels like the book abruptly went from sort of a quirky, supernaturally-twinged book to one that is grounded and realistic. It’s not bad, just a huge shift in tone and storytelling.
With four artists, what we actually wind up with was something I loved about J.H. Williams III’s art, in that he gave each character their own art style, so every subplot looked different from the others. It’s a lot more subtle here, though, because while each artist has their own style, they actually flow rather seamlessly. No one’s art was dramatically different from anyone else’s. The only time it got a bit sloppy for me was during the jewelry heist scene as it got a little to hectic and hard to follow.
The writing was really good, though and the art was solid… actually really good at times. And I’m loyal to characters, so I will probably continue to follow this book. It’s not as unique as Williams’ run with W. Haden Blackman, but it’s still a better than average book.
Written by Marc Andreyko
Art by Trevor McCarthy, Andrea Mutti, Pat Olliffe and Jim Fern
Cover by Stephane Roux