Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Artist: Fernando Blanco & Marc Laming
Colours: John Rauch
Letters: Oeron Bennett
Release Date: 20th December 2017
It’s hard to review this issue in a vacuum from the rest of the arc, as it relies so much on Kate Kane’s history and the set up for the in-progress battle in Scarecrow’s laboratory for it’s effectiveness. However, I can say that it provides a satisfactory conclusion to the encounter with Scarecrow while also kicking the story off in a new direction.
The crux of this issue (and the arc is a whole) is Batwoman’s conflict with her own history, family and persona as played through the ongoing conflict with the Many Hands of Death. Bennett’s writing to this end is layered, complex and at times hard to follow but this accentuates rather than detracts from the main theme, which is a hard trick to pull.
The artwork is compelling, especially the frames where Batwoman is fighting Scarecrow inside the toxin-addled hellscape of her own mind, with artists and colourists taking full advantage of the unrealistic setting to produce some dynamic and memorable frames.
The panels where Batwoman confronts an idealised version of her paramour Safiya are simply stunning and even by the end of the comic where the real world has reasserted itself and we’re resetting for the next stage of the story, the vibrant red of Batwoman’s outfit contrasts with the cool steel of the Colony unifiorms and ultimately the desert sky to excellent effect.
All told, Bennett’s writing is of its usual high caliber and while this isn’t an issue I’d recommend to a new reader, it’s definitely an important episode in the unfolding story.
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