Wednesday, August 21, 2013

SPOILERS: Batwoman #23

To Maggie Sawyer's surprise, she finds Kate sitting alone in their apartment, the they've yet to fully move into yet. Maggie tells Kate that their operation begins in less than 24 hours, and she should be training, but something is still bothering Kate. Still riddled with guilt for drugging Maggie, way back in the series, Kate offers up a solution/apology, by dosing herself with the same fear toxin, to show Maggie how sorry she is... something Maggie isn't necessarily okay with, but Kate does it before anything can be said.

Elsewhere, while Kate is tripping her balls off, her father and Bette have their own plan, as they don't trust the DEO. In the middle of the night, Bette and Jake's old black ops group, abduct DEO agent Asaf, and begin to interrogate him, demanding to know where Alice's location is. Asaf doesn't respond to the physical interrogation, but Bette manages to get to him. Having read his profile, Bette figures that he's a very ambitious guy, with multiple PHDs, but an IQ that while elevated, is no where near genius level, which means he worked for all his accomplishments, and is driven. She suggests that Mr. Bones probably doesn't have many friends in Washington, and if it was leaked that he had resurrected a terrorist and let her go, he'd be out, Chase would be out, and there would be a vacuum at the top of the DEO. Knowing exactly where she's going, Asaf then agrees to give up Alice's location to Bette.

Meanwhile, Chase continues to prep her operation to trap Batman, and unleashes some of his rogues into Gotham, under the control of Bane. Chase tells Bane, Poison Ivy, Riddler, Mad Hatter and the Tweeds to put on a show, but no civilian casualties.

Twelve hours later after Kate's drug trip wears off, she wakes up, realizing that Maggie stayed with her the whole time. Kate breaks into tears when she finally understands what she did with Maggie, but Maggie asks Kate three simple questions, if she'll ever cheat, kill someone outside of self defense, or hurt her daughter. Kate answers no to all three questions, which leads Maggie to tell her she can forgive anything else, then asks Kate if she still wants to marry her. Kate obviously still does, so Maggie tells her to ask the question again, and they kiss.

With the hour of their operation at hand, Mr. Bones watches explosions being set within Gotham, while Kate finally suits up in her Batwoman gear, and is ready to try and take down Batman.


The Good:

I feel happy to say that this issue didn't fall in the structure problems I've had with previous issues. Everything felt appropriately paced out, and the cutaways helped break up the core scenes into smaller chunks, rather than big scene dumps that felt pasted together. So far so good!

In terms of the actual story, Kate and Maggie's relationship took center stage this issue, and despite other relationships specifically within the Bat books, this relationship actually works, because it feels fleshed out and natural. The relationships we've been getting in books like Batman: The Dark Knight and Birds of Prey, just insert random character A, B, or C into the "Protagonist's love interest" role, and we're expected to care, meanwhile, Kate and Maggie have been built up from the foundation since issue #1, and it pays off. This issue illustrates who they are to each other, why they care, and where they could go as a couple. Like I said, it feels natural, it doesn't feel forced, or ham-fisted in anyway... other books need to either take note, or just stop.

Then there was the art, I've always liked Trevor McCarthy as an alternate to Williams on this book, but man, this was one of those issues that made me not mind Williams' absence at all. Those four pages depicting Kate's drug trip? Fantastic. No other way to describe them.

The Bad:

Bane's presence. I'm sorry, I can't get over it. He has a pretty big story going on in Talon right now, where he's literally about to wage war on Gotham... and yet, this book would like me to believe that he returns to Gotham after being caught by the DEO in Alaska. I don't even blame Williams or Blackman for this... they were obviously told they could use Bane, so they're good to go, but both this title and Talon have the same editor. Someone couldn't have said "Use someone other than Bane," I mean, really? Who knows, maybe during Bane's trip from Santa Prisca to Gotham, he takes a really wrong turn and ends up in Alaska, and this will all make sense... but I doubt it.

The Bottom Line:

While I've enjoyed this arc so far, I have had my problems with how it had been structured, luckily, this issue didn't fall victim to any of that. While light on the action, Batwoman #23 delivers heavily on one of the DCU's richer relationships, with Kate and Maggie. This issue further solidifies why they're together and what they mean to each other, and if you're a fan of either character, you without a doubt, will enjoy greatly. The only thing that took away from an overall pretty good issue, was the use of a single character, who really shouldn't be in Gotham at the moment, due to major events in another book, but other than that, there's a lot to enjoy in this issue.


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