Marguerite Bennett, James Tynion IV
Artist: Steve Epting
Colorist: Jeromy Cox
Letterer: Deron Bennet
Cover: Steve Epting
Publisher: DC Comics
A review by Nico Sprezzatura.
Since her reintroduction in 2006, Batwoman has never really gotten her fair due as a character. Despite being a fan favorite with a dedicated following, her publication history has been unusually marred by frequent delays and editorial interference, culminating in the cancellation of her New 52 ongoing series in 2015. Since then, the only places you could find Kate Kane with any regularity were the pages of Bombshells and Detective Comics.
Naturally, the announcement of a new ongoing series written by the former’s Marguerite Bennett –a self-professed Batwoman superfan herself– a few months ago was met with widespread excitement. Spinning out of James Tynion IV’s Detective Comics with Steve Epting onboard as artist, it seems like Kate’s finally getting the big push she deserves with a new ongoing series, starting here in Batwoman: Rebirth.
Like most of the Rebirth one-shot prologues DC has released over the past year, Batwoman: Rebirth serves, primarily, to catch readers up on and establish a new status quo for the character or team they’re focusing on. If you’re not familiar with the Batwoman character, you’ll get all of the necessary info here: after losing her mother and sister in an act of terrorism as a child, Kate Kane grew up to become an army veteran-turned-vigilante.
Though effectively a spin-off of Detective Comics, Batwoman: Rebirth doesn’t require any knowledge of that series. Once you’re up to speed on who Batwoman is and why she does what she does, you can follow the rest of the story told here – in that sense, this issue does the job required of it. I’ve read lesser Rebirth one-shots that failed to represent their respective series appropriately; Batwoman: Rebirth doesn’t fall victim to that assessment.
I’ve experienced lots of Bennett’s work up to this point (the aforementioned Bombshells is a consistent delight), and her enthusiasm for the character shines through here. As queer woman herself, Bennett is able to emphasize Kate’s own lesbian identity without it coming off as inauthentic or pandering. Batwoman is one of DC’s premier queer superheroes, and it’s fitting for the person writing her to share that background (see also: Steve Orlando’s Midnighter).
It should be noted that Tynion IV will be co-writing this title’s inaugural arc. While I can’t quite identify his contributions to the script here, his spot-on characterization of Kate in Detective Comics leads me to believe he’s a good fit to join Bennett.
One commonality you’ll find in any Batwoman story is luscious art with elaborate layout work, and Epting’s contributions here continue the trend. If his work on Batwoman: Rebirth is any indication, Batwoman will perhaps be the most beautiful DC book hitting shelves this year. I’m excited to see how the art will develop as the series moves forward; if we’re lucky, it’ll continue to hit the standard established here.
If you’re a Batwoman completest, or looking for a proper introduction to the character, I’d say buy it. Depending on your point of entry, Batwoman: Rebirth will either remind you why you love Kate Kane, or convince you to embark on a love affair with her. Otherwise, you could probably afford skip it. Batwoman doesn’t launch properly until next month, so if you can wait that long to get your Batwoman fix, you probably won’t miss much here.