Bat-ladies Zero Reviews

It has been roughly two months since my last review, but that’s only because I was pretty busy with a 6 week trip to the United States to visit family, go to Star Wars Celebration 6, and for Dragon Con! I was having a good time, so I’m not going to apologize to my 3-4 readers. (All of whom I probably saw over my trip and most likely gave you some verbal reviews of stuff I was reading. How can you complain when I literally brought you your reviews half-way around a planet in person?!)

This week I’m taking a look at a few of DC’s zero issues. Particularly, those focusing on female leads. Here are my reviews of the “Bat Ladies”

BATGIRL #0 (GAIL SIMONE: WRITER, ED BENES: ART)

I’ve enjoyed Gail Simone’s work on Batgirl so far, but I’ve always felt like there was just a little something missing. It has been a pretty solid book; a consistently GOOD book. There have been some moments of greatness, but, personally, I’ve thought it needed just a little more “umph” to tip the scale over to an amazingly awesome book.  Issue zero is that “umph.”

We are given a very narrative driven story as Barbara reflects back on her days as a criminology student. I really dug that this issue started off in the present day DC universe, but was handled as reflection / flashback instead. This is our main character reflecting back on an event that helped to define who she is today. I find this works much better than the writer just saying “5 years ago” and telling us a story. The fact that Babs is choosing this as the story to tell is a testament to its significance in her life.

This issue of Batgirl accomplishes what many other zero issues have been failing to do. It sets out to give us a solid insight into the development and drive of the titular hero, but what we get is more than that. We are given a fun, exciting book, with a lot of heart and emotion. These are things I often bring up in reviews, but I think it is important if we are going to become invested in a series. We want a return on our emotional investment, and witnessing change in our heroes is one of those returns.

9/10 Batgirl #0 is well written origin story for both new and established readers of the series. I’d say this is a must buy for anyone interested in any of the Bat Family books. It’s a great one and done book that doesn’t tie in to the current arc (with exception to subtle clues of things to come).

BATWOMAN #0 (W. HADEN BLACKMAN: CO-WRITER, J.H. WILLIAMS III: CO-WRITER & ARTIST)

Batwoman has been a pretty amazing book this past year. The 2nd arc was a little rough to read month to month, but it works well when read as a collection or in one sitting. Issue #0 continues the trend of amazing art and story. It is an issue that can fit in with the on-going series, but even on its own it stands as a very strong book.

I mentioned in my review of Batgirl that I am in favor of characters reflecting back on their past. While in Batgirl we have Barbara Gordon writing in a journal, Batwoman has Kate Kane recording a good-bye message to her father should something happen to her.

This isn’t too uncommon for soldiers to do before heading off on a mission. Kate being a military brat and West Point dropout it doesn’t seem unnatural for her do something similar. It is revealed in the opening panels, however, that this is the first time she recorded such a message in a long time. It used to be a habit of hers, but for whatever reason she had stopped.

It is this very reason that pulls us in and drives this book. The result is a very emotional story. I personally did not cry, but I wouldn’t be shocked if there were those out there that did.

After reading this issue, I went back and read Greg Rucka’s run on Detective Comics that featured Batwoman. Essentially, it is the same story that is being told in this zero issue. This is not a bad thing.

I am glad that Blackman and Williams didn’t go back and try to change Kate Kane’s origin story. Instead, I feel that they have fleshed it out with giving us more of a glimpse into the mind of Kate and all the emotions she felt as she experienced those events. While this issue is a break from the current on-going story, the message is being recorded before Batwoman’s next mission, so it fits in as a nice interlude between issues 12 and 13.

9.5/10 I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a good comic read. It has action, emotion, and fantastic art.

I would also recommend that if you like this issue, then go back and check out Detective #854-863. You’ll get some awesome Batwoman stories as well as great backup stories featuring The Question.