Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Batwoman #0

Batwoman's Narration Boxes in this story about who she is are directed at her father. It seems she used to leave a message for her father every time she would go out on patrol or on a mission just in case she was killed. He'd have a final goodbye from her a message telling him how much she loved him. But she hasn't done it for a long while now.

This happened in the Preboot. Beth was her sister.

But now that Batwoman is about to face off against the real life gorgon, Medusa, she feels it might be time to start leaving messages for daddy again. There's a few pages of really emotional crap about what Beth meant to her and what she went through when Beth and her mom died and how her father was always completely there for her no matter what. And then how she began emulating her dad because she knew she needed to be in control like he was and so she got good grades and was super awesome at gymnastics and then was accepted into West Point. It's a lot of words that people can read and might like. You know, if you're into that well-written stuff that pulls at your heart and makes you feel for the character and really pulls you into her story. Or you can just skip to the good stuff!

Oh, don't make that face! I know why you read this comic book!

At one point in her message, she says she couldn't make it with Rene. Is this the first time Rene Montoya has been mentioned in The New 52? I'm not sure if Kate Kane mentioned her relationship with Montoya before this but if not, here's proof it took place. She also reveals that her father will never hear this message. So either she knows that she's not going to get killed (highly doubt that!) or this confession is just catharsis for her. And then Batman.

I had a fiddle with the image a bit so the red writing would be more legible against the background.

Kate became a vigilante, trading booze for adrenaline. And eventually her father found out. Not that she was trying very hard to keep it secret from him. But he sent her with his crew (I don't know "his crew" is. He calls them his murder of crows. One even looks like Matches Malone, maybe!) to train all across the world. She was beaten down and punished, physically, emotionally, and psychologically. And at the end of it all, she still chose to fight. She still wanted to be Batwoman. So her father sends her on one more mission: to save a family held hostage in Prypiat, the city ruined by Chernobyl. But she arrives too late and finds them with their throats cut and a man in a devil mask wielding a knife.

Of course it was all a set-up by her father.

The man in the mask turns out to be her father. The bodies fake. The knife a prop. It was simply a test to see if she'd step over the line and go too far. But she doesn't. She drops the knife instead of trying to kill the man she believed just killed this family. And then her father believes she truly is ready to become Batwoman.

But Kate Kane says she didn't come back from her training as Batwoman. She simply found out who Kate Kane was. The moment she became Batwoman was that moment the she found out her sister was alive and the her father had been hiding it from her all these years. And then her sister chose death. And Kate knew she truly was all alone. And that's when she became Batwoman.

Batwoman #0 Rating: Having just read Red Hood and the Outlaws, I can't help but compare these two stories. There are many similarities between the way they were told. But this story was well told. That probably doesn't come across in my commentary because I was being whimsical and unfeeling while in truth I was weeping and rending my garments. But the tone is spot on. Whereas Jason Todd's tone while telling what was very much a tragic time in his life is informal and chatty as if he's talking with a friend about the club scene from he night before. Sure, that's how Todd is. He's flippant and acts like he doesn't care. But telling the story like that makes it sound flippant and then I don't fucking care. But Batwoman's story is full of pathos and revelation and the kind of truths that are hard to tell even your own self. And it's directed at a target audience so what she says means more since you know it's all for her father, even if he'll never get it. While Jason Todd's Narration Boxes are just directed to nobody or, worse yet, the reader.

Or maybe I'm just biased against Scott Lobdell. Except when he writes a good page, I'm right there pointing it out! So seriously, it isn't that. I have nothing against any writers in The New 52 when they write well. So why don't they all just write well?! Get on with it already!

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