In Which I Buy a Serious Comic: "Batwoman: Elegy"


I rarely buy or have bought comics or graphic novels. Of nerdly interests and attirbutes I have many, but comics, as yet, have not been part of that set (along with audiophilia, home electronics philia, and Dr. Who). Aside from a few titanic titles (“WATCHMEN,” “HELLBOY,” and the “SANDMAN”) it’s not been something I’ve gotten the bug for.

Over at The Signal Watch, Ryan recently posted arecommendation for Rucka and Williams’ collection of Batwoman’s adventures in DETECTIVE COMICS #854-860 called “Elegy.” His post had the following image whose richness and expressiveness had me over at Amazon lickety-split.


Thanks to Amazon Prime the book arrived today and, having read the first installment, I can say that the rave reviews were merited.

Most of my favorite comics have been plot driven. While the art of the Sandman series was always excellent, Neil Gaiman’s writing and rich structuring of inter-episode narrative is an exquisite puzzle-box of continuity and overlaps. As I said, the art grabbed my attention on this one and has remained mysterious and also very sharp and hard.

Williams’ art showing Batwoman is luscious with exacting, conscious detail paid to the light play on her glossy lips as well as the gauzy dream swirl of her red hair. Her face recalls an Italian Carnival masque and is sharp like the portraits of comic ur-artist Alex Ross. Yet Willliams wraps her and many backgrounds with a soft, impressionistic feel that reminds me of another favorite artist, Alphonse Mucha. Williams also shows a great deftness with color. Due to her costume Batwoman’s palette is decidedly red, but Williams’ aptitude for playing with the various hues of red keeps you from being visually overwhelmed with the color.

What I have been able to get at of the character and the plot I also like what we have. She’s recovering from a near-fatal attack, her emotional relationships are collapsed, and she’s recovering from the fact that her lesbianism cost her something important in the past. And let me add, she’s kicking much ass against the minions of an insane, vinderwhore sociopath called “Alice.” Much past that I can’t say. The mysteries of Batwoman’s visage and past is united with the mystery of the conflict between her and Alice.