(Note: This article contains spoilers for Batwoman #1.)
Last month, Kate Kane made her highly-anticipated return to #DCComics headliner status with Batwoman: Rebirth #1. That issue functioned as a recap of her origin, expanding on her past and providing a framework for her future adventures as a part of #DCRebirth and beyond. It honored her past for longtime fans while managing to also be an excellent jummping on point for new and old readers alike.
Today's issue, Batwoman #1, dives right into a fresh story that is evocative and loaded with action. The title's creative team — Marguerite Bennett, James Tynion IV and artist Steve Epting — have demonstrated their flawless grasp of this character once again and are taking her to new heights.
"If You Want To Cause A Person Pain..."
The issue opens with a trip through Kate's thoughts on pain: inflicting it on others, the world and choosing the right target. This is an allusion to a trip down memory lane that she will experience in the second half of this story. Concurrently, we witness her defeat a carrier of the deadly Monster Venom with the assistance of right-hand woman, Julia Pennyworth, who also successfully provided some enjoyable banter.
While trying to gather information, she has a brief encounter with Knife — the series' initial antagonist who happens to come from Kate's enigmatic past.
This marks the beginning of Kate's mission to track down the seller of this toxin and eliminate it from the world once and for all. But in doing so, she must travel to a nation that evokes despair and deep regret inside her.
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Coryana — The Lost Year
After Kate was expelled from the military, there was a tragic chapter of her life that occurred before she claimed the Batwoman mantle. We're finally going to explore that time, and eventually, learn how it influenced Kate to take control of her life and the world around her.
Coryana is a small, Mediterranean island that is paradise for black markets, smugglers and assassins. We fleetingly go back to Kate's dark year in this place to meet new characters, Safiyah and Rafael, who took her in after almost drowning. Here, Epting's art becomes melancholic in both tone and color to make the readers feel Kate's emotional flashback alongside her.
Not much was revealed about Coryana's natives in this issue, but Rebirth #1 indicated that Safiya was part of Kate's romantic past. The flashback concludes, and she informs us that more damage will be caused by her return. She arrives to the isle as Batwoman, hoping it would bring her safety, but Rafael recognizes her under the mask.
Instead of receiving answers to our questions immediately, we're left to ponder: What is the importance of these characters, and why do they cut so deep into Kate's life?
Things Are Just Getting Started
Part one of "The Many Arms of Death" is off to an incredible and intriguing start. The story is moving at a gradual pace and that's what makes it even more special. Instead of jumping right into a central conflict, the writers are taking their time to guide us through Kate's mysterious mind and emotions, giving us the chance to become emotionally invested in this new story.
The scenes didn't simply take us to a new locale, they made us care about it and Epting's gorgeous visuals bring them to life in rich detail. Epting's art also imbues Batwoman with a bold elegance in every panel that isn't easy for every an artist to capture, but is essential to her character.
I'm thrilled to read about the outcome of Batwoman's globetrotting mission next month, and learn more about her with every turn of the page.
Batwoman #1 is out now. What are your thoughts on today's issue? Let us know in the comments below!
Learn more about the history of LGBT characters in the DC Universe in the video below.