DC Comics 2016
Written by James Tynion IV
Penciled by Alvaro Martinez
Inked by Raul Fernandez
Coloured by Brad Anderson
Lettered by Marilyn Patrizio
Batman has enlisted Batwoman to train a group to battle something big that’s coming after he found Azrael beaten within an inch of his life. Just as the training has begun Batman is attacked and taken down leaving us where we are now.
Right off the bat two things stand out and that’s James continuing characterization of Kate Kane and that Alvaro’s eye for storytelling is very good. As confident as Kate is as Batwoman she’s very insecure and is constantly looking for validation and we see that in the opening as she turn to her ex Renee Montoya. Also the opening page lets you know exactly what Alvaro is capable of and it’s something to look forward to.
As Red Robin and Batwoman watch the footage, only three hours old, of the assault on Batman we see Kate’s insecurities come into play again. Only this time it’s Tim who is there to tell her it’s her call and she’d best make it as she sees fit not as Batman would want it done. So the call to the team goes out and one extra. Why well upon analyzing the footage Kate wants a military expert opinion.
The writing of this is utterly fantastic and it’s nice to see James on Bat book where he really gets to sink his teeth into the characters like this. Also that he can take it and turn everything on it’s heels so utterly and completely in a matter of moments well yeah that’s just an added bonus. I do also like what i’m seeing between Batwoman and Red Robin, it isn’t a great leap to see that he’s her second but in reality he’s the only one used to being a team leader thanks to his time with the Teen Titans. So in that regard he’s able to think more quickly on his feet where the team is concerned and overshadows her.
I can’t believe that James has done a few things here and revealed who is behind this force who look like they are modeled after Batman and the surprise it brings the team. Not only that but it has the potential to really make the team that much stronger or tear them apart completely and with what we’ve seen in only a few issues i’m not sure which direction this is going in but with the main players i’d really like to see Flamebird make an appearance as it only seems right all things considered.
I have to say the interiors are amazingly well done. I love the flow of the story through the pages and panels, how those panels are utilized and the backgrounds so complete to really add that depth, feeling, tone and mood to the pages. The attention to detail throughout is delightful to see. I’m not sure if i’ve consciously seen Alvaro’s work before but there’s no mistaking i’ll be following from here on out.
I’m not a Batman fan per se, i’ve always like Grayson and Kate but with this lineup I wanted to give it a chance and i’ll be gobsmacked if this isn’t one of the best things i’m reading right now. In terms of story, pacing, characterization and interior artwork this book is among the brightest Rebirth has to offer.