Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka & J.H. Williams III

Batwoman: Elegy
by Greg Rucka & J.H. Williams III
DC Comics, 2010

I wouldn’t normally do this kind of thing, as the Pet Shop Boys once said, but this superhero comic has had an atypical amount of effort put into it, and is almost experimental in places. In the long and tortured history of Batman, the character of Batwoman was never as popular as Robin™, Batgirl™, or even the benighted Batmite™, but this latest version (a lesbian Jewish heiress named Kate Kane) actually has some depth of character, however ludicrous that character ultimately is.

The page design favours slivers and symmetry, ornate border decoration and little Art Nouveau touches, which makes the overwrought story a pleasure to wade through – the villain is a psychotic doll named Alice who quotes Lewis Carroll! And she looks just like Kate’s dead twin sister! …but this is balanced by flashbacks which present Kane as more than fanservice on legs, such as a sober sequence in which she is discharged from the army rather than lie about her sexual orientation. It’s all very silly, but the inventiveness and stylistic variety on display makes it a nice change from the usual.

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