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Batwoman Interrupted

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Batwoman debuted to a lot of hoopla and great mainstream press. Then she disappeared. Did DC get cold feet? Were they waiting for the right time? And are they now too late?

Not every DC character makes their debut in the pages of a major metropolitan newspaper before they do in the comics. But that is what happened with Batwoman. Her arrival was announced in the New York Times before her first appearance in 52 #11.

Not only that, but other news markets picked up on the story. Newspapers such as USA Today, networks such as CNN, ABC, and CBS and magazines such as Out picked up on the story.

The mainstream media did not become enamored with the story of a 50-year old character making a return to the Bat mythos. They wouldn’t know Batwoman from Batgirl from Aunt Harriet. No, this item became so popular due to the sexuality of the new Batwoman. The new Batwoman, as the New York Times put it, “is a wealthy, buxom lipstick lesbian.”

Of course, a character’s sexuality comes into play in comics as much as their religion affiliation and political leaning do—irregularly at best. But Kathy Kane preferring women to men was enough to garner a whole lot of interest from the mainstream press.

With such voluminous, not to mention, free, publicity on their hands, you’d think DC would be quick to capitalize on this. You’d think a Batwoman series would be a no brainer. DC decided to take a different path. Here is what Dan DiDio had to say to Newsarama shortly after the New York Times article hit:

“One of the things that I would like to do with Batwoman in particular, because we feel that who she is and the development of the character is so unique to what we’re trying to accomplish in the DCU, but also to what 52 is about, one of the things I’d like to see, at least in the beginning, is to see her as a character who will be appearing primarily in 52. Then, we’ll be exploring things in different ways.

To use a Marvel reference, I always liked the way that Marvel introduced the Punisher. He started in Amazing Spider-Man, and had some really landmark appearances in Daredevil, and they allowed interest in him to grow. I think this is a character that can really benefit form appearing in different books first before we test the waters with her on her own.”

DiDio reiterated this point earlier this year, at the Emerald City Comic Con:

We went out of our way to introduce Batwoman as a hero first.”

This naturally leads us to examine Batwoman’s appearances since her introduction. By the end of 52, she was kidnapped and intended for a ritual sacrifice, a damsel in distress for ex-beau Renee Montoya—a.k.a. The Question—to save. She was definitely more Lois Lane than Wonder Woman there. After two throwaway appearances in Countdown and Crime Bible: The Five Lessons of Blood, the character’s next major appearance was in Final Crisis and Final Crisis: Revelations, where she appeared as a brainwashed member of Darkseid’s forces.

This doesn’t seem like the kind of Punisher-like build up. Neither is it introducing Batwoman as a hero, considering in her biggest appearance since her debut she was essentially a villain. It looks like Greg Rucka was right when he said in an interview with Xtra earlier this month that DC really didn’t have a plan for Batwoman when all the publicity hit.

But, DC being DC, we are finally getting Batwoman in two high profile projects and we are supposed to be excited about it. Of course, both projects have the air of being temporary. Sure, she’s taking over the lead role in Detective Comics this week, but who thinks she won’t be bounced when Bruce Wayne comes back? And her other big book is Justice League: Cry for Justice, a miniseries with no guarantee of being continued.

Granted, both projects have big names working on them, but, all in all, it might be too little too late. DC had the chance to make Batwoman a major member of their legendary pantheon of heroes. But, through their mismanagement, the B-list could be the best that the character could hope for.

Also out this week:

Gotham City Sirens #1:
It’s not a stretch to think that with the national coverage that Batwoman received, that DC would hope that women heretofore unfamiliar with comics would come in to pick up the latest issue of Detective. I doubt that would happen, but if it did, I would love to see the faces of these women when they see this cover sharing the stands, which is so “good girl” that it should be sold at the Cheesecake Factory.

It’s the replacement to Birds of Prey, which increases the skintight bodysuit by a factor of two and the “how-does-she-keep-that-on” bustier by a factor of one. It is slightly less panderiffic than the upcoming Marvel Divas (these characters at least have an in-continuity reason to be together) and is written by Paul Dini, but most likely would be seen as exploitive by any new female reader.

Paul Dini (W), Guillem March (A), DC Comics, $2.99. Ongoing Series.

Dark Wolverine #75:
It might seem like we here at Guiding Lines have covered every single Wolverine comic that has come out in the last three months. That’s not true. It would be impossible to cover EVERY Wolverine comic that comes out. Our website doesn’t have that kind of bandwidth. We’ve covered a lot, but not all.

This week does offer a rather big change to one of the Wolverine titles. Logan is taking at least the next three issues off in this series as he is replaced with the Dark Wolverine, Daken. For those of you not reading Wolverine: Origins, Daken is the long lost son of Wolvie who has recently joined up with Norman Osborn’s Dark Avengers.  Since he hates everything Logan stands for, he really doesn’t want to assume his identity. This is the start of all kinds of problems.

Daniel Way & Marjorie Liu (W), Giuseppe Camuncoli (A), Marvel Comics, $3.99. Ongoing Series.

Predator #1:
A couple of weeks ago, I dedicated the focus to Dark Horse’s revisiting the Aliens franchise, explaining how that partnership put Dark Horse on the map. Well, if Aliens did put Dark Horse on the map, the Predator franchise made sure it stayed there. Not only were the individual series successful, but putting the characters up against Batman and the Aliens surely lined Dark Horse’s coffers.

Now, the Predator franchise makes it’s return to comics with a new miniseries written by John Arcudi and with art by Javier Saltares. And instead of having to deal with one Predator, we have to deal with a group of them. Actually there are two groups of them, and they’ve brought their civil war to earth. Each group is the predator of the other, and humanity is the prey in between.

John Arcudi (W), Javier Saltares (A), Dark Horse Comics, $3.50. Four-Issue Miniseries.

Milo Ventimiglia Presents Berserker #1:
With the popularity of the TV show Heroes in the comic book community, it’s a wonder why more comic book companies haven’t made arrangements with the entire cast for them to helm comic books. The writing staff has been active in the four-color world, but the cast hasn’t, with one notable exception.

Milo Ventimiglia is back with his second property for as many companies in as many years. Last year, Ventimiglia produced Rest for Devil’s Due Publishing. This week, he brings this series to Top Cow. If he keeps this up, the rest of the cast can just sit back and relax. Milo will have enough books out to cover everyone involved in the show!
 
Rick Loverd (W), Jeremy Haun (A), Top Cow/Image Comics, $2.99. Ongoing Series.

Dark Avengers/Uncanny X-Men: Utopia:
They have been Uncanny and they have been Astonishing. They have been New and they have been Young. Now, things are about to get a little Dark for the X-Men, and it all begins here.

By now you should have all seen the advance publicity for Dark X-Men, the mutant universe’s addition to the Dark Reign event. If you want to see how such a diverse group of mutants got together (and how they could be darker than the current X-Men) then you should be picking up this starting point issue.

And the fact that it’s written by Matt “Can’t Miss” Fraction and old school X-Men artist Marc Silvestri means it should appeal to X-Fans both old and new.

Matt Fraction (W), Marc Silvestri (A), Marvel Comics, $3.99. One-Shot.

###

William Gatevackes is a professional writer living in Mamaroneck, NY with his wife Jennifer and daughter Vanessa. He also is a comic reviewer for PopMatters, has written for Comic Foundry magazine and is the comic book movie editor for Film Buff Online. Links to his writing can be found at his website, www.williamgatevackes.com.

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Comments

  • Bart Croonenborghs

    Bart Croonenborghs Jun 24, 2009 at 3:26am

    Hahah spot-on with Batwoman there, William.

  • Eric Lindberg

    Eric Lindberg Jun 24, 2009 at 9:03pm

    True. They haven't used her well. That said, her debut in Detective was pretty impressive and is finally revealing more about her. Long overdue but I'm intrigued. As for Gotham City Sirens, I'm sure it will be good since it's Dini but I kind of resent that it's the "replacement" for Birds of Prey. I really miss that book.

  • Andy Oliver

    Andy Oliver Jun 25, 2009 at 12:34pm

    A misfire so far yes but perhaps this Detective arc will redeem the situation?

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