Kate Kane returns to Gotham for her Uncle’s funeral in this “Zero Year” tie-in, and writer Marc Andreyko sets out to prove that Batwoman will continue on strong without J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman. Does he succeed?
The departure of Williams III and Blackman from the series left Batwoman with a precarious future. DC’s treatment of their creative staff has resulted in many readers threatening to drop or boycott Batwoman in response. With Williams III and Blackman ending their run on such a high note—only two issues short of finishing their two year run—whoever would take their place would undoubtedly have big shoes to fill if they planned to win back readership. Enter Manhunter writer Marc Andreyko. There were few writers as well equipped as Andreyko to continue Batwoman in a way that would not only honor the previous creative team’s work, but also assure readers that the title was in good hands. Andreyko is a strong choice for Batwoman as his critically acclaimed Manhunter series saw Federal Prosecutor and superheroine Kate Spencer interacting with the Department of Extranormal Operations, Director Bones, and Agent Cameron Chase, all of whom have been central to Batwoman’s story in the New 52.
What we get here with this “Zero Year” tie-in is very different from Williams and Blackman’s run, which isn’t a bad thing. It does come across as a bit rushed at times, though. Batwoman #25 gives us a look at a younger Kate Kane who is home from West Point Academy for the funeral of her [spoiler]Uncle Phillip Kane[/spoiler], as well as Maggie Sawyer in her days as an enthusiastic Metropolis cop on hand to help Gotham as Hurricane Rene barrels down on the city. Here, Kate is a blend of eager-to-help soldier and an enthusiastic young woman who is hoping to find some trouble. His characterization of Kate is refreshing and you can see bits of the woman she one day becomes.
We get to see some good interaction between the Kane and Wayne families that clears up a few relation issues. While Bruce’s mother’s maiden name was Kane, there was never a definitive connection between them and Kate Kane’s family, surname aside. Some wondered if the two Kane families were one in the same, which would make Kate Kane Bruce Wayne’s cousin, or if they were separate families all together. The death of Phillip Kane, who is also Bruce’s uncle, definitively brings these two families together in a way we haven’t seen before. Seeing Kate interact with Bruce and Alfred was definitely the highlight of this issue, in what was mostly a standard affair for this “Zero Year” tie-in.
The biggest problem was that there is no reason for Batwoman to have tied into “Zero Year”. For better or worse, Batwoman has been kept at arm’s length from the rest of the Batman family titles and kept out of the previous crossovers. The decision to disrupt the story in order to throw Zero Year on the cover is one that detracts from the overall experience. Batwoman #24 ended on a massive cliffhanger and now it won’t be finished until April with Batwoman Annual #1. It’s a slap in the face to every reader of Batwoman and it’s hard to understand the reasoning behind it. At the same time, readers can’t blame Andreyko because chances are he didn’t have a say in the matter.
There were also several artists on this issue, and while most of them did a fantastic job, the change between artists came across as a bit jarring at times.
Marc Andreyko’s run of Batwoman is off to a shaky but solid start. Andreyko came into this late in the game and most likely, the “Zero Year” crossover wasn’t his idea. Andreyko is a talented writer and fans of Batwoman, as well as those interested in the character, should give him at least another issue or two.