The last time we saw our heroine, she was ambushed, struck with poison darts, kicked through a sliding glass door, and punched off a 32nd story balcony by Wolf Spider. Now, readers get to watch Batwoman tumble down the rabbit hole.
In Batwoman #27, writer Marc Andreyko takes Kate Kane through a drug induced free fall down memory lane. Her sister Elizabeth (also known as Alice) guides Kate through her hallucinations, which (at times) employ a very ‘Alice in Wonderland’ motif. While this trope isn’t one readers haven’t seen before, it’s interesting enough to keep readers engaged throughout. Andreyko also ends the issue in a manner that will leave readers eager and excited for the next one, setting up some great interaction between Kate and her girlfriend, Maggie.
There’s more Wolf Spider goodness in this issue as we learn he’s working with a partner named Nathan. Nathan is an octogenarian who serves as a good ‘straight man’ to Wolf Spider’s snarky and egotistical demeanor. The scene between them doesn’t reveal much—other than Nathan is paying Wolf Spider to steal the paintings—but it provided some nice dialogue and will make readers want to learn more about them both.
Having multiple artists on an issue generally doesn’t work out too well, but Batwoman #27 is an example of it done right. Most of the issue is respectably drawn by Jeremy Haun. His panel-to-panel progression is fantastic is reminiscent of Patrick Zircher; the art flowing in a way that gives an almost seamless and natural flow to it. Former Flash co-writer and artist Francis Manapul, tackles Kate’s drug induced free fall. Manapul’s art is nothing short of gorgeous and it’s without a doubt the best art this book has seen since J.H. Williams III’s departure. Manapul is one of the best artists in the industry and his watercolors have a distinct and iconic look that flows and meshes in a way that makes them instantly recognizable. There is a fantastic mix of brighter whites, reds, and yellows that just pop thanks to the contrast of some muted blues, purples, and grays. These four two-page spreads are rich and evocative, almost making this issue worth the cover price alone.
One major problem with Batwoman #27 is that it feels far too short with not enough progress. Due to number the double-page spreads, this is an issue that most readers will blast through in no time at all. After all, the majority of the issue takes place over the course of a few seconds. As fantastic as these pages were one could have been given up in order to flesh out the story a bit more, perhaps delving into the Wolf Spider and his partner’s motivations.
Marc Andreyko and Jeremy Haun continue to prove that Batwoman is in good hands. The new creative team has been a fresh breath of air for the title, setting up an interesting new direction that manages to stay respectful to the work of the creative team before them. While Batwoman #27 may read a bit thin, it’s a solid issue and guest artist Francis Manapul more than makes up for it with some truly breathtaking imagery