Review: Batwoman: Rebirth #1

[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]

Writers: Marguerite Bennett & James Tynion IV
Art
: Steve Epting

Summary
This retelling of Batwoman’s origin story shows the turning points of her life. At age 12, Kate Kane was kidnapped along with her twin sister Beth and their mother. Kate was rescued, but not before the deaths of her sister and mother.

At age 20, Kate had a relationship with another female cadet, while at West Point, and was expelled when she refused to lie and deny that she is gay.

At age 22, Kate is shown drunk at a party on a yacht. A fellow partygoer describes her as being on “some kind of blackout-walkabout,” indicating that her life is directionless and headed nowhere.

A year later at 23, Kate is living on the Island of Coryana, with a woman named Safiyah. Kate wakes in the night from a nightmare of killers coming for her in the night. Safiyah reassures her that she is safe, but we see a mysterious woman watching from the shadows.

Later, but still at 23, Kate returns to Gotham and renews her relationship with Renee Montoya, of the GCPD.

At 24, Kate encounters the Batman and is inspired to follow his example. We see Kate training and studying with the help of her father, Col. Jacob Kane. This is followed by a montage of her career as Batwoman.

Then in the present, in the aftermath of the Monster Men, we see Batman telling her that Monster Venom has appeared on the black market outside of Gotham, prompting Kate to leave Gotham City to deal with the situation.

Then in a short glimpse into the near future, we see Kate (or possibly her twin sister Beth) approaching Gotham, in command of a group of armoured individuals who refer to her as Commander Kane, and wearing a modified version of the Batwoman uniform and carrying a large gun. She declares, Open Fire,” but it isn’t shown upon whom.

We are also shown a series of short snippets of upcoming events in the new Batwoman ongoing series, including the return of the mysterious Safiyah and of Kate’s sister, Beth.

Positives
There appears to be little change in Batwoman’s back story, other than adding a little more detail; for example, introducing her lover from her West Point days. Batwoman is one of the characters least removed from her classic interpretation, as she was mostly unscathed by the New 52 reboot. It is reassuring to see that her history is remaining unchanged by the Rebirth relaunch.

On the other hand, we also see that the story is moving forward. Kate is headed out of Gotham on a mission for Batman, and she is going to re-encounter people from her past that we haven’t seen before.

Negatives
There isn’t really much room for complaint in this issue, as it doesn’t contain much beyond a retelling of her origin and a few teasers about the ongoing series. Perhaps these hints could give a bit more information, but they might not be so tantalizing if they gave away too much.

Verdict
A solid start for the return of Batwoman’s solo title. It reaffirms that Batwoman is still the same character that fans are familiar with from her previous two series, but also shows that she will be taken in new directions rather than just retreading old ground.

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Derek McNeil

I have been an avid reader of DC Comics since the early 70s. My earliest exposure was to Batman and Superman comics, Batman (Adam West) reruns, and watching the Super-Friends every Saturday morning.