Major spoilers after the lady kisses.
I don’t know how to express how beautiful Batwoman #17 is. This issue wraps up quite a long story in which Batwoman has been struggling with her role as a hero and as a girlfriend, trying to find a balance. And, as you can see above, she decides that the way to do that is to put both elements of her life together. Such a strong, confident lady, Batwoman is so sure of her decision to “out” herself to Detective Maggie Sawyer after bringing a perfect engagement gift of the missing children that the Gotham City policewoman has been searching for nearly their entire relationship.
Co-starring Wonder Woman and featuring the triumphant return of Bette Kane, now calling herself Hawkfire, Batwoman #17 settles this major arc in every way. It’s energizing in it’s victories and heartbreaking in its tragedies, specifically poor Abbot’s untimely end. Most importantly of all, it establishes that Batwoman is over playing by the D.E.O.’s rules.
One of the things that I like about this series is the dialogue choices. I feel like so many writers out there feel the need to make all of their characters constantly witty and bantering, a la the entire cast of The Avengers (sorry, Joss, you know I love you!) but Batwoman’s cast has a strong, distinct voice that doesn’t sound like any other book out there. Each character sounds unique and I imagine that I could tell who was speaking if I were to close my eyes and have the comic read to me.
But if my eyes were closed, I wouldn’t have been able to see just how gorgeous this issue is. As usual, I love the choices made in dividing up the panels. The borders are just as intense as the panels. The introduction of a Hawkfire theme into the borders was a super choice. And, and this isn’t something I normally comment on, Dave Stewart’s colors were incredible. I feel like I’m just glowing about Hawkfire tonight (and rightly so) but that insertion of orange into a predominantly dark and red palette was the most perfect addition that I could think of.
I only started reading Batwoman with the New 52, heck, any DC with the New 52, so I don’t have the background with many existing characters. As such, I only know Bette Kane, formerly Flamebird, from this series. Until this issue (and the last), I’d been reserved about her character. She was Batwoman’s sidekick, sort of, and then broke out on her own, got majorly injured, got Batwoman blackmailed by the D.E.O., was rehabilitated by Batwoman’s estranged father… it was all just a lot of background noise in the story that was Kate Kane.
But this issue! Whoa, baby! Her comeback is amazing! The way she set fire to her past insecurities in such a literal way was so empowering. She’s like the phoenix rising out of the ashes of her injuries, coming out a stronger, more powerful figure.
Okay, now onto the real topic of this blog. That reveal. That proposal. I did not see that coming. I expected Batwoman to reveal herself as Kate Kane to Maggie eventually. Even soon. The fight the couple had right before Batwoman left to recruit Wonder Woman and Kate sharing the tragedy of her childhood loss earlier than that were all pointing in that direction. But a proposal? In front of the rescued children? I’m not sure that was the right move there.
Don’t get me wrong. I love it when ladies get engaged. Having been engaged to another lady for, like, a hundred years, it’s a blast. But it’s hard to tell what kind of time has passed in this story arc (partly due to that really weird stretch of time when the comic was written like Pulp Fiction) so it feels maybe sooner than it really is. I feel like only a few months have passed. But, hey, lesbians do move pretty fast.What’s really strange is that Kate proposes and kisses Maggie, in her Batwoman attire, in front of all those kids. Is she outing herself to the city of Gotham as Batwoman? Is that how she plans to get out of the D.E.O.’s blackmail?
It’s just a bit out of my comfort level to accept. But in an issue where every single page managed to amaze me on some level, I can let it marinate until we see the fallout from this turn of events next issue. Especially with the final reveal at the very end: the return of Kate’s “deceased” sister, Alice! I’m obsessed with this issue and now I’m even more excited to see what’s going to happen next!