Monday, July 15, 2024

Batwoman Cheats At Bingo, Everything Else

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[Danny Elfman Theme Plays]
One of my favorite things about Batwoman is that she cheats. There’s a certain set of “narrative guidelines” that Gotham-based characters (which also extends to the DCU proper, in most cases) typically abide by, and Kate Kane has this wonderful habit of not giving a flying fladoodle about any of it. It’s an important aspect of of character and method of operation that also sets her further apart from Bruce in a very fundamental way. Where Batman typically leans on the dramatic to do the job, often times for good reason, Batwoman…doesn’t. It’s all about efficiency and practicality, provided her head is in the right place. Y’know, like a soldier:

And he never did. What a nerd.

We’ll come back to this later. Just wanted to point it out ahead of time. For now, let’s get bring that counter on back and see how Kate fairs in Batwoman #3! Her record is 20, and I seriously doubt she’s going to beat that anytime soon. Then again, I didn’t think she’d beat 12 almost immediately, so what do I know? Oh, and just so everyone is on the same page about this counter: it’s a joke. It’s a big, silly joke that emphasizes the importance and relative uniqueness of Kate’s fallibility in regards to female characters in media. It’s one of her strengths as a character and something that should not be discounted, diminished or forgotten. With that in mind, none of this should be taken seriously. It’s all arbitrary, and I just score stuff based on what I think is funniest.

So let’s get started with 32 on the board!

The Women Who Laughed

In an interesting visual parallel to the opening of Batwoman #2 , we see a super noir-y flashback of Tahani peeling what is most likely a papaya while mocking the final words of the man she’d just murdered. Where Kate’s past is meant to be split between her trippy, semi-delusional memories and actual muted-color flashbacks, Tahani just has the one kind: rain, black and blue. Of course, Safiyah arrives and brings in some much needed…other colors in the form of a lantern, a not-so-subtle metaphor for hope, and proceeds to drag Tahani down into whatever madness Coryana apparently was. It doesn’t surprise me that Safiyah is that good at judging potential “recruits” that she would enlist the help of a homeless woman at more or less first sight, but at the same time…she sure is direct. Guess she’d have to be.

Next, we head back to the present with Batwoman, in all of her bone-white-skin-while-in-uniform glory trying to look like a cross between a more fashionable Vito Corleone and a supermodel flirting with the desk clerk of the Kali Corporation. She starts talking about Treasure Island (or perhaps she’s referring to the prequel series I just finished watching and adore?) before a strange power surge turns all of the computer monitors red. Also Kate is wearing a wig with her “classic” style, which I guess means it was also a wig way back in Detective Comics #943. Well, just another nod to Orthodox Jewish women, then.

Anyway, Julia manages to hack her way into the Kali Corporation’s servers despite her massive bat-logo-monitor sized handicap and proceeds to snark with a potency that would make her father very proud. Turns out, the Kali Corporation is doing evil corporation things (so, just regular corporation things?) across the planet with politicians and religious leaders. I’m also no longer sure if Julia and Kate aren’t banging, considering how she’s basically flirting in her ear at this point.

Anyway, Kate meets the twins who still don’t have names. Instead, they are known as Elder (the dude) and Younger (the lady). Also they’re fake twins, have weird incest vibes, and have something to do with serial killers…? I really can’t make out what’s behind Julia’s hand or under what I assume are candy. Or strangely colored backgammon pieces.

The lack of a free space is disconcerting. That’s not how you Bingo!

I guess now we know what Kate and Julia were doing in their off-time now: laughing their butts off at how genre savvy they both are! And since no reasonable person would ever make something like that sober, well, I guess they really do drink that many martinis!

Kate acts like a doofus for most of the conversation, because clearly the only thing she wants is to buy that bar she trashed last issue, until the subject of Safiyah turns super weird. Specifically to the fact that whoops she was married (or maybe got married after Kate left?) and chose an heir! Or the “twins” are lying, which is completely possible. I mean, it’s not out of the question that Safiyah either had an arranged marriage, if it happened earlier in her life, figured out she was a lesbian later in life (it happens) or…isn’t gay? Like, she could be bi, you guys. That is a thing, I promise. Hell, maybe she’s pan. Well, this is under the assumption that same-sex marriage isn’t exactly legal in that area of the world…which is technically true, if we’re just going by Malta’s laws. Kate could have served in the military without issue there, so that’s…depressing. Huh.

Apocalypse Now Later Eventually Soon

Julia has a moderate-sized freak out that the Kali Corporation is planning on taking a page out of Shiva’s book (the other one, except also this one) and aims to explode Coryana from the inside out. Sort of a scorched earth idea so that they can tame the untameable. Or something. I’m assuming there’s a piece to this puzzle that we’ll learn later. But, before Kate can find out anything about the supposed heir (who totally isn’t Tahani), Tahani leaps down from the rafters and starts slicing stuff up.

Kate is entirely unfazed by this new development, most likely because she knew Tahani was up there, and tries to throw hot coffee at her face. Which is probably the only reason she was holding it in the first place. Of course, physics do not abide by Tahani’s magic machete, so she manages to cut…through liquid? I can’t even blame Kate for that one. That should have worked! And it was clever! Well, at the very least it certainly explains how Tahani managed to cut Kate at all, since, uh…

His name was Falchion and he used a Falchion. Hah.

Does this mean she’s not bulletproof anymore, either? I mean, the stabbing thing is almost thematic at this point for Batwoman stuff, but unless that’s a magic machete (much like the League of Shadows’ magic katanas) Tahani is swinging around, Kate’s no longer a bulletproof lesbian. Which would be very unfortunate, though ultimately understandable. It would be cooler to see her shrug off gunshot wounds instead of them being entirely ineffectual.

Much like Tahani herself! You know, Bennett and Tynion have made it a point to say that they wanted Tahani to be Kate’s arch nemesis. Someone who was her physical equal and posed a real threat. It’s only now that I’m realizing that they were being far more literal than I had previously assumed. Tahani is her physical equal. Not tactically, or in any other sense. She’s not her Bane-expy, if you will. Honestly, I wouldn’t even be thinking of this if Kate really didn’t seem to care too much about Tahani’s monologuing. She just…lets her try that hard, since Kate isn’t one to do that. Yes, she is an extremely dramatic person, but she’s not doing dramatic things for psychological warfare. That’s just who she is.

Case in point: Tahani helps the “twins” escape via helicopter, hitching a ride half-way up…while forgetting that there is no way they can hear her over the sound of the rotors.

Are we sure this isn’t Black Sails? Because it really feels a lot like Season 4 of Black Sails.

Anyway, we see that scene from the “teaser” page of Batwoman Rebirth and Kate gets kicked off a roof…only for the drones to transform into a giant wing-flapping harness that allows Batwoman to actually fly away.

Interestingly, this also seems to suggest that the awesome looking suit Kate was wearing is a subtle reference to DC Bombshells, where that version of Batwoman can transform her uniform into a formal dress in only a few seconds. That is to say, the reason Kate got into her uniform so quickly on the roof was because she was already wearing it. The black and red suit, the wig; all of it could potentially be made to shift into her gear. This would also explain why Jeromy Cox colored Kate’s skin bone-white, which he’d made a point to only do when she was actually in uniform. Which is pretty badass, honestly.

Moving on, Kate stitches herself back up on the coast while she and Julia figure out exactly how the “twins” aim to explode an island. Apparently, it’s with “all of the bombs” that aren’t nukes. And Kate just happens to know exactly where they’re located, alluding even more to the fact that there is a ton of stuff about Coryana that she’s told Julia but that the audience isn’t privy to…yet. Kate makes her way into the cave and finds the cache (I really need to top thinking about Black Sails…) of rigged C4 and warheads, the detonation of which probably wouldn’t even set off said warheads but that’s not really the point.

The point is that Tahani does a great Martin Sheen impression, as she rises out of the steamy water. once again monologuing about how it’s all Kate’s fault aaaaaaaaaaaaand leaping right into a wonderful kind of trap.

The cheating kind!

[tw_gallery type=”gallery,slider” height=”200″]


See? She cheats. Rock beats Bane, after all. Now, while Bruce does ally himself with killers (like all the time) and has also created someone kinda like Tahani (see: Jason Todd, et all)…Tahani doesn’t know that! Hah. Anyway, before we get to our final score, let’s take a look at the board!

Wait, seriously? Not a one? Not a single glaring failure? Wow. Nice…job, Kate? You, uh, kinda broke your streak there. Not sure we can get to triple digits by Batwoman #6 now, but that’s okay I guess. You’ll get there eventually, I believe in you. Oh, right, scoring.


Last month’s pacing hiccups were more or less smoothed out this time around, and Bennett’s scripting is superb. Epting and Cox render everything…characteristically gorgeous? I’m not really sure how to compliment the visual storytelling in this book more than I already do with the super-Watsonian lens I take to these reviews in the first place. That’s almost all based on the art, rather than the dialogue, but I digress.

This book is great, I love it, buuuuuut it feels like it’s missing something. Something integral, but also just out of reach. There’s nothing wrong here, far from it, but I can’t help but feel like that—oh. Oh, it’s just Renee. Renee is missing. The raw sexual tension and perfect chemistry of Kate and Renee existing in the same place.

Or maybe I’m just not used to reading Kate when she’s not actively seeking a long term relationship and is kinda doing okay on her own despite being more than a little isolated. Probably a mix of both. Could also just be that it reads better in trade, but we won’t know that until October.

Damnit. Another five-week wait.



Writers: Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV

Pencils/Inks: Steve Epting

Colors: Jeromy Cox

Letterer: Deron Bennett

Images courtesy of DC Comics

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