It’s not easy to tell a six-issue story deliberately out of order, with scenes jumping back and forth throughout a week’s time. I think that’s why even though once “Batwoman” #11 is published, I’m planning on re-reading all six issues together. However, I’m finding myself impressed with “Batwoman” #10 for still feeling like a coherent story.
As much as I enjoyed Amy Reeder’s art in “Batwoman” #0 last year (not to be confused with the next “Batwoman” #0 later this year), the shift in artist from her to Trevor McCarthy last month was a good thing for “Batwoman,” and this new issue is no exception. McCarthy’s art feels like a more apt fit for J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman’s story, with strong, solid characters and a crisp ink line. What impressed me so much is that McCarthy has managed to merge his style with that of Williams on “Batwoman.” McCarthy brought back the art-deco inspired page layouts for some of the pages of the comic, as well as some of Williams’ other tricks, like a scenery page with individual panels placed on top of it to show a character’s progression through the landscape. At the same time, though, McCarthy’s art is still his own with its sharp cheekbones that remind me of Chris Sprouse, or the grace that brings to mind artists like Jason Pearson. “Batwoman” when drawn by Williams is a visually stunning comic and I’m thrilled that the same is once more true with McCarthy on board. If we’re lucky, he’ll hopefully be back for the next storyline that’s not drawn by Williams, too.
The story itself from Williams and Blackman juggles a lot of pieces, but so far I feel like they’re all getting the proper attention. I’m always prepared to be confused by the shifting back and forth in time, but this issue especially feels like they’ve made those transitions as smooth as possible. They’re not afraid to drop little character bombs, like Kate’s father telling a comatose Bette a truth about his twin daughters, and we get some lovely quieter moments like Maggie Sawyer calling her daughter. And while there are small rough edges along the way (the character of Sune, despite being near the center of everything going on here, still isn’t clicking for me), on the whole I feel like this story is told smoothly even with the potentially tricky format. At this point, I think the pair has proven themselves as strong writers, more than just providing words for Williams’ gorgeous drawings.
“Batwoman” stumbled a bit earlier in this storyline, but it’s nice to see it regain its footing so quickly. And while there’s no doubt in my mind that when read all together “Batwoman” #6-11 will be much stronger than the sum of its parts, it’s good that Williams, Blackman and McCarthy are doing their best to make individual issues fun to read, too.