Guest-stars from one title appearing in another can be tricky business, especially when one or both titles have a distinct voice of their own. That’s the case with both “Batwoman” and “Wonder Woman,” which makes “Batwoman” #13 all the more impressive with how J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman handle Wonder Woman’s appearance. In some ways, this feels like a textbook case on how to handle a guest-star.
Williams and Blackman open the title with inner monologues on both Batwoman and Wonder Woman reacting to one another. While it would be easy for this to head down a cheesy path, it sets up the tone of the book very nicely; Batwoman’s awe and Wonder Woman’s respect both feel well-placed. There’s more to the appearance than just that, though. With “Wonder Woman” reinterpreting the visual appearances of the Greek deities, “Batwoman” follows through on that idea as the duo tangle with Nyx and get a surprise appearance of another figure at the end of the comic. In both cases, they’re not necessarily as you’d imagine them, but they fit with the overall look and feel of what we’ve seen courtesy Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang and Tony Akins over in “Wonder Woman.”
It’s unsurprising, though, that the big star is once more Williams’ art. When Wonder Woman and Batwoman travel through the labyrinth that helps form Medusa’s prison, the huge bat emblem formed by its twisty corridors is dramatic and clever. The slithering of Nyx’s creatures across the page at our heroes is also impressive, shifting the perspective of the page and using the format of comics in general to its advantage. Even the two page spread that’s primarily formed by outlines of Nyx’s monsters and lettering inside them works well; it feels almost like a series of cave paintings, and the layout is perfect so that the words still guide you through a serpentine route across the page to read everything in just the right order and sequence. It’s a difficult task to pull off, but here it’s handled elegantly.
By the time we get to the end of “Batwoman” #13, we’ve seen Williams knock out slight variations on his art style (the last few pages remind me of having just a touch of the late John Severin and his western-genre comics), each matching the story that he and Blackman tell. I’m sad that Williams is going to be stepping off of the art chores soon (to presumably tackle the new “Sandman” mini-series written by Neil Gaiman), but he’s given us an amazing ride and also proven himself a good writer alongside Blackman. Once again, another great issue from the duo. No complaints here from start to finish.