First, the bad news out of the way. If you’ve been waiting for the conclusion of the story from “Batwoman” #24 (which was delayed for a “Zero Year” tie-in last month), you’ll need to wait a little longer; it’s going to be wrapped up in “Batwoman Annual” #1 in April 2014. Now for the good news, though. After coming on board for the previous issue, Marc Andreyko is now joined by artist Jeremy Haun, and together? I feel like the book is already a little more on track than it was a month ago.
Here, Andreyko is freed from having to tie into someone else’s stories, and we’re seeing his own plots begin to percolate. There’s a lot to appreciate here; that Kate, Bette and Maggie are continuing to have their own personal lives in addition to fighting crime, or that Andreyko’s giving us some more back story to Kate and Bette from their earlier days. There’s also a nice sense of humor in the dialogue to this issue. Any comic that has a quote from Pee Wee’s Big Adventure” gets a grin from me, and doubly so when it involves the Alamo.
The overall pace of the comic feels like it’s on-track, too. The story flows from flashback to present day art showing to present day superheroics effortlessly, and I appreciate that Andreyko has a smooth and good pace here. Some of the dialogue feels a little clumsy — Bette’s, “I’m feeling like meting out some justice!” and “Let’s go find some criminal activity!” are both cringe-worthy — but on the other hand new villain Wolf Spider’s internal narration works much better. Speaking of whom, while we’ve only gotten a few glimpses of him so far, Wolf Spider isn’t a bad addition to Batwoman’s rather small rogue’s gallery. While I have a sneaking suspicion that he and the one new addition to her supporting cast are in fact one and the same, for now I’m welcoming some new faces on the page.
Haun’s art is overall pretty good. He’s at his best when drawing Batwoman in action; he’s got a strong handle on the costume and how it should look and move, from the hair to the cloak to even the treads on the boots. The 1929 Gotham portion also looks quite excellent, evoking the overall look and feel of the time period in a way that sets it apart instantly from modern times. Wolf Spider’s look is a little less exciting, but at the same time it actually fits an art thief character who would be going for something that blends into the background rather than standing out.
“Batwoman” #26 is a good start for Andreyko and Haun working together. I appreciate that they’ve already got their direction hammered out, and that they’re making the best of a bad situation in regards to taking over from J.H. Williams III, W. Haden Blackman and Trevor McCarthy. So far, so good.