With art chores divided between Moritat and Jeremy Haun, “Batwoman” #34 comes pre-sliced, with the standard-issue-sized back-up story batting leadoff and the lengthier tale holding down the backside of the order. Marc Andreyko uses this pre-“Futures End” issue to button up some aspects of Kate Kane’s lives (both as Kate and Batwoman) while setting Batwoman on a far different course.
That wrap-up comes with appearances by Nocturna and Maggie Sawyer — not together, mind you — both significantly impactful and appropriately dramatic. Andreyko frontloads the action so he can focus on character developments and relations for the larger portion of the book. The cast is lean, so the story can move and the impact can be more cleanly defined. The end result focuses on the faults of a character as her humanity overtakes her heroism — or maybe the true result is the fact that Batwoman is now effectively a clean slate to be recreated as necessary. Whatever the intent, Andreyko shifts Kate’s life in a big way in this issue — multiple ways actually, but the moments just don’t feel overwhelming despite their obvious intent to be so.
Despite having two very solid talents on the art chores, “Batwoman” #34 falters in the visual aspects. The first part of the issue, drawn by Moritat lacks detail and precision in the storytelling as the Gotham City Police Department can now apparently teleport. Additionally, Night-Thief is said to have knives, but the storytelling and the chosen camera angle are too confusing to determine where those knives are or are going. In the latter portion of the comic, Haun’s work is clean and crisp, focusing on Kate as she tries to find her own path once more and makes a decision that will upset readers and characters in the series alike. Haun does a nice job giving readers more story with less clutter than some other artists, but a horribly placed sound effect on the last page looks like a last-minute correction or a sticker dropped onto the page as it was printing.
This won’t be remembered as the greatest Batwoman comic ever, but it isn’t the worst either. It defines Kate Kane as a wandering soul, with personal and larger challenges ahead of her. “Batwoman” #34 sets the stage for whatever follows the “Futures End” story coming up next month. Here’s hoping there is a little more artistic stability and a solid sense of purpose for Batwoman in the near future as Andreyko seeds the stories in Kate Kane’s world.