Francis Manapul shows up to lend a hand on the art chores of “Batwoman” #27, which is written by Marc Andreyko with art from Jeremy Haun, color work from Guy Major and letters provided by Todd Klein. Manapul’s contribution may only cover eight of the pages, set in double-page spreads, but those eight pages pack a lot in, giving the reader a chance to get caught up on the adventures of Kate Kane while also peeking into her mindset a bit.
That gorgeous pseudo-flashback sequence from Manapul with underpinnings by Haun packs a lot into “Batwoman” #27 with panache in an innovative manner evocative of J.H. Williams III’s work on this title, but those eight pages compress some of the storytelling later, as Batwoman’s fall through a vertical space is depicted through a series of five predominantly horizontal panels. Haun makes the most of the situation, shifting camera angles through the fall, but the shifts compromise the artist’s ability to set the stage around Batwoman. Haun packs details throughout this issue, from wrinkles in Batwoman’s cape as she plummets through towards the Gotham City streets to the folded towels by the sink in this issue’s final scene. Manapul handles his own colors in the first eight pages, but Haun’s drawings are meticulously colored by Guy Major, who adds as much to the story as Haun’s art does. Klein’s letters add distinct voices to the characters that move through this issue while also aptly describing the difference in sounds between a tearing flag and a shredded awning.
In that previously mentioned vertical fall, a convenient pile of garbage cushions the heroine’s final landing, a plot device somewhat indicative of the rest of “Batwoman” #27. That’s not to say Andreyko delivers a wholly predictable story, as the final page is sure to prompt more than a bit of anxiety from regular readers of the title, but much of the story is paced in such a manner that it isn’t overly surprising. Through the course of what is essentially an inventory issue — not for DC, but for Kate Kane — readers learn everything they need to know about Batwoman in the course of twenty pages. Through it all, Andreyko has quietly set things up for Batwoman to experience quite a bit of turmoil in the very near future, in both of her identities.
What could have simply been a meltdown for this title has been smartly averted as Andreyko and company are now settling into their groove and setting up stories for the future. Andreyko brings intelligence to the story without sacrificing action and continues to give Kate Kane room to grow. Haun’s art, coupled with a visual boost from Manapul, hits the right notes and merges nicely with Andreyko’s story. J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman may have left the title, but “Batwoman” #27 proves to be enjoyable and worthwhile reading all the same.