If you’d told me that a “Batwoman” story arc would team Batwoman up with many of the long-running supernatural characters of the DC Universe, I probably would have laughed. When you consider everything that the character has gone through in this run of the series, though, it actually fits with what’s come before. Most importantly, “Batwoman” #38 has Marc Andreyko, Juan Jose Ryp, Roger Bonet and Guy Major deliver what’s easily the turning point for this storyline, which feels like it’s all coming together.
“Batwoman” #38 focuses a bit more on Ragman even as it continues the plot threads with Etrigan, Batwoman, Clayface and Morgaine le Fey. Andreyko juggles the threads well here; it never feels like anyone is being dwelled on for either too long or not long enough. The team-up of all these characters in “Batwoman” #35 felt more than a little perplexing because of the sudden, out-of-the-blue nature of the opening chapter but here, as we see them all get drawn together, it comes across as reasonable. While “Batwoman” #35 certainly grabbed one’s attention by throwing all of these characters at us at once, I do think that the tactics seen in “Batwoman” #36-38 have eased us in so much better; it would have ultimately been in the series’ better interest to not start with the shock tactic of supernatural heroes in space.
It’s also good to see the Nocturna storyline progressing even as Morgaine and company take up more and more plot threads. While at times it makes Batwoman feel a little clueless to be so much in the (admittedly, supernatural) thrall of Nocturna, Andreyko’s staying the course even as other characters around her notice that something’s gone horribly wrong. If nothing else, it will make Nocturna’s eventual defeat that much more satisfying.
Guest artists Ryp and Bonet (along with regular colorist Major) turn out the nicest looking issue in this story arc to date. After a brief flurry of issues from Ryp at DC Comics followed by nothing, it’s good to see him back. I feel that Ryp’s work for DC has been some of his best work in comics to date; his trademark high level of detail is still present but, for whatever reason, he does so here without the pages becoming overwhelming. This month, special attention is paid to Clayface, whose body has all of those little ripples and ridges of mud that allows Ryp, Bonet and Major to go hogwild; with all of the little details and shades of brown, Clayface has never looked quite so mud-like until now.
I’ll admit “Batwoman” #35 had me a little worried about the return of Alice, something that’s been looming over this storyline. With each new installment of this story arc coming together a bit more, it makes her stepping onto the center stage next month less of something to fear; now I’m just curious to see what Andreyko has planned for the character. The introductions of the rest of the Unknowns have worked out well enough that my interest is properly piqued. So far, so good.