Continued from Part One: The Fastest Man Alive (Exclusively)
#6 – Not your Grandma’s Heroine….
It’s finally starting to sink in that a majority of comic readers / nerds aren’t actually kids, in fact, but that the primary majority of fan-boys AND girls (according to statistics) are somewhere between college students and middle-aged bachelors (This has actually been the trend since the late 80’s / early 90’s following Alan Moore’s “Watchmen”, Frank Miller’s “Sin City”, and Neil Gaimain’s “The Sandman”). It’s good that comics have not only acknowledged this, but embraced it, this is especially evident in titles like CATWOMAN (kinkier than ever), and BATWOMAN (think kick-ass lesbian version of Batman, not to be confused with Bat-girl). Both titles are not only really well written, and directed towards an adult audience, but also have some top-notch quality artwork! Just check out how the panels flow in Batwoman, thanks to artist J.H. Williams III.
First off, Dc Comics has a a good resume when it comes to strong female role models (more of that to come with Wonder Woman). That isn’t to say that all of their female characters are supposed to be the best role models, but even anti-heroes/part-time super villains, like Catwoman, are well-written. You’ve gotta give Selina Kyle credit, she had a rough up-bringing and was forced into a life of crime to survive. Batwoman on the otherhand is the most prominent lesbian character in comics, and is handled very repsectuflly, so much so that at times her titles gives Batman himself a run for his money.
Batwoman, aka Kate Kane, has gone through almost as many incarnations as Batman, almost. In her current state, army brat Katherine Kane is a solo Gotham-based crime fighter who first appeared when Batman had gone missing and is known for taking on supernatural cases, while dealing with the traumatic death of her long lost twin sister, who also happened to be a super villainess. Kate also has a problem hooking up with cops like Renee Montoya. Meanwhile, ‘Bat-girl’ is the daughter of Commissioner Gordon, former Batman side-kick. This current series, by Gail Simone, features a young college-bound Barbara whom is still recovering from damage (both mentally and physically) inflicted by the nefarious actions of the Joker which left her wheel chair bound for years. It also appears that Poison Ivy has turned over a ‘new leaf’ (get it?) in the panels of ‘Birds of Prey’, showing that just like real people fictional characters can change. All these Gotham City Sirens are survivors in their own way, which makes for very genuine and poignant drama in the background of Batman’s never-ending war on the criminal element itself.
Speaking of Batman, there’s some very interesting chemistry going on between Bruce and Selina, per usual, but in this paticular story the tension is handled well between them. You can tell there’s a struggle going on with the Dark Knight, Catwoman’s one of his only love interests he can truly relate to, some would say their soul mates, but there’s a serious problem, Selina is a self-centered theif at heart, she does what she wants whereas the Caped Crusader is so determined to live up to his vow, and as long as they follow their current paths in life they will never be together. (Shakespear tragedy much?)
Other New 52 titles may have taken this adult attitude a bit too far just for the sake of it, like the Suicide Squad (starring one psychotic take on Harley Quinn in a corset and not much else), and Red-Hood and the Outlaws (showcasing a bikini-clad Star-fire). Of course I’m not even counting Voodoo, Men of War, Grifter, and Animal Man, all of which would easily traumatize your average child-psyche.
But for all you warm and cold blooded males out there I highly recommend at least checking out the first issue of Catwoman, if only for the artwork (wink wink) by Guillem March, or the story (nudge nudge) by Judd Winnick, maybe even flip to the last couple pages… because, just wow…
Bout time if you ask me (as if comics weren’t already addicting enough, I’m completely hopelessly hooked). Also, if you dig Batwoman do yourself a favor and checkout the graphic novel ‘Batwoman: Elegy” by Greg Rucka, also accompanied by the art of J.H. Williams III.
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Continued in Part 3: Leagues, Titans and Guardians (oh my!)