Today is a good day. Today is, in fact, a frabjous joyous day of days.
Not because it's hot and the sun's shining. Not because I've had a great day in therapy and I'm 'getting along fine'. Not because I've arranged my first succesful shift swap at the Science Museum and will be around to supervise the Grant family activity I developed. Not because I had a great lunch with silveronthetree
, whom I hadn't seen in a while. Not even because I'm on the up with PhD work and actually discovered something sciencey
No, today is a day I've been looking forward to for a while and fully lived up to expectations.
Yes, I had been waiting for ruckawriter
's run on Tec to start ever since I finished reading Five Lessons in Blood
, even to the point of going to look at preview pages as a pick-me-ip. So much so that i was sure I was going to be disappointed.
So very much not.
Kate's had a bit of a reinvention when we saw he last; the closeted spoiled motivation-girl to Renee Montoya's Question. Now she's a tatooed, stylish determined fighter with some sort of childhood trauma in her past that she's working to overcome along with her most recent run ins with the Religion of Crime.
This new Kate Kane is liekly not closeted - she meets a girlfriend in a public place for breakfast after all - and lives with an army Colonel father, who knows and aides her in her fight, but, Rucka takes pains to point out, isn't the easy stereotype of a hard-pushing vicariously living father from the Richard Drake mold (Dinah Drake's pushy cop father, for those who aren't DC heroine geeks). Col. Kane balances training with paternal concern, and is closest to being a Giles to Kate's Buffy. In the second feature, Vic Sage's old friend Tot is acting a bit Watcher-like to Renee. I do hope Rucka doesn't think action heroines need a man to support them. (Actually, I'm pretty certain he doesn't. Lots of good heroes have support. What is Batman without Alfred?).
The Crime Bible plot I can take or leave; the story of the issue is really just to establish Kate's character, supporting cast and the newest villain. Oh, and to script out the art.
And what art. Holy crap, the art
told me that J.H. Williams III was one of the best artists on DC's rosta, but somehow that didn't prepare me for this feast of gorgeous atr combined with a breathtaking layout. I worried a little that the layouts might be too busy, difficult to follow, but instead they just add not just to the drama of the action scenes, but the wonderful differentiation of the comic.
There are three separate styles being employed here, not just by Williams, but supplemented by Dave Stewart on the colours, which relate to three different parts of Kate's life. The Batwoman pages are stark and dramatic, all colours muted except for the red on her costume and lips and a jagged bat shaped layout that adds urgency and action. When Kate's at a breakfast date, everything's simple, bold and almost cartoonish with traditional comic box-shaped panels; Anna doesn't know Kate very well and there's an act being put on for her: a facade of a normal life. Another scene change later and we get to see Kate and her Pop in her studio, and there's another art shift, somewhere between the hyperrealism low saturation Batwoman and the clean bold public Kate, there are lines of their faces and expressions in their eyes, breaking out of panels for flashbacks and emotion, then transitioning smoothly as Kate changes in and out of costume.
It's exactly what I want out of a comic, and graphic story telling, and I'm delighted to have another title to genuinely look forward to every week. Bring on next month.