J.H. Williams III has released more information about his departure from Batwoman with co-writer W. Haden Blackman — in a post on his blog Thursday.
Although this week's Batwoman #24 is the final issue written by Blackman and Williams — before next month's first issue by new writer Marc Andreyko — Williams said their story was originally intended to end with Batwoman #26.
"The big showdown between Batwoman and Batman kicks off this issue [#24]," he said. "And [the story] was going to run into the next two issues, a real knockdown, heavy-hitting battle. This issue was only the first part of it."
Williams said he's "depressed over this a bit" because the arc won't have a conclusion. "We apologize to you readers for that," he said. "It wasn't what we wanted to happen."
Williams and Blackman quit Batwoman in September by publicly declaring their differences with editorial over several changes that were made to their story. In a blog post on both Williams' and Blackman's websites, they cited "eleventh-hour" changes as the motivation for their departure, then specifically mentioned a few changed plot points, including DC's direction that Batwoman could not marry her girlfriend.
Many news outlets picked up the last bit — the company's refusal to allow the gay marriage to take place — making the story even more inflammatory than the writer intended, as Williams stated, "We were told emphatically no marriage can result, but must clarify — was never put to us as being anti-gay marriage."
Andreyko, who takes over as writer on Batwoman in November, specifically addressed the marriage issue in an interview with Newsarama: "The lack of wanting the characters to get married had nothing to do with their sexuality."
The new writer also said he wouldn't be changing the character or her story when he takes over: "J.H. and Haden have done such a great job establishing such a distinct personality for Kate Kane, that picking up the reins from where they left off is not only going to be a lot of fun, but it's a great responsibility, because they created such a rich character."
Williams comments yesterday indicate that, when the "fallout" over the writing team's departure hit in September, he and Blackman had already written and turned in the script for next month's issue #25.
"At this point I don’t think [Blackman and Williams' version of issue #25] will ever be published," he said. "Issue #26 was to be the final chapter of the arc and is left unwritten by us currently. So DC isn’t publishing the end of the arc. Or at least not in any way we intended. If there is ever an offering of a conclusion to the last 7 months of storytelling, it most likely will be by the hands of others, and we have no idea how exactly that direction will proceed."
Williams said the final issue was intended to "wrap things up" and "serve as an adequate end cap" to the run, which started more than two years ago. The writers were planning "the reveal of Bones’ past, just how he connects to Kate and Beth Kane, and a confrontation with Jacob Kane and his Murder Of Crows… We were going to give large plot points on how Beth became Alice. Bette Kane a.k.a. Hawkfire shocked and horrified by something Alice/Beth does during the rescue mission. Ultimately bring the entire family to some form of a beginning to heal, and how Maggie would fit into all of this. Chase, seeing the horrors of what Director Bones is doing, was going to cause her to make a radical decision that would forever change her life."
The ending, he said, was "all set up after altering a major plot point to suit DC’s needs."
Currently, Williams is still the expected artist on this spring's DC/Vertigo mini-series Sandman: Overture, which he's creating with writer Neil Gaiman.