Batwoman: Rebirth #1
Written by Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV
Art by Steve Epting and Jeromy Cox
Lettering by Deron Bennett
Published by DC Comics
‘Rama Rating: 9 out of 10
“I’m not complicated, Batman. War took my family. I lost one way to fight back. I found another.”
Daughter, sister, soldier, ex-party girl, superhero. All these things describe one character - Kate Kane. Batwoman receives her own DC Comics "Rebirth" one-shot before the launch of the title’s first issue, and this story does everything a "Rebirth" title should do. Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV seamlessly explain where the character has been for new readers jumping onto the title, and where the character is going for readers who are already fans of Batwoman.
Kate Kane has gone through a lot of transitions in her life: the loss of her childhood innocence, getting kicked out of West Point for being gay, partying her worries away, and of course becoming Batwoman. This makes for the perfect character piece, as readers witness Kate go through different phases in her life. Bennett and Tynion IV highlight these life defining moments as Kate Kane transitions into a new ongoing title for DC's "Rebirth" era, a brand built on honoring the past while looking towards the future.
This issue does a nice job of not only looking at Kate as an individual, but also the relationships that have shaped her as a person. The story explores the complicated romantic, family, and superhero relationships she has created over the years. I praise Bennett and Tynion IV for giving panel time to all these character connections without putting too much focus on any particular one. It would have been easy just to focus on Kate’s relationship with her father or Batman as the prime relationships in this story, but giving panel time to Kate’s other relationships - particularly her romantic ones - make for a better balanced story.
The pencils by Steve Epting and the colors by Jeremy Cox bring a necessary moody tone to the book. Just like the story, the artwork does a great job showing the changing aspects of Kate’s life throughout the years. The issue opens up with the panels looking like shattered glass, representing different parts of Kate’s life. The glass panels are shaded in red. Cox brings in Batwoman’s iconic red shading throughout the Rebirth issue. These group of panels feel like a throwback to the unique and creative paneling that put Kate back on the map in 2009 with her Detective Comics run.
Batwoman: Rebirth #1 is exactly what a "Rebirth" issue should be. It’s new reader-friendly, but also entertaining for readers who are already fans of the character. Celebrating the past, present, and future of Kate Kane, this one-shot explores the character as an individual and shows how her relationships have affected the paths she’s taken in her life.