Ever since the start, I've been gushing with praise and excitement over Batwoman mainly because of the absolutely amazing art of J.H. Williams III, although I've been a fan of his storytelling as well. However, I've always been nervous about it, because I knew he had a much longer lead time to prepare for this series than the rest of the New 52 seemed to have, since it wasn't originally even supposed to be a part of that initiative – it just kept getting delayed and delayed. I feared that, eventually, the rigors of monthly publishing would catch up to him, and he wouldn't be able to go into the fantastic detail or be quite as intensely creative with layouts as he's been for the first five issues. The fact that Batwoman #5 felt a bit truncated seemed to confirm that, and I was not sure how this series would fare if another artist took over.
In Batwoman #6, that finally happened, but Amy Reeder has done an incredible job with not letting the book miss a beat while Williams scales back to just co-writing with W. Haden Blackman. The layouts are still inventive and, while it may lack the fine-art touches of Williams' work, it's still just as haunting when it needs to be – as you need to be with any story which includes the murder of children.
This issue is broken up into several chunks, focusing on different characters in the cast. Kate Kane's father Jacob takes a moment to try and make amends where he went wrong with Kate by tending to his niece (and Kate's former sidekick) Bette while she recuperates from a brutal attack that nearly killed her. Maggie Sawyer deals with the suffering mother of a missing child. The disgustingly evil Maro murders children in order to augment her mystical power with the help of a man named Falchion. Kate refuses to let her relationship with Maggie deepen beyond living in the moment. DEO agent Cameron Chase annoys the crap out of her new partner Batwoman, but has her life saved by Bat's new bulletproof outfit, courtesy of the U.S. government. And we're bookended by Bats confronting the sickle-handed ogre who gutted her cousin.
It's still a good read, and I love the possibilities with Batwoman working for the DEO, even though Mr. Bones isn't in this one. I have a very low tolerance for mistreatment of children in comics, and this one is brutal in that regard, and hopefully, they won't go any farther with it, now that they've established this Maro as an unmitigated evil. It's creepy and horrifying as is, but dwelling on that any more will make it exploitative and angering – I don't care how rote they make it seem on Law & Order: SVU.
The main thing to take away from this is, while we'll certainly miss the treat for the eyes that Williams' art is, Reeder is certainly no slouch, and she does a great job of maintaining the mood and tone that has been established with this series. Thus, Batwoman is still good stuff.
CRAVE ONLINE RATING: 8/10