Batwoman #1: Hydrology Part 1: Leaching (from The Batmom January 2012)

COVERGIRL: Fiery. Red hair and swirling red and a superimposed skull and fish skeletons. Aside from the skull eyes reminding me a little of the Grinch, I like it. I know right away the story will contain death, water, and some fiery action in the form of Batwoman. Powerful and also, I presume, very plot-driven, which this story-seeker likes in a cover.

INSIDE STORY: A sensuous spectre known as Llorona, or the Weeping Woman, renders parents breathless and absconds with their children, leaving behind the scent of the sea.

Batwoman promises a pair of heartbroken parents she will find their children. On-the-case Detective Sawyer, who reminds me of a blonde Mary Beth Lacey, promises she will not give up. Sawyer and Batwoman (conducting separate investigations) must work quickly: Six children have drowned and another 13 are missing.

Nice co-inky-dink, the whole Sawyer-on-the-case thing, because Batgirl’s alter-ego Kate Kane has herself a crush on the attractive detective. They make a date.

When Batwoman isn’t fighting crime or macking on detectives, she’s training her cousin Bette, aka Teen Titan’s Flamebird. And yelling at her dad, Jake Kane.

Jake swears evildoers killed Kate’s mother and twin sister Beth. Kate believes Beth transformed into super villain Alice, now drowned dead in Gotham Harbor.

Also Batman shows up. In the snow. In the woods. I don’t know why.

Also, we meet a skull-head in a suit, who reminds me of Cigarette Smoking Man from X-Files. (AKA the mayor of SMALLVILLE. All connected, people.)

Cigarette Smoking Skullhead delivers orders to one Agent Chase, who reminds me of Madonna in Express Yourself. CSS assigns Agent Chase to Gotham to investigate a mysterious organization called Medusa and a caped crusader known only as THE BATWOMAN.

Where are the files on the case? Classified by one (dum dum dum) AGENT JAKE KANE.

RAMBLE: Confession: I almost forgot Batwoman #1 when I started writing. Didn’t stay with me. I remembered Batwoman was either lesbian or bisexual because I thought that might be progressive in what I assumed to be a primarily hetero genre. Googling reveals I’m happily wrong; more research to follow.

My forgetting Batwoman doesn’t bode well, but I liked it, in a low-key sorta way. For the first round, it’s to my comic book list as Parks & Rec is to my TV list. Hanging around in the middle.

Holding off on Batgirl/Batwoman comparisons, but as for their villains, the Mirror’s got nothing on Weeping Woman Llorona. She reeks of mythy backstory and has me intrigued.

My biggest complaint with Batwoman is information overload. This might simply be a reality of the genre. Comic book writers have so little space in which to tell complex stories, they cram facts into every tiny comic book crevice. When I get to a point at which I can say “in retrospect,” I might well say, “In retrospect, Batwoman #1 was neither more or less full of facts than any other well-stocked comic book.”

To end, I’d like to introduce a section I’ll be calling The Super Sexy (for more discussion, read “I Break for Boobs.”) Batwoman #1 features several panels of Bette & Kate changing clothes. Kate in her bra. Bette removing her shirt. Bette in her skivvies. Is this really necessary? I’m coming quickly to realize superheroine exposition is a part of the genre. But again I ask – necessary? I’m guessing the sales department thinks so.