Batwoman #2: Hydrology Part II: Infiltrator (from The Batmom January 2012)

COVERGIRL: Very much in keeping with cover #1. Tonal victory! Same fiery reds and watery greens, but unlike the bold pose she struck on cover #1, this Batwoman is fighting to keep her head above water.

INSIDE STORY: Batwoman and Flamebird kick bad-guy ass while chatting about Batman. Speaking of the dark Broodmeister, he appears in a gorgeous spread, full of foreboding.

(I’d like to see an episode in which Batman’s totally full of shit, talking nonsensical trash about Alfred and Robin while swigging from a Mickey’s Big Mouth.)

He warns against Agent Chase, who works for the Dept. of Extranormal Operations, a secret government agency with a penchant for unmasking Batpeople. He warns against allowing Bette to help with the Llorona case.

Meanwhile, Agent Chase corners Detective Sawyer saying she’s a prime Batwoman suspect. Sawyer’s not Batwoman, but wants to catch her. She does catch Kate Kane, at least long enough for a date. Kate wears an adorable elvish newsboy outfit. Sawyer’s sporting duds borrowed from Cagney’s closet. No surprise Kate declines to spend the night.

(I realize I’m critiquing clothing right after a post decrying excess attention to superheroine body parts. I’m complex that way. Or merely confused.)

Actually, Kate’s dropping Sawyer to pursue the Weeping Woman. Sea-green Llorona has sucked the breath of another young victim. Batwoman must catch her, and fast. But where?

Poking through police files, BW learns the Llorona biz started at “the boathouse.” She heads to the mountains forthwith. Not really. I just wanted to say “forthwith.”

She heads to the boathouse, but not before shoving Detective Sawyer, who tattles to Agent Chase. Under the boathouse, in the water, Batwoman looks purposeful … until she’s dragged down by the waves. Just like her dead twin sister.

RAMBLE: I am a word girl. When I look at art, I translate image into narrative. I read the notes at art exhibits. I appreciate Frank Lloyd Wright thanks to T.C. Boyle. I like Picasso because of Gertrude Stein.

For me to stop and gape at the art like a highway rubbernecker … uncharacteristic. But I just keep returning to the first few pages of Batwoman #2 for another visual hit of comic book smack.

I love Batwoman’s signature red-orange. It’s fire and it’s power and it’s not Primary Superhero Red.

I love the x-ray boxes at impact points: Where Batwoman’s fist hits bad guy ribs; where Flamebird’s elbow hits bad guy radius; where Batwoman’s fist hits bad guy jaw. Not only do the boxes carry through on the skeletal theme, but they also serve as visual sound effects. There are no words, but the images convey KRAK PAKKK KRAKOW. I’d show you, but the DC Guy told me if the image is not on their site, I am not allowed to post it.

I love everything about the title page: the silent, shadowy Bat army; the retro look of the teal-suited bad man; Batwoman’s orange against canary yellow; the thick, black, lightning bolt lines dividing frames; the small-fonted Kate Kane bio in the bottom left corner.

During the action, Batwoman tells Flamebird that Batman wants her to join Batman, Inc., a new “worldwide organization of Batmen.” The visuals conjure the Bat-verse more than any words could, and also connect Batman’s long-storied past with the present.

I’m going go all English Major and pretend the title pages means this:

The ’60s-evoking bad guy represents the past, what with his doctor’s bag full of buckaroos and his fedora. (That or he’s some famous bad guy I don’t recognize.) Batwoman, who is so bold she middle-fingered the military by refusing to bow to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, represents the present and future. She is kicking the be-jesus out of Ye Olde Baddie and smashing outdated notions of what a superhero is, what with her girlfriends and her sensibly-heeled AND sexy boots.

Can a co-op led by an old-school, man-in-charge superhero like Batman accommodate The Batwoman?

I hope so. I’d like to see Batwoman rattle some belfries.