Andreyko, Marc. Batwoman, Volume 5: Webs (The New 52), DC Comics, 2014. Unpaged. ISBN: 978-1401250829. $19.99.
Through the last volumes of Batwoman, fans have cheered for Kate Kane not only because she’s a woman, a lesbian, and a masked hero but also because readers feel the fierce determination that drives her to help Gotham City and the people she loves. We’ve seen Kate conflicted over the fate of her sister-turned-villain, want to protect Maggie (the love of her life), and do what’s right by her own moral code… even if it means betraying Batman.
In Volume 5: Webs, readers are introduced to a new creative team for Kate’s story, a new team that has caused a bit of a riff between DC Comics and fans. The art is good—in fact some of it quite good—but not as great as in the previous volumes. In the past, we’ve seen memorable panels filled with meticulous detail and coloring. Here in Webs, there’s really nothing extraordinary. In terms of the plot and writing, something is missing. Devoted readers will be intrigued by the ‘Year Zero’ storyline; I thought it complimented Batman quite nicely. But sometimes it seemed like narrative decisions were often made by the creative team based on easy transitions into the next scene with dumbed-down dialogue instead of based on the authentic movement of the story.
The issue of Kate’s gayness in the military was talked about more in depth than in previous volumes, but I wish it had been developed even more. Even the past relationship with Sophie could have been expanded. The introduction of Natalia Mitternacht and the Black Widow, her character, was welcomed, but it seemed predictable. The writing team should have taken more of a chance with the new plot setup: a vampire storyline seems obvious and dated. At the end, I do admire Kate’s decision to sacrifice her happiness for Maggie’s daughter, but her negotiation with the homophobic ex-husband left a bad taste in my mouth.
While I wouldn’t recommend this comic for personal purchase, I would recommend it to public libraries that are invested in the Batman universe or those who have extensive graphic novel collections. The new creative team still has to find their footing, but adoring fans will still want to see what happens to Kate Kane.
Public Services Librarian