Batwoman and Wonder Woman have fun in an Amazonian Arkham Asylum.
The pairing up of Batwoman and Wonder Woman has reinvigorated the title. It also helps that J.H. Williams III is back on art for this story arc. This is an engaging and visually impressive issue from start to finish and allows the title to reclaim its place as one of the best books on the stands.
J.H. Williams III continues to produce inventive and beautiful images throughout this issue. Every page is littered with stunning renditions of characters and their environments. Williams attention to detail is matched by his strength as a visual storyteller. Directing our eyes around the page with such artistry, he infuses the book with a rhythm that makes it a joy to read. The incidental Batwoman/Wonder Woman iconography allows the book to have great rereading potential. Williams gives the book an atmosphere that is rarely seen in the medium, using Nyx as the perfect visual tool to represent the books focus on themes of fear. As always Williams’ manipulation of layouts continues to add more levels to an already detailed visual experience. At this moment the title is the best looking book on the stands. Pushing the medium to tell a compelling story using stunning imagery.
However it isn’t just the art that makes the book great. Williams and his writing partner W. Haden Blackman deliver a well executed and perfectly paced narrative that balances plot, character and action. It is not often that a book can look so good and actually have the narrative to back it up. But this creative team has captured lightning in a bottle with this new story arc. Wonder Woman allows the book to invest time in mythology and mysticism whilst not allowing the whole thing to seem silly. Unlike the previous arc it is acknowledged that Batwoman is out of her depth and this creates a lot of solid character building for Kate. The character narrations are used to full effect. Williams and Blackman mirror these narrations so that we get exactly what these characters are thinking about whilst in the same situation. Batwoman’s description of Wonder Woman is not only a fantastic read, but is juxtaposed with Wonder Woman’s thoughts on her. It is a great narrative device and allows for a better understanding of the book’s cast. The narrations also help to create more depth and they are incorporated into the art so they read seamlessly rather than forced upon us.
The books pacing is also another aspect to be praised as the writing team waste no pages and keep the story moving. Focus shifts are dealt with like mini chapter breaks, which allow the book to have some time with the rest of the cast. It also helps that these little vignettes advance sub-plots and build character for the supporting cast. Make no mistake this is a master-class in writing. The fact that the writers can define a major character in one page is a testament to their talents. Even the issue’s mirrored bookends are filled with character motivation and plot progression that never feel forced or cumbersome.
This is truly a wondrous piece of work. Williams and Blackman have outdone themselves with this issue. It begs to be read and with such a rich visual identity and compelling story it would be a shame to not include it in your weekly hauls. The title may have struggled with its previous story arc, but this is something else. In fact its something special.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|A beautiful book with fantastic characters and a excellent story.||None|