Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Batwoman v3: World's Finest TPB

I’m going to give you the short version. TLDR.

I’m being silly. I actually did read this trade, and there is some good stuff in here. But oh my gosh, there are SO MANY WORDS ON THE PAGES. Reading this book became work. I simply couldn’t read the overlapping internal monologues of Batwoman, Wonder Woman, Firehawk, Abbott, Medusa, Agent Chase, Director Bones… and my god, the list goes on and on. Seriously, do we really need deep motivations and thoughts from all these people? I couldn’t take it. By about two thirds of the way through I had to start skimming the caption boxes. I’m not sure if J.H. Williams or W. Haden Blackman is responsible for all this introspective prose, but somebody wants to write a book! The caption boxes often tell a different story than the art!

And I get it. J.H. Williams is an artistic genius. But sometimes his odd panel layouts don’t help. With no panel descriptions and double splash pages filled with different colored caption boxes, I had no idea what to read next. I think I’m a pretty experienced comic reader, yet I found myself totally lost more than once.

The core concept is a strong one. A mythological baddie has kidnapped children, so Batwoman seeks out Wonder Woman for some help. Since the villain fits into her wheelhouse, Diana agrees to lend a hand. Great idea. And the parts of the story with Batwoman trying to fit into Wondy’s world are really exciting. (Especially the tremendous sequence in the Amazonian prison.) In fact, the prison sequence is Williams’ best use of layouts and artistic design in the entire book. It is a fantastic scene.

But man, this story is surprisingly complicated. This is a book definitely written for the hardcore fans of Batwoman. I think I’ve read all her trades so far, but they haven’t made such an impression that I can remember all the details of what’s happening in this comic. Recurring villains don’t have quite the impact they should. Werewolves switching sides and becoming noble don’t have the drama that they should. Simply because I can’t remember who all these people are and what they did in comics that I read three years ago.

Because it is required, I’ll poke some holes in the new 52 timeline. Wasn’t AcroBat inspired by Batman? How can that be when he has an adult daughter but Batman has only been active 5 years? Who are Director Bones’ parents? I assume he was never on Infinity Inc., right? Somehow 52 still counted for this title? But not for other titles in the new 52? Blargh.

I guess I can give this an AVERAGE, but man, it almost falls off the cliff. There are too many neat ideas and wonderful scenes to hate this comic, but I can promise I’ll never read it again. 

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