So I have to be honest, when I discovered Greg Rucka would not be writing Batwoman in The New 52 I felt disheartened and assumed J.H. Williams III, a phenomenal artist, would never be able to come close to filling Rucka’s shoes in the writing department. With Elegy, the previous Batwoman volume before The New 52 arrived, Rucka delivered a respectable, strong, captivating, mature, charismatic character full of complications and likability. In the wrong hands, however, Batwoman could devolve into a token character, a character known only for her lesbianism and similarities to Batman.
I am ecstatic to report that Williams III maintained the character’s respectability and delivered a surprisingly multifaceted story. I was surprised by the complexity of this volume: the villain was horrific and something I’ve never quite seen before; the love story (which had the potential for disaster) was handled tastefully while pulling no punches; the Batman interactions cast Batwoman as a competent peer; the sidekick storyline made perfect sense yet still managed to shock me; and the governmental interference angle regarding her father sowed the seeds for engaging future stories. Blackman, for whom I am unfamiliar, and Williams III absolutely nailed this volume and continued to make Batwoman a must-read just as had Rucka.
Of course, the “look” of Batwoman remains consistent with Williams III providing what has to be the best art in the medium. His execution of both story and art is an example of perfect synergy, and I can’t imagine anyone else creating Batwoman’s world. But it’s not just his art that blows the mind – it’s also his layouts, his sequencing, his mood, and his pacing. To look at a page of Batwoman is to see a master at the top of his game. It’s obvious Williams III takes great care to make every single page count while showing us something new. I fell in love with Williams III work on Promethea and he’s only improved his abilities since.
Everything about Batwoman: Hydrology works and I urge you to give it a chance.