My first foray into the DC comic universe.
Okay, I admit it: I’m a bad geek. I’ve never been much into superheroes or comic books. Masked vigilantes just have never really done it for me – I was always more a fan of Middle Earth than Metropolis, and I’d take a bow and arrow over a cape and cowl any day.
But then my favourite internet blogger/television recapper/geek-girl extraordinaire Heather Hogan started reviewing Batwoman’s solo title in The New 52 over at www.afterellen.com, and I got hooked. Heather writes with so much love and passion about both the characters and the artists, you can’t help but fall in love too, and boy did I. Even before I picked up my own copy of Batwoman: Elegy, before I knew anything about the character’s arc or history, I fell in love with Kate Kane. I mean, the red hair, the ass-kicking she’s constantly dishing out, and it really doesn’t hurt that she’s one of the few out gay superheroes in any comic universe.
So last week I went into my local comic book store (the same place that sold me all my Strangers in Paradise novels last summer!) and found a copy of Elegy. I read it in two hours, that very night, and the only reason it took me that long was because I spent five minutes on every page staring in awe at J. H. Williams III’s breathtaking artwork. I was absolutely blown away. I’ve been reading graphic novels for a few years now, books I’ve picked up mostly because I love the stories and the authors, but Elegy is the first time I’ve ever been wholly transfixed by the artwork in comic.
But obviously it’s not just the artwork that makes Elegy such an amazing read: Greg Rucka is an award-winning writer, and it shows in every panel. Kate Kane’s story is a heart-wrenching look at what happens when your dream is crushed and you have to find another. It’s the story of overcoming one enemy, only realize another has taken its place. It’s a story about losing yourself, and then finding yourself again. It’s a story about family love, and family betrayal. And overall, of course, it is the story of one woman’s fight against the forces of evil that threaten the city and the family she holds most dear. If you don’t believe me, Rachel Maddow is a huge fan of Rucka’s writing, and her introduction to Batwoman: Elegy stops just shy of canonizing him.
Clearly, my first venture into comic books was a huge success – and I’ll be picking up Batwoman: Hydrology just as soon as I can, and probably every subsequent Batwoman title as well. If you read (or now want to read) Batwoman: Elegy, sound off in the comments! And if you have any tips for me about what to read next, please, let me know!