Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Wait is Over! Lesbians! And other women, too.

Ladies and gentleman and genderqueer compatriots: Kate Kane has arrived. She's tough, she's smart, she's got an extreme lack of pigmentation, and she's the goddamn Batwoman.


So Kate Kane is really sorta gay. And if I had a scanner, I'd scan the proof. The tattoos, the music posters, the vests... wow. Gaaay. And openly gay. Which is cool. And openly gay with an (ex) military father, which is even cooler. Suck that, DADA (Don't Ask Don't Tell, for the non-acronyming among you). I'm definitely glad femme-socialiate-extreme Kate is gone, but I'm not sure what to make of the Kate left behind.

Besides the fact that she looks like a vampire. Seriously, would it kill you guys to give her some skin color? I thought it would be an as-Batwoman-only thing, but nope.

I enjoy the contrast between the black/white/red (all over, heh heh heh) panels of Batwoman and the more colorful panels of Kate (especially when compared with The Question's panels). It gives the Batwoman scenes a really great neo-noir feel, which is a lot of fun to have with a female lead detective. But I knew they were hyping the extreme red of her costume and hair for a reason... and that reason is apparently going to be an Alice in Wonderland themed story arc, with a villain named Alice that is very very white. Like. White Queen versus Red Queen. GET IT? GET IT?

I like that the Religion of Crime is still around, though their name is still stupid, but seriously. Alice? Really? Bleh. And if they're around, why the hell is Montoya in Los Angeles?

Anyway. Those quibbles aside, I liked the issue for what it was: an overview and introduction to the "new" Kate Kane. There were some broader things I didn't like, that I think reflect the theme of women heroes in comic books, which I will happily rant about now, after once more saying that I did like the issue and I'm still looking forward to Rucka's run with Kate on Detective Comics.

Issue the first: getting Batman's permission. Oh please. Does he say "this one's yours" to every Bat-related person wandering around Gotham? And don't try to pass this off as a "it's Dick, he's new" thing. It was a thematic choice. Batwoman's okay with Batman, so she should be okay with us.

Yeah, she's okay on her own, thanks. She's dealt with the RoC (seriously, stupid name) before, had her heart almost cut out, turned into a Fury, and knows the score. Go away, Dick, and deal with Damian.

Issue the second: a female nemesis for a female hero. Tired. I probably don't need to go into it, and I'm sleepy and have the entire arc of the "Rise of the Olympians" (I waited) to read, but needless to say: blech.

By the way, I'm not sure how I feel about switching over from the "snooty, closeted socialite" cover to the "partying, sleeps-around lesbian" cover, but we'll see. We'll also see if Kate gets as much action as her straight counterparts, or if it's more like TV. You know, where people say they're dating, but mostly they hold hands or brush each others' hair.

Meanwhile, Renee is in L.A. working as, essentially, a PI with no face. Which I guess is consistent? I know she's just a co-feature, but considering how important she was in InfiniteLastUltimateWePromiseSuper Final Crisis (and the entire arc of the damn RoC, who are now main villains in Gotham), you'd think she'd be doing something more interesting. Maybe that will develop. Or maybe not. I'm actually okay reading Renee Montoya doing just about anything, so I don't know why I'm complaining.

Page 1 Panel 1

Renee is seated on an over-sized chair, chin in her right hand, watching paint dry. We look over her shoulder at the beige wall. There is no art on the wall and there are no windows in the room. It's lit from above by a single, energy-efficient light bulb. Renee is wearing a tank top and jeans, and her fedora rests on the left arm of the chair.

Page 1 Panel 2

Repeat of Panel 1

Renee Thought: This is interesting.

Page 1 Panel 3

Repeat of Panels 1 &2

No, really.

I'd read that.

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