In a press release today, DC Comics announced that Batwoman will be getting her own ongoing series as part of DC Rebirth in February 2017. Like most of the Rebirth series, there will be a Batwoman Rebirth one-shot in February followed by Batwoman #1. She hasn’t had a solo series of her own since April 2015. She was originally created in the 2006 weekly series 52 and is one of DC’s first lesbian superheroes.
But what you should really get excited for is the creative team on this comic. The first arc of Batwoman will be co-written by James Tynion IV (Hellblazer) and Marguerite Bennett (DC’s Bombshells). Tynion has been doing an excellent job writing Kate Kane as the co-protagonist in Detective Comics where she is training the next generation of Gotham’s heroes, including Cassandra Cain, Spoiler, and surprisingly, the former villain Clayface. Batwoman is also currently teaming up with Batman in the “Monster Men” crossover, which is spread across all the Bat-titles as she trades Gotham City crooks and paramilitary organizations for kaijus.
After the crossover, Tynion and Bennett will co-write an arc of Detective Comics titled “Batwoman Begins” as Batwoman finds out that poison from the kaijus’ bodies is being used as a weapon. She will travel the globe and try to track it down, and this will create the premise of the first arc of her solo series.
By getting Marguerite Bennett to co-write Batwoman, DC Comics shows that they are committing to diversity both in their stories and in the creative teams of their comics. Bennett has previously written Batwoman in the digital-first comic Bombshells, which is set during WWII and features a large variety of DC heroines. One of them is Kate Kane, a socialite turned adventurer, who is in a relationship with and beats up criminals with baseball bats in a fun twist. In the press release, she reveals her love for Batwoman, saying “To be a queer woman and to see a queer woman as not just a part but a pillar of the Bat-family was life changing, inspiring and gave me the courage to pursue this career in comics. The opportunity to add to Kate Kane’s story and legacy is both an honor and a sincere dream come true.”
Bennett is the first queer woman to write a Batwoman solo series, and she is a perfect fit for the character. Batwoman stories in the past have veered close to the urban fantasy and horror genres. Bennett has shown an aptitude for both kind of stories in her Angela comics for Marvel and her super freaky creator-owned series Insexts for Aftershock. She also wrote one of the most compelling lesbian relationships in mainstream comics between Angela and Sera in Marvel’s Angela, Queen of Hel and hopefully Kate Kane will find some love between all the ass kicking and traveling in Batwoman.
Batwoman comics in the past have been known for their striking artwork and gorgeous panel layouts courtesy of J.H. Williams III and Amy Reeder, who drew Batwoman #0 and several issues of her ongoing series. The series returns to this tradition of visual excellence by tapping Steve Epting as the series artist. Epting is known for runs on Marvel’s FF and Captain America and Image Comics’ Velvet, a Cold War espionage thriller featuring a 40 year old female spy. He collaborated with Eisner Award winning writer Ed Brubaker on Captain America and Velvet and drew both the death of the Human Torch and the return of Bucky Barnes from the dead in the famous “Winter Soldier” arc.
Epting hasn’t drawn for DC since his run on Aquaman run since 2000, and his return is a major coup for the publisher. He has a beautiful, fluid art style and draws action scenes that pop out of the page, like every time Captain America throws his (mighty) shield or when Velvet Templeton kicks an enemy agent. I’m looking forward to the action scenes he, Bennett, and Tynion place Kate Kane in, and how he translates her military training to the page. His presence on the title shows that DC is serious about making Batwoman an aesthetically pleasing book like when J.H. Williams was drawing the “Elegy” storyline or several arcs of the last Batwoman volume.
With its connection to James Tynion’s excellent run on Detective Comics, Marguerite Bennett’s passion for the character and personal connection to her as a queer woman, and the artistic talent of Steve Epting, Batwoman is a comic worth picking up in February 2017 and will join its pantheon of great comics starring queer characters, like Hellblazer, Deadman, Wonder Woman, Harley Quinn, and Midnighter and Apollo.