Sunday, November 28, 2010

Bat Books

Over the weekend, I had a chance to read a couple of books from DC's Batman universe: Knight and Squire and Batwoman.

Knight and Squire #1-2
Paul Cornell & Jimmy Broxton

Spinning out from their recent appearance in Grant Morrion's Batman and Robin are their England counterparts Knight and Squire, written by fan-favorite writer Paul Cornell.  Having had previous experience writing British superheroes on Marvel's Captain Britain and MI-13, Knight and Squire is certainly a suitable first job for Cornell now that he's DC-exclusive.  Cornell hits the ground running in the first issue of the six-issue mini-series, introducing character after character in an enchanted pub where heroes and villains can hang out together without worry of injury, that is until someone finds a way around the magical system.  Included in the rowdy bunch are some odd characters, including a British counterpart to America's Joker, although England's version is a hero.  I won't lie and say that I got all of the British in-jokes, but there's a nice recap page at the back of the issue to get readers like me up to speed.  The second issue sets up an entirely new situation for Knight and Squire, taking place in Great Worden, the little town where Knight and Squire reside, where a little meeting involving magic is going down.  Overall, the first two issues are pretty solid, illustrated by Broxton in what I think of as a Vertigo style of art, the type you see in Vertigo titles like Fables all the time.  It's an offbeat series, but fans of Cornell are probably already familiar with that aspect to his writing, if not drawn to him for that very reason.

Batwoman #0
J.H. Williams III, W. Haden Blackman & Amy Reeder

With Bruce Wayne back in the cowl, he tries to get a handle on all things Gotham that have gone down since his absence, including Batwoman, whom he is pretty sure is Kate Kane, although he's having trouble finding out beyond a shadow of a doubt.  And so Bruce, utilizing many disguises, shadows Kate and Batwoman, testing them and observing their skills.  This is a really smart introduction to Batwoman to new readers, as Bruce Wayne relates her backstory while investigating her, and readers get to see what Batwoman's made of through his eyes.  J.H. Williams co-writes this short story with Blackman, providing the gorgeous art that readers of the Detective Comics featuring Batwoman are familiar with, with scenes featuring her civilian identity illustrated by Reeder.  Very nice set-up for the new series.

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