BATWOMAN #12
BATWOMAN #12 by Marguerite Bennett, Scott Godlewski, John Rauch, and Deron Bennett
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
This installment may mostly be a flashback, but it's just as impactful as any BATWOMAN issue -- maybe more so. Via symbols and reveals, it will elevate back-issues and inform the rest of the series to come. Mysteries are solved and hearts are broken in this visually enticing piece. It also has a pretty poignant message to send about love and relationships.
90 %
Not Just A Flashback Issue

Let’s be real. BATWOMAN was never easy reading. It’s deep, it’s emotional, and it’s poignant. It often deals with difficult themes, pain, and trauma. It’s not for the faint of heart. Still, it’s enjoyable as hell. BATWOMAN #12 puts these traits on display perfectly. Beware, there are spoilers below!

A Flashback Issue

Kate Kane is on a mission to find her former love, Safiyah, when she thinks back to their past together. Those memories are where BATWOMAN #12 lives.

We’ve seen a little bit of the relationship between Kate and Safiyah. We know how the beloved foxes on their island became ravenous and destructive and all had to be destroyed. We’ve witnessed the pain, and we’ve seen the good times between these two. This, however, is the first issue entirely dedicated to the end of that relationship and to solving the mystery of the foxes.

BATWOMAN #12
BATWOMAN #12 page 4. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The couple is trying to figure out what’s happened to the beautiful animals when Safiyah claims she knows the truth. She accuses a local of the island, Maksim, of poisoning them. He doesn’t exactly deny it, but attacks Kate instead, calling her a siren and an outsider who’s corrupting their leader. The other locals kill him, violently.

It’s that night when Kate realizes that she was the one who brought the toxins affecting the foxes to the island. This rattles her with guilt, especially after watching Maksim’s murder. What’s worse, Safiyah knew the truth the whole time.

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Kate argues with Safiyah and attempts to leave, disgusted that her lover would let something like this happen to an innocent person. Safiyah isn’t into letting her go and sends Tahani after her. Of course, Kate escapes. In the present day, this story helps Kate figure out where Safiyah is hiding her sister.

Captivating Art

Throughout, we see brilliant artwork from Scott Godlewski, John Rauch, and Deron Bennett. Godlewski is a master of facial expressions, and his foxes are both delightful and terrifying. Rauch’s colors set the tone perfectly with a muted palette, with striking reds on top.

BATWOMAN #12
BATWOMAN #12 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Bennet has some incredible lettering moments, especially his opening “KRKA—THOOM” lightning strike. What a way to start an issue.

A Symbol Becomes More Powerful

The foxes on Coryana have always been a symbol of Kate and Safiyah’s relationship. It was once wonderful and perfect, but the relationship was poisoned and destroyed somewhere along the line, just like the foxes. The cause of both of these demises was unclear to readers, until BATWOMAN #12. Now, we know the problem with the foxes caused the relationship’s end. This makes the two concepts even more intertwined and powerful.

BATWOMAN #12
BATWOMAN #12 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Simply put, writer Marguerite Bennett is damn good at her job.

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The buildup to this reveal was impeccable, and the decision to give this flashback a full issue was a brave — and the correct — one. While some may see it as a filler installment, it only elevates the rest of the series. Rereading the issues that have come before will be a whole new experience because of what we know now. The installments that are still to come will only be more impactful through this lens. It’s masterful storytelling, and it’s everything we love about BATWOMAN.

A Difficult, Important Truth In BATWOMAN #12

Relationships are hard. Love is impossible. Feelings make you do weird stuff, like ignoring what’s right in front of you. BATWOMAN #12 shows us all that even the totally badass Kate Kane isn’t immune to these truths. When we’re in love, we tend to idealize the ones we’re with, especially in the beginning.

BATWOMAN #12
BATWOMAN #12 page 7. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Kate is shocked to see Safiyah have Maksim killed after she promised he was forgiven. She never saw that in her.This dark side only comes out more when Kate realizes that she’s the one who poisoned the foxes and Safiyah says some truly hurtful things to her. “You destroy everything you touch,” is a particularly brutal comment.

It doesn’t matter how strong you are — you can still be fooled by someone you’re in love with. That’s an important thing for anyone and everyone to realize, but it’s especially impactful for victims of abusive relationships. There’s no shame in it, and it’s never your fault. Abusers are everywhere, and they’re deceptive. No one is immune to this. Not even Batwoman.

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