DC’s the “New 52” – which reboots fifty-two of their comic books, starting them over from issue number one – hasn’t shied away from making some bold decisions with the DC Universe. The company even drew some headlines recently for having the incarnations of Superman and Wonder Woman become a couple. Needless to say, some transitions more than others have been rocky.

Enter Batwoman, written and drawn by J.H. Williams III. With a mix of noir and fantastic art, the comic and character easily stand out among its New 52 counterparts. Kate Kane survived a kidnapping by terrorists who killed her mother and caused her twin sister’s disappearance. She then enrolled at West Point in order to follow in her father’s footsteps but was expelled due to her sexual orientation while the policy “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was still in place. Later, she became Batwoman, and issue one begins well after she has taken up the moniker.

Hydrology,” the first arc, pits Batwoman against a foe that is surprisingly mystical in nature, a twist not many readers would see coming, given the crime-fighting nature of the Batman mythos. But the supernatural element fits perfectly with the Victorian, gothic element of Batwoman, and the noirish aspects of the story play very well with Batwoman’s corner of the DC Unvierse.

What sets “Batwoman” apart from its New 52 counterparts are amazing panels that are framed with water and the creases in Batwoman’s cape. They admirably set the noir mood, having an almost hypnotic effect on readers, drawing them in and making them heavily invest in the character and story. It’s also interesting to see the plot have an impact of sorts on the larger DC canon. Overall, Batwoman makes the case that although a large number of the New 52 may draw headlines for bombastic events, the quieter stories like Batwoman (and to some extent Scott Snyder’s “Batman”) are adding weight and gravity to the universe. It’s definitely worth checking out.

ComicsVerse rating: 3.5 out of 4 stars.

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