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Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka

Batwoman: Elegy (2010)

by Greg Rucka, J. H. Williams III

Other authors: Todd Klein (Letterer)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Detective Comics TPBs (854-860)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4402535,072 (4.22)32
  1. 40
    Promethea, Volume 1 by Alan Moore (ryvre)
    ryvre: Both feature gorgeous art by J.H. Williams III.
  2. 00
    Watchmen by Alan Moore (sweetiegherkin)
    sweetiegherkin: I enjoyed the back stories in both, seeing how regular people end up as costumed vigilantes.
  3. 00
    The Authority: Relentless by Warren Ellis (MyriadBooks)

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» See also 32 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
Not necessarily fond of the lesbian angle, but a good comic overall. Prep for the DCnU forthcoming title. ( )
  morbusiff | Sep 20, 2018 |
Some bits of the ongoing story had me confused a couple of times, but you eventually figure out what is going on with that part of the story. The rest of the story? Excellent. Good characters, with good dialogue and a good plot. In a comic book? Yup. This has one of the most believable set-ups of any comic I've read. Batwoman has good motivation, and her abilities are explained in a way that makes you wish more comic books would have their heroes use common sense and actually listen to good advice. ( )
  Eric.Cone | Sep 28, 2017 |
Batwoman: Elegy collects issues #854-860 of Detective Comics in a single-volume, glossy, hardbound edition. It’s quite a beautiful presentation, and I must admit I loved having the opportunity to consume the entire series in one sitting, as opposed to sampling it one monthly issue at a time.

As the story begins, Kate Kane – cast out of WestPoint in disgrace, but still every bit a soldier – finds herself confronted with a madwoman known as Alice, who speaks and acts as if she truly were in Wonderland. Alice has come to claim her place as head of the 13 covens of the Religion of Crime, but she’s also come to fulfill a prophecy of doom that has already haunted the Batwoman once before.

Since this is a graphic novel, I’d like to begin by commenting on the artwork. There are 3 distinct styles used within the saga, each deliberately tailored to an individual aspect of the story. A glossy, stylized, vibrantly coloured approach is used for the basic superhero storyline, and it suits the overall tone nicely. It isn’t until the other styles appear, however, that you begin to appreciate just how carefully crafted the approach is. When the story strays into the supernatural elements of werewolves and other monsters, the artwork becomes harsher and edgier – even the lettering becomes jagged and crisp. Later, when we slip into flashback mode and witness the events that led Kate to become the Batwoman, the style changes again, becoming plain, washed out, and a little more ‘classic’ or retro.

As for the storytelling, it’s told entirely through dialogue – there are no narrative asides, bridges, or commentary to ease the reader along. While that can bring a weaker comic to it’s knees, the dialogue here is very well written, easily conveying the depth and significance of each scene, even while sounding (so to speak) natural to the ears. Alice’s dialogue is a challenge, but entirely suited to her Wonderland psychosis, and is at-times lifted word-for-word from Lewis Carroll’s masterpiece. It helps that the artwork is so well done, clearly conveying the urgency of the storyline though an overlapping series of beautiful, often frantic, frames.

On the surface, this is a story about two women, each the opposite of the other – the Batwoman in black, and Alice in white. Both are damaged, and both are consumed by the single-minded pursuit of their goals, but where the Batwoman takes strength from her damaged past, Alice seems fractured because of it. There’s a connection between the two women that I won’t spoil here, but I will say it’s teased well enough and long enough that the final reveal is more of an ‘ah-hah!’ than a ‘huh?” moment.

Of course, it’s impossible to review the adventures of the Batwoman without commenting on what made her such a media sensation – her sexuality. Yes, it’s true, Kate Kane is an out-and-proud lesbian. What’s important, though, is that this isn’t some cheap publicity stunt, and it’s never played for the titillation factor. Kate’s sexuality is a defining element of her personality. Following her expulsion from WestPoint, there’s a single page, a sequence of 6 washed-out retro frames, which deal with her coming out to her father, and with the consequences of being publicly outed. It’s one of the best coming out scenes I’ve ever read/seen, and the side-by-side panels of Kate’s facial expression, followed by her father’s, tell more story in 4 words and 2 glances than should be possible.

Gay or straight, male of female, if you don’t come away from this story without respecting and admiring the Batwoman, then clearly you’re on the wrong side . . . and will likely be getting a blood-red boot to the chest in a future issue.
( )
1 vote bibrarybookslut | Jul 5, 2017 |
  nerdythor | May 30, 2017 |
First Impressions!

This hardcover collection by DC Comics of Detective issues 854-860 attracted me for several reasons. Batwoman, Kathy Kane, has been out of circuulation for a few decades. [The Supergirls: Fashion, Feminism, Fantasy, and the History of Comic Book Heroines] She was originally created in response to Dr. Wertham's (Seduction of the Innocent,[Seduction of the Innocent] a treatise on the "evils" of comic books and its supposed influence on juvenile delinquency in the paranoid 1950s) assertion that Batman and Robin were gay. Kane in those Golden Age stories was a character who kept her 50s femininity in place and beat up the bad guys with a few well-placed kicks and a few tricks from her utility belt.

Batwoman: Elegy is a different kind of tale. She's DC Comics' gay character in comics. I was curious how they were going to play it. Were they going to just placate the current token issue of the day or were they going to come up with a plan of action?

DC Comics has been at the forefront of controversy and telling its stories of realism and the issues of the day for many years. Neal Adams' Green Arrow/Green Lantern series with Denny O'Neill's stories of drug addiction and the anxiety and strain on families was one such awesome example. [Green Lantern/Green Arrow Collection - Volume 2

So I picked up 'Elegy'. What's it going to be, DC? Are you going to play this right? And they did.

First, let's clear up the word 'Elegy.' What's that mean, anyway?

n : a mournful poem; a lament for the dead [syn: lament]

Mourning. Death? What's this about?

Katie Kane in this tale is part of a military family. She was born as twins, with her sister Beth. As with Bruce Wayne's origin story, Katie has two major incidents of horror happen in her life: one, the kidnapping and killing of her twin sister and her mother. The other: being rejected by the military that she loves because it is found out that she is gay.

DC Comics takes the current controversy of 'don't ask - don't tell' and takes it to a young conflicted woman. With no real purpose, a few minor relationships here and there with other women (tastefully done by the way) what's she to do?

With the help of her military father and his resources they create a persona that will strike fear into the hearts of crime -- and to tackle her first big evil, a woman to rival the Joker in terms of bloodthirsty activity and a plan to kill millions!

So what's up with "elegy" then?

The Batwoman's origin story of the murder of her mother and sister to kidnappers is certainly a mournful tale. And the military's refusal to have her continue in the service because of her sexual orientation could be construed as a mournful tale as well. Death? Well, we have a crazy woman, Alice, whose religious cult of murder and death in Gotham, who want to sacrifice Batwoman for their own cult purposes, along with the help of shapeshifters, werewolves and other magical, strange creatures of the night. Murder is in her eyes. And she has no problem killing her own henchmen when they've served their purpose.

The crazy dialogue with quotes from Alice in Wonderland are particularly chilling if you have some familiarity with Lewis Carroll's work (as I do).

Bottom Line:

This gripping story is written by Greg Rucka, a writer who keeps you on the edge, creating a page-turner that I could not take a break from. Clearly the man has some mystery writer roots as he delves deep into the Kane character and her single-minded purpose (revenge or vigilantism, we're not really sure). And combine his tale of intrigue with the splash-page art of J. H. Williams III, and you have quite a great graphic novel that really makes me want to go out and buy more of Batwoman comics!

This is the first DC comic I've read that was not a Vertigo imprint that still confronted a controversial subject with taste but not without some blood, bullets and guts. A lot of guts.

Good job, DC.

Other work by Greg Rucka:

* The Last Run: A Queen & Country Novel
* Walking Dead: A Novel of Suspense

Other work by J.H. Williams III:

* Batman: The Black Glove
* JLA Vol. 8: Divided We Fall

The book references above can be found on www.Amazon.com! ( )
1 vote James_Mourgos | Dec 22, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Rucka, Gregprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Williams III, J. H.main authorall editionsconfirmed
Klein, ToddLetterersecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Maddow, RachelIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Kate Kane transforms herself into Batwoman and battles a madwoman who calls herself Alice, after the character Alice in Wonderland, and thinks that everyone in Gotham is expendable in the fairy tale she has created.

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