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Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka
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Batwoman: Elegy (original 2010; edition 2011)

by Greg Rucka (Author), J. H. Williams III (Illustrator)

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3772328,622 (4.2)30
Member:scott_beeler
Title:Batwoman: Elegy
Authors:Greg Rucka (Author)
Other authors:J. H. Williams III (Illustrator)
Info:DC Comics (2011), Paperback, 192 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:None

Work details

Batwoman: Elegy by Greg Rucka (2010)

  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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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?

elegy
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 |
Interesting origin with twists, I love her relationship with her father, but her skin is very strange. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Jun 1, 2016 |
Gorgeous art, a fantastic, kick-ass protagonist, good writing. I'm a fan! ( )
  wealhtheowwylfing | Feb 29, 2016 |
BATWOMAN: ELEGY, written by Greg Rucka and illustrated by the fabulously talented J. H. Williams III, collects Detective Comics #854-#860 in one volume. It is the story of Batwoman’s battle with Alice, the High Madame, in protecting Gotham from Alice’s evil plot. Also included is the back-story of Kate’s growing up, her coming out at West Point and to her father, Colonel Kane, and the origins of her career as Batwoman. All of this is in one trade paperback!
Alice, the Lewis Carroll-quoting villain, not only has Gotham on the edge of destruction, she also has a secret for Kate.
I was a little confused sometimes when Alice would speak – apparently I’m not up to snuff on the story of Alice in Wonderland, even though I read the book six years ago. Not a big deal, the story is understandable and of course, the artwork is OUTSTANDING! I’m a huge fan of J. H. Williams III’s work. His detailing in this volume is, as always, amazing and the characterizing is powerful. You know exactly how the individuals are feeling.
I loved this collection and highly recommend it for others who enjoy graphic novels!
( )
  BooksOn23rd | Nov 25, 2015 |
I vaguely remember reading somewhere that original Batwoman kind of maybe sucked a little bit. Not as strong as Batman mentally or physically and really only introduced as a love interest for Batman to dispel accusations of inappropriate relations between Dick Grayson and Bruce Wayne. Eventually forced into retirement by Batman when Batman and Detective Comics sales flagged. Well this Kate Kane is kick completely kick butt. I love the toughness of her character and the art style in this book almost made me drool, even though sometimes I had trouble following the panels. The story had a great twist and I would love to see more from this Batwoman. ( )
  Rosa.Mill | Nov 21, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Greg Ruckaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Williams, J. H., IIIIllustratormain 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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