This review contains some spoilers
James Tynion IV and Marguerite Bennett strike gold! While the previous issue was a minor blip, Detective Comics #949 is a welcome return to form for the series. It’s everything we want from a Bat title, and so much more. Rejoice, Dark Knight fans, for this is the first great Batman book of 2017.
Jumping between current day and two years ago (comic books love flashbacks), we discover what Batwoman was supposed to be. Unlike Batman, she isn’t trained to be a superhero, but a soldier. Her father, Colonel Kane, identifies her obsession with Batman, while Simon Samuels (Colony Prime) declares she doesn’t have the discipline to be part of the Colony. It’s an interesting insight into the psyche of Samuels, in particular, revealing his “I should be the chosen one” attitude. Hopefully, this relationship will be further explored as a major arc in Batwoman’s forthcoming solo title.
Back in the present day, Batman and Batwoman clash with Colony Prime, trying to stop his breakout mission. While Prime bragged about his fighting prowess in the last issue, he’s mostly a chump. Batwoman knocks his punk ass to the floor – several times – and the only time he looks formidable is when he utilizes the Belfry’s immune system against her. He talks a big game, but like the douchebag at the club he’s more bark than brains. When he finally realizes Col. Kane isn’t actually in the Belfry, he makes a break for it but encounters Batman.
Tired of picking up his teeth, Prime injects himself with “Monster Venom,” turns into an ugly Groot, and escapes. In the aftermath, Batwoman admits to Batman that their missions are different, saying she needs to do it her way. She meets with her father, asking for his help with information about the Colony and the “Monster Venom” trafficking. He agrees and it’s all systems go for Batwoman: Rebirth #1.
Even though I still believe this issue misses the rest of the team, it’s a powerful conclusion to the Batwoman arc. It’s easy to dismiss Kate Kane as the female version of Bruce Wayne, but Tynion and Bennett have penned a poignant story, which shows their obvious differences. Bruce wants to end crime, while Kate wants to end war. They’re on two different paths, with different methodologies, but need to do things their own way. The question is, who will lead the team now that Kate’s seemingly gone?
It’s two out of two for Ben Oliver here. Once again, he reaches into the top drawer and delivers spectacular artwork. His contributions to Batwing and Judge Dredd are his major claims to fame, but his work on these two issues will certainly have his phone ringing off the hook. There’s something mesmeric about his technique, and don’t be surprised if you flip back to page one to enjoy it all over again.
After a stuttering start, “Batwoman Begins” delivers The Dark Knight-inspired finale we dreamt of. Kate Kane’s been arguably the breakout star of this series and she more than deserved this fitting conclusion. The story’s terrific, the artwork’s tremendous, the characters have depth… Is there any reason you don’t own Detective Comics #949 yet?
Detective Comics #949 is a fitting finale and tribute to Batwoman - the breakout star of the series.