Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Batwoman #2 – The Many Arms of Death: Part 2 ***SPOILER Review

Marguerite Bennett & James Tynion IV – Writers
Steve Epting – Artist
Jeromy Cox – Colors

Previously in Batwoman – Kate Kane, the Batwoman, is attempting to track down the seller of a dangerous drug that turns men into monsters.  When her only lead is killed by a familiar assassin, Batwoman tracks them to Coryana – an island where Kate almost lost her life years before. 

Flashbacks of Roses and Honey
Like the first, this issue is full of flashbacks, filling in some of the details about Kate’s life during her “lost year” on Coryana with her rescuer and lover Safiyah.  Like Kate recovering from a nasty head injury she incurred after mixing booze and swimming, meeting Safiyah’s right hand man Rafael, and some backstory about the Warlords vying for control of the island.

The Present is Not So Rosy
Upon reaching Coryana, Batwoman immediately finds Rafael on his deathbed with a knife in his back. Before Batwoman can find Safiyah she is attacked by the same familiar assassin known as Knife from last issue.  A battle ensues, and when the assassin Knife is de-masked, Batwoman recognizes her as a woman who used to be a part of Safiyah’s crew named Tahani.

Eternal Flames
Kate, still very much a member of the Bat-family, uses her brains and her gadgets to distract Knife and light a torch that was once used as a beacon to summon Safiyah’s warlords.  Knife laughs at her attempt to call someone who is long gone, only to be surprised when the warlords actually do show up, and quickly flees.  

The Taming of Coryana
The warlords tell Batwoman that after she left Coryana, things grew bad.  When the Kali Corporation began to buy up the island and industrialize it, Safiyah fled and has not been seen since.  The issue ends with the assassin Knife back at the Kali Corporation, also revealed to be the mysterious Many Arms of Death group responsible for selling the Monster Man drug.  It appears Knife’s true mission was to lure Kate Kane to the island and into the hands of the Kali Corporation.

The Verdict
 The team on this book is worth the cover price alone.  Steve Epting’s art is breathtakingly gorgeous.  Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV have crafted an amazing mystery full of characters you want to invest in and learn more about.  If you are not already familiar with the story of Batwoman, this new series will introduce her to you, but I feel readers who already have some knowledge of the character may get more out of it.  The book attempts to set itself apart from other Bat-books by sending Kate on globe-trotting adventure, yet relies on other Bat-tropes like her own version of Alfred in his daughter Julia Pennyworth, and Bruce and Kate both seem like womanizers.  Despite the few hiccups, this is a solid book with enough familiar Bat symbolism to appeal to the readers who love the Bat-family, yet different enough to give readers a fresh approach with a diverse cast.  8 out of 10.

Next:  Batwoman #3 – Double Down in Coryana

-Noah O’Toole | NCR

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