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#CBR5 Maneuver #5 – Batwoman Volume 1

Batwoman 1Target: J.H. Williams, III and W. Haden Blackman’s Batwoman: Hydrology.  Collecting issues 0-5 of Batwoman (N52)

Profile: Comics, Mystery

Summary: From the back cover, “Gotham City is drowning.
They call her La Llorona.  ‘The Weeping Woman.’ A spectral presence that drowns her own sorrow by destroying the lives of others, dragging innocent children to a watery grave… or to an even worse fate.  The hero called Batwoman is no stranger to sorrow herself.  Estranged from the father who was once her partner in crime fighting, she blames him for the death of her mad sister in Gotham Harbor – but she blames herself most of all.
Now, she has a new partner, her cousin Flamebird.  Together they’re on the hunt for La Llorona, the children she’s abducted, and the shadowy forces behind it all.  But the hunters are hunted as well: Everyone from government agents to Gotham cops want to clip Batwoman’s wings.”

After Action Report:

If I had to point to a single comic that drew me to start exploring the DC universe, it would probably be Green Lantern: Rebirth.  There’s just something about power rings and anyone who grew up watching Captain Planet.  But Batwoman: Elegy is what got me really hooked.  I picked up the collected Elegy back in 2010 and when DC announced that Batwoman would be returning in the New 52, I started getting excited about the relaunch event and DC in general.  Hydrology doesn’t disappoint, picking up where Elegy left off and expanding on the personal experiences of this exceptional heroine.

Before I get any further, I need to put my cards on the table.  There is a phenomenal amount that I do not know or understand about DC’s continuity.  I’ve done a bit of due diligence this year to write these New 52 reviews, but, as I am perhaps overly fond of saying, I know just enough to get me in real trouble.  To make things worse, the New 52 universe reboot was only partial, so as many things have changed as not.  It’s a bit of a mess.  This is all by way of saying if I make a significant error in summarizing the books or their background material, I apologize.

Batwoman was one of the series that was not reset, so the events of Elegy are still canonical, and really are essential to understanding the unfolding plot of Hydrology.  I cannot recommend enough picking up Elegy if you get the chance, but to keep things simple and self-contained, I’ll do a quick summary here.  Spoilers to follow:

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#CBR5 Maneuver #1 – Birds of Prey Volume 1

Birds of Prey Trouble in MindTarget: Duane Swierczynski’s Birds of Prey: Trouble in Mind.  Art by Jesus Saiz.  Collecting Issues 1-7 of Birds of Prey (N52)

Profile: Comics, Mystery, Science Fiction

Summary: From the Back Cover, “One is wanted for a murder.  The other is on the run for knowing too much.  Together Black Canary and Starling work in Gotham City, taking down the villains other heroes can’t touch.  But now, as a grizzled newspaper reporter threatens to expose them, the tow get sucked into a nightmare involving stolen pharmaceuticals, terrorists for hire and killers in stealth suits who can appear – and disappear – at will.

Realizing that Gotham City’s citizens are in grave danger, Black Canary recruits Katana, a vengeful samurai, and the notorious bioterrorist Poison Ivy.  Will the Birds of Prey be able to work together to save Gotham?”

After Action Report:

I came to (American) comics relatively late in life, and entirely because of Joss Whedon.  I started collecting the Buffy Season 8 trade paperbacks in college, but couldn’t really get excited about trying to break into the enormous continuity clusterfuck of ether DC Comics or Marvel’s main universe. I would read a few stray issues here or there if an author I liked was guesting, but that was about it.  When DC decided to do a partial reboot of their continuity it seemed like a good opportunity to start seriously exploring comics.  That lasted all of three weeks, but now that the first trade paperbacks from the reboot are coming out, I decided to take another stab at it.

Birds of Prey is an interesting series that walks in the shadows of some of DC’s biggest names, but has managed to stand on its own as both a concept, and as a storyline.  The original concept was the pairing of a paralyzed former Batgirl, now called Oracle, and the impulsive Black Canary taking on organized crime in the city of Gotham.  The team grew over the years, but at the core of the series was the conflict between the headstrong Black Canary and the cautious and organized Oracle.  The reboot undid Oracle’s paralysis, and made Black Canary the team leader in charge of a new batch of unknowns, including the mentally unstable Katana and the former bio-terrorist Poison Ivy.

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