Batwoman returns to Brussels. Her sister, Beth Kane, has been kidnapped, possibly by Kate's old flame Safiyah. Kate returns to her old home, where her mother and twin sister were killed, where her life spun out of control, and where the path to becoming Batwoman began. What will she find?
This is a slow-burn comic, with much of the runtime consisting of Batwoman exploring her old house in Brussels. She does find something in the last half, and it leads to some plot developments. However, most of the comic is her in a dark house with nothing but her thought captions to keep Kane company.
What makes this worthwhile is the maintenance of tone and suspense. It plays out like a haunted house movie, with the comic dropping in images and details in both the foreground and the background. None of it's real; this is what Kate sees when going into her old house. As such, not only do the bloodstains, spooky pictures on the wall, and other ominous imagery work to give the comic a horror movie feel, it also gives you an idea of what Batwoman is experiencing in this house.
The ending revelations are surprising, if a bit confusing. That may be down to the fact that I'm just returning to this book and have only read the first volume. I'll cop to that. However, it still leaves me interested in where this book is going.
Fernando Blanco provides the oppressive and tense atmosphere to make this comic work. The house is creepy on its own, but the extra details make it even better and are hidden enough to not be overt. Batwoman looks as imposing and badass as always. The world is given a lot of detail and fits the pseudo-noir tone to which the book aspires. John Rauch's color art adds that extra layer of darkness and ominous to make the book's visuals really click. There are a lot of dark shades to be balanced by the red in Kate's costume.
Batwoman #13 is a compelling noir/horror hybrid that can grab you and keep you engaged through to the back cover. Admittedly, the slow burn leaves the plot moving a little slowly, but the trip through the Kane house and the ending reveals make it worthwhile. Plus, the art looks great. Marguerite Bennet and company put together a solid book here. Pick it up.
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