Writer: Marguerite Bennett
Artists: Fernando Blanco
Cover Artist: Dan Panosian
Variant Cover: Michael Cho
Colors: John Rauch
Letters: Deron Bennett
Batwoman comes face to face with her ex-girlfriend and, better yet, has to work a cold cases with her. But…is it really such a bad thing?
WHAT HAPPENED: The issue opens with a heavy focus on Kate’s inner monologue. She declares she is done with traveling, she’s done wasting time on the past, and she wants a family. While sitting down for breakfast with Julia and Beth she sees Renee being attacked at the GCPD building on the news, and Kate suits up and charges in. After defeating the automated clock themed villain Kate and Renee exchange some snarky/flirty words before Renee reveals to Kate that she has been investigating a new drug that would allow someone, for only a split second, to see into the future.
After flashbacks, reflection, and a brief investigation Kate get back in contact with Renee and reveals the two need to go on an undercover mission to a masquerade. This leads to even more flirty dialogue, but this is interrupted by an unwelcome surprise. (You’ll have to read the issue to find out.)
WHAT MARY HAS TO SAY: For the sake of transparency, I should admit that I am a massive Kate and Renee fan. That fact cannot be overstated. I’ve had a few problems with this run, but there have been bright spots. This issue is one such bright spot. I’m glad to see Kate finally to a point where she is ready to settle down, she belongs in Gotham. On that note, it’s wonderful to see Renee in the spotlight again. I’ve been a huge Renee fan since Batman: The Animated Series.
The returning romance of Kate and Renee has been teased in Rebirth since the early day of Tynion’s Detective run and this issue finally brings that into the spotlight and that really is the heart of the issue. Kate’s voiceover at the beginning lays it all out. She’s done wasting all her time on the past and chasing ghosts. She wants to “work toward something” and it’s damn obvious where her mind is going in this one. Yes, there are a few clock-related things happening, but it’s all a pretty flimsy backdrop for the pending romance. If you stare too hard at the plot it really falls apart under scrutiny, what happened to Tahani? Is Beth really better off with Kate? Why did Julia call Batman? Was there a real resolution between Kate and Bruce after the last issue? All of these questions go unanswered because there are two issues left and why spend time on that when we could have lesbians? And I fell for it hook, line, and sinker.
Bennett’s script is pretty solid. Renee is pretty firmly in character, save for the fancy ballgown, and plays really well off Kate. I tip my hat to Bennett for the ridiculous Hayley Kiyoko running joke and snappy dialogue between Kate and Renee.
Blanco’s art is really incredible here. The attention to detail and facial expressions really pull the issue and romance together. The script does what it can, but if the characters don’t look like they believe what they are saying then the issue falls flat, this is not the case here. Blanco and Bennett really work well and craft a great issue.
Ultimately I think the real MVP of the issues is letterer Deron Bennett. The was a dialogue-heavy issue with a lot of heavy action and Deron created flowing letters that added to the art of the page as opposed to detract from it. Deron’s masterpiece in this issue is a scene where Kate and Renee are talking during the masquerade. The dialogue has taken a turn toward for the romantic and Deron’s letters wrap around them and almost drowns out the rest of the scene, but not in a disruptive manner. This really drives home the fact that even while they are surrounded by dozens of other couples, and are currently undercover, they are wrapped up in each other.
It really is a fantastic issue overall, but I may be just a tad biased.