Batwoman #14 sees Kate Kane finally confront the Mother of War, leader of the Many Arms of Death. After thirteen issues of Kate’s journey to disarm the Many Arms across the globe, we finally see the beginning of her confrontation with Tahani and Alice and the unveiling of their plane to attack Gotham City. Does the meeting between Kate and the Mother of War start off with a bang?
In this issue, we see writer Marguerite Bennett excel at scripting dramatic monologues for both heroes and villains alike. Tahani, Alice, and Kate each get a moment of theatrical, tone-establishing speech that also works to further establish their motivations. I won’t lie, after essentially two issues worth of characters motivations being explained and pieces being laid, the monologues were a degree less interesting–and in Kate’s case even a little repetitive–but the dialogue is still well written, so it never felt boring. There’s another monologue from Alice later that was well written and shows the amount of research Bennett brings to each issue, but it too felt a little much and got a bit repetitive. I did really like Tahani’s dialogue throughout this issue. Bennett has scripted her into a really cool antagonist who’s great at spitting hate at Kate as they fight and she and Alice make a cool pair. I also appreciate how everything that’s happened throughout the series so far still feels relevant and it makes all the build-up that’s happened feel worthwhile.
Fernando Blanco continues to deliver consistently well done line art that maintains the bold style Blanco has stuck to since he started on the series. Blanco excels at conveying mood and there’s a moment where he makes a projected hologram feel distorted and creepy that works really well with the running idea of Kate’s mind being distorted from her confrontation with Scarecrow earlier in the series. When things get more explicitly weird, Blanco doesn’t disappoint with creepy animals that look cute and threatening thanks to their bright red eyes. I also have to mention the excellent work Blanco does in this issue with bats. He draws a variety of different bat faces and really capitalizes on how they can pose their bodies. There’s a beautiful spread full of bats that’s not to be missed.
I’m not in love with how John Rauch colored this issue. He doesn’t do a bad job by any means, but I often felt that panels looked a little too bright. There’s a lot of bright blue used in this issue and while it complements all the red in Batwoman’s costume well and helps it pop, I felt like it clashed with the mood of the issue a bit. The spread that I mentioned earlier is colored with purples and washed out oranges that look beautiful and feel more in line with the tense, dramatic tone established by Bennett’s script. Deron Bennett’s letters felt similarly too bright though I do like the bold font choices used, especially with Alice.
Overall, Kate Kane’s dramatic confrontation with Alice and Tahani was a fun read. There were some details I liked less here or there, but none of the flaws overwhelmed the issue from being an exciting continuation of the series.
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