By J.H. Williams III (co-writer & artist), W. Haden Blackman (co-writer), Dave Stewart (colors), Todd Klein (letters)

The Story: Batwoman continues her investigation of the mysterious Weeping Woman while avoiding the federal agents trying to capture and unmask her.

What’s Good: Good lord this book is beautiful. I know I should expect that, after all the J.H. Williams III I’ve seen–and especially after how much of his Batwoman work I’ve read–but it still drops my jaw every single time I turn one of his pages. There aren’t enough superlatives in the language to discuss this adequately and even if there were, it’d get repetitive very quickly. Suffice to say that this is without question the most beautiful book on the comic shelf right now.

The writing is very good as well. While the script doesn’t quite live up to the astronomic heights set by the visuals, both co-writers continue to capture Kate Kane’s voice perfectly, and that shines through any other minor issues that are present. In the same way that Williams’ artwork carries the storytelling, Kate Kane’s personality carries and drives the script. Although I was quite looking forward to her becoming a part of Batman INC, I love the explanation she gave for being wary of signing up. Batman may be her inspiration, but they clearly have rather different ideas about how their ideals should be acted upon. I love this unexpected mini-conflict, and look forward to seeing how it plays out in the issues to come.

What’s Not So Good: So, two criticisms, one quite small and the other a little bigger. The small one is simply the idea that Batwoman needs to stoop to holding a mini flashlight in her teeth as she rummages through a filing cabinet. I know she may not have ALL of Batman’s resources, but I can promise you that if she has access to high level military tech, there must be SOME sort of NVG interface that could be built into the cowl. Or failing that, at least a hands free flashlight!

The larger nit has to do with the coloring. Now, I love Dave Stewart’s work on this book (and Detective Comics), but I think he does stumble during the opening fight scene. One of the great strengths of this book colorwise is the way Stewart contrasts the dark and brooding colors of the Batwoman scenes with the lighter pastels that characterize Kate Kane. In the opening fight, though, that dark, shadowy look is thrown out in favor of extremely bright primary colors that do very little to enhance or serve the mood of the scene. I understand wanting to try something different, especially since the scene involves Batwoman’s sidekick in addition to herself, but it just doesn’t work for me, and the bright colors ended up being more of a distraction than anything else.

Conclusion: Do I really need to say it? BUY. THIS. BOOK!

Grade: A