One of the other major challenges facings a writer coming to a new series is that he quickly needs to make his reader care about a character they might have never come across before, and thankfully Rucka knows the routine. He allows his characters as much personal page space that can be allowed in a comic, while still setting up a plot line to keep people coming back. While it's difficult to judge correct characterization and smart plotting with so little so go on, it seems that Batwoman is going to excel, and if Gotham Central is any indication of Rucka's ability to write meaningful characters, I expect Kate will a personal favorite soon enough.
J.H. Williams is an outstanding artist, and the book's colorist, Dave Stuart, seems to be doing wonders for the book as well. There are a number of pages, particularly the two-page spreads, that are simply breathtaking. The panel layout, while at first jarring, is a welcome deviation from the normal that isn't ever difficult to follow. Curiously, one of the scenes in the comic is much less striking than all the others, notably on the often artist hated "talking head" scenes. The proportions seem the slightest bit off in places, and Kate never quite looks right. It's a small blip in an otherwise visually stunning comic.
A note on co-features: It may be remembered that a short while ago, I was voicing my support for the DC co-feature, as it prevented characters from falling into obscurity, justified DC raising their prices to match Marvel's, and provided a bit more precious work in the comic industry. Seeing the co-feature in action is an odd thing. Because it's only a short eight pages, the story has to move quickly. This means, almost certainly, that readers are unlikely to see very many touching character scenes, but for what things are it seems a small price to pay. The co-features read like well-written Sunday comics of more appropriate length. They give more than a taste, but less than a meal-- the result is something that will take getting used to.
As for the Question, the story is only just taking off the ground, but as of now has more of a real-world kind of super-heroics to it. So far the story only promises a gang leader for a villain, and it's going to prove challenging for Rucka to keep audience interest up. There are dozens of generic crime lord/bosses that have graced comic pages, each of them around for usually one story in which they're violent temperamental pushovers. Rucka is going to have to work for readers to care, but at least it gives a slight throw back to the fact that Renee was only a cop not too long ago, and her villains maybe shouldn't be too grandiose.
RATING: 7 out of 10
The series seems to be on the right track, and should be an entertaining read. As promised, Rucka doesn't overblow his character's sexuality, and seems to be working hard to make them mean something to readers. Not a stunning first round, but more than adequate. I suggest you jump on this title now if you're going to read it.
Does this format work for books with co-features? Do you think there is a better approach to reviewing them I could take up?