the_mighty_monarch's Batwoman #16 - World's Finest, Part IV: Serpent's Homeland review

...Mother...

Something I'm really noticing here is that J.H. Williams III has taken different storytelling approaches to each story arc, really testing out the different limits of the medium and pushing them. The first arc had a relatively normal pacing, if only unique due to Williams' amazing artwork, while the second arc had a much under appreciated 6-Piece Narrative that strung itself together across several months of time. This third arc has been going with a style that leans heavily towards pure literary narrative, with the GORGEOUS artwork as a supplement to the detailed monologues that really move the story and set the scene.

The artwork is a little more surreal than usual, things having less of a direct flow, and more of sense of set images that the words describe. But let it always be said that J.H. Williams is arguably the very best comic artist in the business, combining brilliant detail with amazing dynamism, and the most unique and experimental panel layouts the world has ever seen.

We get more than Batwoman's mind in this issue, every character on the scene gets their heads dug into, from Wonder Woman, to Flamebird, to Chase, and even Medusa. Wow, I just realized pretty much the entire cast is female and I never really thought hard about it. It's probably the first female dominated book I've ever read that doesn't feel gimmicky. These are a wide variety of strong female characters in this series, and they're all meeting in a clash, and finding out who they can rely on in the midst of a grand destructive battle.

The review title comes from the central theme we've been seeing so much of in recent issues. Mothers. Batwoman has been searching for these children like a mother, Maggie has been pondering deeply on her lost child, Maro has been brainwashing the children and other cultists to see Medusa as a mother, in addition to her actual children Falchion and Pegasus; a slightly different side as Flamebird thinks deeply about her father figure Uncle Jake, and Chase reminisces about her absent vigilante father as he motivation and Director Bones taking a place as an almost surrogate father; and the biggest thing here, is the huge revelation that Medusa is only doing all this for the love of her own long lost mother, Ceto, the Mother of All Monsters. And the final page sets up a heart-pounding climax, with the most unique art this series has ever seen (and that's saying SOOO much) for the depiction of Ceto emerging from the void. It's so brilliantly beyond surreal and trippy that it just blows my mind.

In Conclusion: 5/5

Batwoman may have been recently dethroned by Batman in my personal New 52 rankings, but it still holds the #2 damn deservingly. Batwoman is a complete and utter work of art in every way. The storytelling and illustration are gorgeous on so many levels, and so far beyond almost everything else out there. The only concern I have is that this issue specifically comes dangerously close to a fully text driven story with art simply as background. Close, but not quite, it's still an amazing comic, and I'm curious to see how WIlliams writes the next arc, though we've still got a mind-blowing conclusion to come in the next issue.

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