silkcuts's Batwoman: Elegy #1 - TPB/HC review

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The Ironic Elegy.

Elegy:  according to www.Dictionary.com

–noun, plural -gies. 1. a mournful, melancholy, or plaintive poem, esp. a funeral song or a lament for the dead.
2. a poem written in elegiac meter.
3. a sad or mournful musical composition. 
 
This story is both an Elegy to a certain person in Kate Kane's (Batwoman's) life and a beautiful statement on how a comic should be created.
 
The sadness in this story brings us closer to Kate Kane. It is her Origin, but most important it is also Alice's Origin. The relationship between that two is exciting.  It is sad that with the departure of Greg Rucka from DC, we may never see what happens between the two.  Greg Rucka maybe the primary writer of Batwoman, but J.H. Williams III (JHW3) has been just as important in this current version of Batwoman.  If you did not read the acclaimed Detective Comics run that featured Batwoman then this is your chance.  Blown up in the deluxe size JHW3's art is even nicer at this scale.  You can see the detail in JHW3's art better in this size. The story is acclaimed because the team of Rucka and Williams created a story featuring a woman that is heartfelt and mesmerizing. 
 
As for the trade, it is a must in your bookshelf.  This book is not just a great comic book, it is also a BIBLE on how to write a great comic book.  Let me explain:
1) Strong introduction by Rachel Maddow gives instant cred to Rucka's writing if you never have read Rucka, but know politics. 
2) The story is absolutely the strongest thing Rucka released under the DC Banner.  
3) JHW3's art is dynamtic. Both in changing of styles and in panels on paper.
4) There are great extras: Variant Covers, Scripts verses inked page section and a sketch section.
 
As story goes, read it, you will not be disappointed. Greg Rucka has obtained a reputation of writing strong Women character since his run on Wonder Woman.  This Comic keeps up the tradition of writing women without selling sex and degrading them.
 
The rave of this book was caused by JHW3's art. Long time fans of his, fell in love with his work from Alan Moore's Promethea and/or Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers. JHW3 is magical in every sense of the word. His art is dynamic and ever changes to the need of the story. His uses his artistic arsenal to his human limit and leaves us with images of grace, grandeur and beauty.


 An Example of the Unorthodox Panels and symmetry
The Panels move with JHW3's work.  Not limited to the standard way to visually tell a story. JHW3 constructs layouts that at first may seem distracting, but acutally hold a lot of information and presented in a well contained solid piece of art.
 Another example to show no one does it like JHW3
JHW3 is not limited by his dazzling and mystifying art.  He can change his style at command.  He can go from strong penciled lines with inks over it to water-color and other forms of painting.  No limit to what he can create.
 Here is an unfinished example of his work. Notice the Water Color in the background verses the inked pencil work.

 An example of art change

 An example of art change
JHW3 can change his style.  Never pigeonholed into a certain style like most comic artist. JHW3 is a story-teller first and an artist second.  Because of his past history as a writer ( Batman, Chase), he has eye for page layout that in away is hard to match.  Most writer/artist are not as balanced as JHW3 is.  He can likely tell a story without text, that is how strong is art work is.
 
He has an instinct to use the most appropriate skill he has to portray what is needed in the comic he is illustrating.  From Penciling to Raw Paints, JHW3 uses the artistic creation mediums available to him to construct a visual song.  Each Pencil line is a note, each inked line is the tempo, each Brushstroke is a pitch.   The harmonies in his art resonate like any grand symphony .
 
 An example of Contrast.
Greg Rucka was a major reason for the wonderful art.  His scripts do not limit JHW3, they give him freedom. Rucka wrote to JHW3's strengths. In the scripts and planning stages both Rucka and Williams were a team.  Coming up with color schemes for example, both expressed their ideas.  The idea of primarily black and red is a wonderful contrast.  This helps to give the story a "POP" of visual appeal. Colorist Dave Stewart maybe the greatest unsung hero in this book.  As much as JHW3's art is beautiful on its own, its Stewart's bold coloring that gives the art new heights to the visual appeal of this story.  
 An Example of the use of color
I mentioned above that this book is like a Bible on how to write a good comic.  The blue-prints are laid out for us, both in the story itself and the extras in the back.  Reading this book cover to cover will instantly give you more incite into comics and the magic that is in the medium.  If not, then you didn't read it cover to cover like I told you to.
 Character designs
One of the extra's in this book is the character designs.  The picture above is the full layouts available online.  The version in the book is acutally missing the head-shot, arm-shots and belt layout, which is seen in the middle of this picture. Not sure why this is because the character design could of been easy 4 pages instead of the 3 that is printed.

Another special extra is the section where Rucka's scripts are presented and the following pages are the art that accompanies it.  This is a must for you inspiring comic creators out there.  Trial and error is a great way to learn, but it is better when masters give you a cheat sheet.  The scripts alone can make great practice.  Read them and try to illustrate it.  Compare with JHW3 if you like and see how strong your art will grow.
 
From all the Graphic Novels you can buy, this is one of the best investments.  The Story is solid. The Art is fantastic. There is incite in the world of comics from the masters.  If you haven't purchased this Graphic Novel you are doing yourself an injustice.
 
Cheers
 - Silkcuts
77 Comments
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Posted by Amegashita

  Great review!  I read this series and I agree with everything you've said, the art is great, the layout is amazing, the coloring is awesome.  You've pointed out everything that makes this book great.  Really, excellent review.

Posted by Silkcuts
@Amegashita:  Thank you sir, that means a lot :D
Posted by Amegashita
@Silkcuts:  Hey, it was a great review.  If I hadn't read this already, I would have made sure to read it after this review.    It was really great.    
Posted by J1ml33

I am planing on buying the hard cover now thanks to your captivating review , and I like how you  compare the art work to music , and how the artist and writer are working in complete harmony to tell a not only an interesting and thoughtful story , this might be my first experience with 
Greg Rucka `s work and J.H Williams  art so this should and very well could be fun for me (as an aspiring writer/artist  to look at and to be inspired by . I really enjoyed your thought ful review I only hope and wish you could do more  ! but I loved it .

Posted by caesarsghost

well done as always my friend.
Posted by Silkcuts
@Amegashita said:
" @Silkcuts:  Hey, it was a great review.  If I hadn't read this already, I would have made sure to read it after this review.    It was really great.     "
Thanks again :D  I loved JHW3's art since Promethea, so its this is my love-letter to him.  Rucka is awesome too, DC took a huge blow when he left.
 
@J1ml33 said:
" I am planing on buying the hard cover now thanks to your captivating review , and I like how you  compare the art work to music , and how the artist and writer are working in complete harmony to tell a not only an interesting and thoughtful story , this might be my first experience with 
Greg Rucka `s work and J.H Williams  art so this should and very well could be fun for me (as an aspiring writer/artist  to look at and to be inspired by . I really enjoyed your thought ful review I only hope and wish you could do more  ! but I loved it . "

Dude, I was thinking of you when writing about the way this book can teach.  I hope it blows your mind.  I am jealous you never read it. Reading it for the first time, only as a hardcover is an experience on its own.  I read it in monthlies and loved it enough to buy the deluxe.  As a virgin Rucka and JHW3 reader, this is the  book to pop your metaphorical Cherry as the read.
Posted by Silkcuts
@caesarsghost said:
" well done as always my friend. "
You humble me kind sir.
Posted by SUPER-MAN 23

Wow! Just finished reading the review, and that was some of your best work. 

Posted by Silkcuts
@SUPER-MAN 23 said:
" Wow! Just finished reading the review, and that was some of your best work.  "
I feel like I should retire after that one. I love JHW3 art from when I read Promethea, it was kind of a love-letter to the book.  I don't think I can top it.  I was holding out on reviewing it, but inspiration hit and then it just flowed. You commenting makes me happy that you really liked it.  Thanks for the support.
Posted by SUPER-MAN 23
@Silkcuts said:
" @SUPER-MAN 23 said:
" Wow! Just finished reading the review, and that was some of your best work.  "
I feel like I should retire after that one. I love JHW3 art from when I read Promethea, it was kind of a love-letter to the book.  I don't think I can top it.  I was holding out on reviewing it, but inspiration hit and then it just flowed. You commenting makes me happy that you really liked it.  Thanks for the support. "
Your Welcome
Posted by cold_fuzion

Very well done. And a great book showcasing a character with phenomenal potential.

Posted by Daydream

 
Nice review, I have yet to read this...but if I have time I'd definitely go get it. Especially love the art, it looks really sick.

Posted by Jotham

Sounds good. I'm not too interested in Batwoman, but this made me more interested.

Posted by pikahyper

Very good review but it seems more like a review of the creators then the actual comic itself; sparse character info and not much info about the story or what it is about.

Moderator
Posted by Silkcuts
@cold_fuzion said:
" Very well done. And a great book showcasing a character with phenomenal potential. "
Thanks :D
 
@Daydream said:
"  Nice review, I have yet to read this...but if I have time I'd definitely go get it. Especially love the art, it looks really sick. "

Since you live in Sauga, if you go to BMV they still may have copies. I got it $15.
 
@Jotham said:
" Sounds good. I'm not too interested in Batwoman, but this made me more interested. "

Its a good book.
Posted by Silkcuts
@pikahyper said:
" Very good review but it seems more like a review of the creators then the actual comic itself; sparse character info and not much info about the story or what it is about. "
That is something I can't deny.  I felt I would revile too much of the story explaining Alice.  So I avoided the spoilers and went for why this trade is a must.  Or tried at least.  Glad I didn't trick you with the flash and bang of picture. Great feed back :D
Posted by FadeToBlackBolt

Great review, I'm going to pick this up based on your recommendations. $32 Australian though, ffs.

Posted by Silkcuts
@FadeToBlackBolt said:
" Great review, I'm going to pick this up based on your recommendations. $32 Australian though, ffs. "
Its pricey, but its one of those books you can be proud to have on your shelf.
Posted by FadeToBlackBolt
@Silkcuts said:
" @FadeToBlackBolt said:
" Great review, I'm going to pick this up based on your recommendations. $32 Australian though, ffs. "
Its pricey, but its one of those books you can be proud to have on your shelf. "
Yeh, the way I look at it is that it's better to pay a little more a great book you're likely to read over and over, rather than a cheaper but longer piece of crap (aka Emperor Joker).
Posted by Silkcuts
@FadeToBlackBolt said:
" @Silkcuts said:
" @FadeToBlackBolt said:
" Great review, I'm going to pick this up based on your recommendations. $32 Australian though, ffs. "
Its pricey, but its one of those books you can be proud to have on your shelf. "
Yeh, the way I look at it is that it's better to pay a little more a great book you're likely to read over and over, rather than a cheaper but longer piece of crap (aka Emperor Joker). "
So true.  I have Emperor joker because, like you said it was cheap.  It maybe the worst thing Loeb wrote for DC Comics.
Posted by FadeToBlackBolt
@Silkcuts said:
" @FadeToBlackBolt said:
" @Silkcuts said:
" @FadeToBlackBolt said:
" Great review, I'm going to pick this up based on your recommendations. $32 Australian though, ffs. "
Its pricey, but its one of those books you can be proud to have on your shelf. "
Yeh, the way I look at it is that it's better to pay a little more a great book you're likely to read over and over, rather than a cheaper but longer piece of crap (aka Emperor Joker). "
So true.  I have Emperor joker because, like you said it was cheap.  It maybe the worst thing Loeb wrote for DC Comics. "
Ugh, it's just so bad. Like, I couldn't really believe how bad. It's the only comic I've actually had to force myself to finish. I've hated other books (Siege in particular), but EJ was just a chore to read.
Posted by Silkcuts
@FadeToBlackBolt said:
" Ugh, it's just so bad. Like, I couldn't really believe how bad. It's the only comic I've actually had to force myself to finish. I've hated other books (Siege in particular), but EJ was just a chore to read. "
You are not the only one.  I don't even think the comic was up loaded to the vine properly.  I was going to write a review, but got lazy adding comics to it.  I was like "Its not worth my time, let someone else do it"
Posted by FadeToBlackBolt
@Silkcuts said:
" @FadeToBlackBolt said:
" Ugh, it's just so bad. Like, I couldn't really believe how bad. It's the only comic I've actually had to force myself to finish. I've hated other books (Siege in particular), but EJ was just a chore to read. "
You are not the only one.  I don't even think the comic was up loaded to the vine properly.  I was going to write a review, but got lazy adding comics to it.  I was like "Its not worth my time, let someone else do it" "
Haha,  nice. I haven't read it in so long, just the thought of it makes me angry now lol
Posted by Silkcuts
@FadeToBlackBolt said:
" @Silkcuts said:
" @FadeToBlackBolt said:
" Ugh, it's just so bad. Like, I couldn't really believe how bad. It's the only comic I've actually had to force myself to finish. I've hated other books (Siege in particular), but EJ was just a chore to read. "
You are not the only one.  I don't even think the comic was up loaded to the vine properly.  I was going to write a review, but got lazy adding comics to it.  I was like "Its not worth my time, let someone else do it" "
Haha,  nice. I haven't read it in so long, just the thought of it makes me angry now lol "
Hence why Loeb is writing Hulk, he must still be mad for writing such garbage.
Posted by FadeToBlackBolt
@Silkcuts said:
" @FadeToBlackBolt said:
" @Silkcuts said:
" @FadeToBlackBolt said:
" Ugh, it's just so bad. Like, I couldn't really believe how bad. It's the only comic I've actually had to force myself to finish. I've hated other books (Siege in particular), but EJ was just a chore to read. "
You are not the only one.  I don't even think the comic was up loaded to the vine properly.  I was going to write a review, but got lazy adding comics to it.  I was like "Its not worth my time, let someone else do it" "
Haha,  nice. I haven't read it in so long, just the thought of it makes me angry now lol "
Hence why Loeb is writing Hulk, he must still be mad for writing such garbage. "
Too true. Have you read any of his Hulk? It does more damage to your brain than crack and opium  combined.
Posted by Silkcuts
@FadeToBlackBolt:  Personally I can't stand the Hulk.  I was meaning to borrow Hulk Grey from a friend, but kept passing.  But I like the comparison.
Posted by FadeToBlackBolt
@Silkcuts: I like Hulk stories when they focus on Bruce Banner as a tormented "house of the demon". I'm not so big on Hulk vs Abomination type stories.
Posted by Hawkeye446

Awesome, I want to buy it immediately.. DC should hire you for advertisement :D

Posted by Silkcuts
@Hawkeye446 said:
"

Awesome, I want to buy it immediately.. DC should hire you for advertisement :D

"
that would be nice if I got a job from DC.  They have been pissing me off as of late, but I would sell out in a heart beat.  I would be lying if I say money doesn't talk.
 
thanks for the support.
Cheers!
- Silkcuts
Posted by Hawkeye446
@Silkcuts:
Haha, this is true, but why has DC been annoying you?
Posted by Silkcuts
@Hawkeye446 said:
" @Silkcuts: Haha, this is true, but why has DC been annoying you? "
I am more of a Vertigo & Wildstorm guy. DC has not handled their imprints well since Levitz stepped down.  Even the main universe just feels like a money grab.  I feel like DC is out for the money now, not for the same goal of story telling when I became a DC fan.
Posted by pikahyper
@Silkcuts said:
" @pikahyper said:
" Very good review but it seems more like a review of the creators then the actual comic itself; sparse character info and not much info about the story or what it is about. "
That is something I can't deny.  I felt I would revile too much of the story explaining Alice.  So I avoided the spoilers and went for why this trade is a must.  Or tried at least.  Glad I didn't trick you with the flash and bang of picture. Great feed back :D "
Well since I haven't read the story at all I was just expecting to find out a little more about it to keep me interested, I have the original issues and I have been looking forward to reading it because I love the characters, art, and writing but like I've mentioned before in various places I am still 18 months behind on reading and since I read about 80% of the comics published each week and I read everything chronologically as it is published I got a while until I get to Elegy :P
Moderator
Posted by Hawkeye446

Ahhh right. So I am guessing your not a Marvel fan either?
Posted by Silkcuts
@pikahyper said:
" @Silkcuts said:
" @pikahyper said:
" Very good review but it seems more like a review of the creators then the actual comic itself; sparse character info and not much info about the story or what it is about. "
That is something I can't deny.  I felt I would revile too much of the story explaining Alice.  So I avoided the spoilers and went for why this trade is a must.  Or tried at least.  Glad I didn't trick you with the flash and bang of picture. Great feed back :D "
Well since I haven't read the story at all I was just expecting to find out a little more about it to keep me interested, I have the original issues and I have been looking forward to reading it because I love the characters, art, and writing but like I've mentioned before in various places I am still 18 months behind on reading and since I read about 80% of the comics published each week and I read everything chronologically as it is published I got a while until I get to Elegy :P "
Glad I did not spoil anything.  
 
@Hawkeye446 said:
" Ahhh right. So I am guessing your not a Marvel fan either? "

I tend to me more of a fan of a writer.  Marvel is all over the place, but something like their Max Imprint with Ennis and Aaron and the rest of the former Vertigo guys, I am there.  As for 616 its hard for me to follow it religiously. 
Edited by lostlantern13

I have to agree with the others. This is a really well-written review. JHW3 deserves every ounce of praise possible...and then top some more on it.
 
At the very least, you've convinced me to read this....perhaps pick it up at my next visit to the comic shop.

Posted by Silkcuts
@lostlantern13 said:
" I have to agree with the others. This is a really well-written review. JHW3 deserves every ounce of praise possible...and then top some more on it.  At the very least, you've convinced me to read this....perhaps pick it up at my next visit to the comic shop. "
that means a lot coming from a top review like you.  Thanks for the support.  Cheers!
Posted by Shanana

Awesome review!
 
I agree this is how comics should be written

Posted by Silkcuts
@Sha said:
" Awesome review!  I agree this is how comics should be written "
Thanks :D  If comics were all written this quality more people would buy them instead of download.
Posted by The Lobster

Whoa, Well done. 
 
This was a great review, I'm going to have to pick this up.

Posted by Silkcuts
@The Lobster said:
" Whoa, Well done.   This was a great review, I'm going to have to pick this up. "
Thank you sir. My goal is to spread the word on this one.  This is a must have book and a certified Silkcuts must.
Posted by B'Town

In my opinion, Elegy is a Must Have for any collector, not just Batwoman fans.  In this review you have done a great job of explaining, why.  This book is just too great to pass up.   
 
Thanks for a terrific review.

Posted by Silkcuts
@B'Town said:
" In my opinion, Elegy is a Must Have for any collector, not just Batwoman fans.  In this review you have done a great job of explaining, why.  This book is just too great to pass up.    Thanks for a terrific review. "
:D Thanks.  That is what I was going for.  of 2010, this maybe one of the most "Must have books" released.
Posted by AMS

Nice review, I haven't honestly even read anything to do with Batwoman yet but this review has made me want to pick this book up just to see art in real life.
Posted by Silkcuts
@AMS said:
" Nice review, I haven't honestly even read anything to do with Batwoman yet but this review has made me want to pick this book up just to see art in real life. "
It is something that inspires.  It is a very safe investment.
Posted by Mr.Q
I admit you make a very compelling case. everything is well thought out and expertly articulated. I was already aware of this through some of your blogs I've read. your passion for these works of art is easy to discern and that alone is enough to sell the story you are pitching. but then you broke it down for us and really brought it home. the dictionary definition at the beginning was a nice touch. it really helped set the stage for the thorough analysis that followed. all in all an intelligent  review and nicely executed.
Posted by Darkchild

AWESOME will be getting this myself soon

Posted by Duo_forbidden

This is a very well done review!  I would be convinced to buy this if I haven't already lol. I will farther to say that this review is even better than mine. Kudos.

Posted by longbowhunter

I have all the Detective issues. I'd like to buy the hardcover for the extra stuff. JHWIII does the most amazing splash pages I've ever seen.

Posted by BK-77-7

Cool, I didnt know that there was a Bat Woman, just a Bat Girl.

Posted by Krakoa

Phenomenal review. I've been wanting to read this for a while and this review has helped to intensify my desire to read it. 

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