Hey, it’s been a while since I’ve done a rec, huh?  How about a real comic book comic book?  I’m talking an honest-to-goodness superhero comic, boys and girls! I’m not sure how much overlap there is between webcomic readers and print superhero comics – anyone out there a fan?  I’m quite curious what Geist!’s readers are into.

Although I’ve always wanted to like superhero comics,  a big pileup of things about them generally leave me feeling indifferent or worse – quicker pacing than I feel can tell a solid story, constant cameos from other Marvel/DC characters that weaken the integrity of the story I’m trying to read, sexism that runs the gamut from a bizarre obsession with women’s body parts to a nasty aura of underlying misogyny, even in many well-respected works… 

So it’s really exciting to me to be able to recommend Batwoman: Elegy, written by Greg Rucka with art by J.H. Williams III. It’s got the action, over-the-top drama and stylized cool I want in a superhero comic.  As Batwoman, Kate Kane makes a plausible hero, pragmatic, tough and a little childishly rebellious but mostly growing out of it, nicely grounded by her relationship with her father. 

It’s nice to see a lesbian character who’s a fully-developed person, not just a ‘token minority’ or ‘OMG gays!’  In costume, she’s appropriately creepy and cool.  She’s shown as sexy but in a way that wasn’t at all at odds with being awesome and heroic;  this comic never felt gratuitous or  unfriendly-to-women.

I’m not the biggest fan of the general style of drawing in most superhero comics – there’s always something  stiff in the level of realism they go for – but the art is always good quality here, and the red-and-black Batwoman scenes are very striking.

In short, if you like – or want to like – superhero comics, do give this one a try.