DC's Batwoman has had quite the artistic lineup so far. The series has mostly been sumptuous and at times even utterly breath-taking. However, when the series' interiors aren't so awe-inspiring, Batwoman's Achilles heel, its scripting, is laid bare.
Batwoman #21, as it turns out, not only has wonderful interior art but also shows a marked improvement in the book's writing. The issue provides an epilogue of sorts to the battle between Medusa and the Wonder Woman/Batwoman team-up. The fight has left Killer Croc, the vessel for Medusa's Hydra, introspective and seeking the comfort of his new adoptive family, Gotham's cult of were-creatures. When the cult gives Croc an opportunity to rise through their ranks, he seizes it, but has an interesting epiphany with respects to his place in the world as an outsider.
This issue sheds some new light on a classic Batman rogue and really characterizes Croc in a welcome way. Whereas other creators have been quick to put "extreme" twists on the origins of established villains, Williams and Blackman keep it simple here, and the story really succeeds because of it. It's a breath of fresh air--err, maybe that's pungent, swamp air--to get a narrative told from Croc's unique perspective while also seeing certain compelling tweaks to his status quo.
Guest artist Francesco Francavilla steps up to the plate here as well, channeling the arcane, nouveau spirit of some of Stephen Bisette and John Totleben's best Swamp Thing layouts. Francavilla's involvement always portends pulpy goodness, and with Batwoman #21 we get that and more. Some of his action sequences look fairly rushed, and occasionally one might spot a strange character posture or expression, but overall this issue is gorgeous.
I haven't truly been enjoying Batwoman for a while. It's been a book that I pick up whenever Williams is providing art for an issue. However, the guys working on this book may have won me over again with this installment. We'll have to see if the inspiration illustrated here carries over to future issues.