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Batwoman: Elegy: The Deluxe Edition



With the U.S. military's "don't ask, don't tell" policy making a comeback in current headlines, DC Comics' release of "Batwoman: Elegy: The Deluxe Edition" is all the more relevant.

See, this Batwoman "? former Army solider turned dark-of-night caped crusader Kate Kane "? is a lesbian. Although Kate's sexuality helps define her character, it's not all she is, nor does writer Greg Rucka play it for politics or gimmicks. (And note that MSNBC's Rachel Maddow doesn't even bring up the G word in her introduction to the hardcover volume, collecting seven consecutive issues of "Detective Comics," #854-860, comprising the start of Batwoman's starring run in the very title that first introduced Batman to the world.)

The first four chapters find Kate attempting to save Gotham City from a freaky female nemesis who looks like a rag doll, calls herself Alice (as in "in Wonderland") and has designs on a chemical weapon. Alice's true identity both rocks Kate's world and segues into the book's final three chapters, which details how Kate came to ditch the camo and don the cape.

Being an excellent novelist, especially where warfare is concerned, Rucka excels here, deftly weaving between the storylines of Batwoman on the job and Katy off it. Artist J.H. Williams III is up to task of matching his pace, using a darker, more painterly style for the superheroics, and a brighter, more drawn touch elsewhere. It really looks like the work of two people, which "? by design or not "? matches the book's double-identity theme. His action scenes pop with color and burst with life. From a sheer visual standpoint, they're a wonder to behold. Through words and pictures, "Elegy" is terrific work. "?Rod Lott


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