I am going to tell you right off, be warned, this volume ends with a cliff-hanger, so I hope you have volume 5 nearby ’cause I didn’t and am now annoyed and writing this review to bide by time until I go home and start the next volume.
So this is another volume where art duties are surrendered to someone else, this time it is Trevor McCarthy and Francesco Francavilla, both who do excellent jobs. McCarthy sticks as close as he can to what Amy Reeder put on the page, so it is kind of like JH Williams, but with his own touches (a good thing, if you can’t be JH Williams, be as close as you can and then show why you are different). I am, in fact, surprised by how well McCarthy does (though he has served as artist on this series, just not as the main artist, so I probably have been seeing his work all this time but not noticing) and quite pleased by it. Francavilla is of course on a level of his own and it was a beautiful (but monstrous) interlude of an issue that he does the art for.
As for the story, it is damn intriguing. Yes it has Alice (ugh), but at least she is only the catalyst, rather than a character we have to interact with much (though it looks like the next volume will have more of her). The main thing is that the DEO are finally just telling Batwoman to outright get Batman. And so, she is the reluctant bloodhound out to figure out how to trap Batman. She turns to Bane (who is of course the only one who successfully has broken Batman) and from there she formulates a plan…which Batman seems to be able to take.
What I really like is that while Batwoman has been played as completely confident and has the skills to be considered Batwoman, when she comes up to big daddy Bats, she finds out how much better Batman is, her thoughts are a reminder that she was inspired by this mythical man, and now she is seeing up close what it means to face him.
Basically, it is a reminder that he is goddamn Batman.
I loved this volume, it was a great and easy read, giving everyone something to do while never slowing down the pace to the point that when I was approaching the end I was thinking, “not like this, not like this…” (and it wasn’t like that, it was more…See You Next Time! Same Bat-time! Same Bat-channel!)
Ugh, so many hours left before I can go read the next volume…