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
 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
 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.
 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

 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.
 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
 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
 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

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