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Review: Batwoman Volume 2: To Drown the World

Batwoman Volume 2: To Drown the WorldCollects: Batwoman #6-11
Writer: J.H. Williams III & W. Haden Blackman
Art: Amy Reeder, Trevor McCarthy, Rob Hunter, Pere Perez & Richard Friend


A very interesting book, especially how it was written. This story was broken apart into different points of view that spanned the entire story and focused on several major characters. I figured that by going character by character would make things easier to summarize:


Batwoman’s story opens with her deep inside the lair of the Medusa followers battling the Hook. During the battle he mentions that he will kill Batwoman for his “mother” while Kate begins taking her revenge on him for injuring Bette. Beating him to the floor, Batwoman rips off his hook and we see him begin to transform into Rush…a character that first appeared in Batwoman: Elegy back in “Detective Comics” pre New 52. Rush exclaims that Batwoman had promised to protect him, but Falchion proclaims that she doesn’t love him like he does, “I love all of my monsters.” Falchion explains that the people of Gotham have provided him with many urban legends to draw from, and he wonders what will become of Batwoman. He finishes by stating that The Mother will have Kate’s heart as her first meal.


At this point Batwoman engages the remaining Medusa monsters including Killer Croc, Bloody Mary and the Weeping Woman. Kate uses an arrow head throwing dart to take down Croc with an electrical charge, shatter Bloody Mary inside a mirror, and to engulf the Weeping Woman within fire. Threatened with the death of the children, Kate ceases her attacks. She then engages Falchion in battle with Sune appearing to back Kate up. Enraged that he has been deceived by Sune, Falchion attacks the two women with abandon but is quickly overpowered. Using one of Sune’s arrows, Batwoman fights Falchion and plunges the arrow deep into his eye. Falchion falls to the ground clinging to life. In a moment of thanks Sune kisses Batwoman, and then takes up Falchion’s sword plunging it into his chest.


With the monsters beginning to rally, Sune explains that she wanted to ensure Falchion remained dead. Batwoman comments that it was never about revenge for her brother, but Sune counters that it was her brother’s idea…Sune then shape shifts into Maro. Maro proclaims himself Falchion’s successor, floods the base and escapes with the children. With the sinking of the Medusa base, Batwoman swims to the surface dragging Agent Chase with her.


This story takes place at the bedside of Bette Kane. One month prior to events in the Medusa base Jacob has been visiting his niece as she lies in a coma. The doctors encourage Jacob to talk with Bette, even though many patients never leave the Gotham ICU “every little bit helps.” One week later finds Jacob returning to the hospital brining along a hairbrush that he used to brush his girls hair with, and talks about how his daughters were alike but very different. Later on Jacob talks with the doctors and tries to explain how he felt Bette move, only to be told that it could have been an involuntary response. With one week to the present, we find Jacob being pulled from Bette’s room as the doctors rush in to save the crashing Bette.


Bette manages to survive, and the next we see of Jacob is him coming to visit her where he brings a bullet casing on a chain. Jacob tells a story about how when his girls were young their cat got very sick and had to be put down, Jacob had taken the cat out back and put a bullet through its head. Unknowingly the girls had watched the whole things: Kate quickly grabbed a shovel and helped to bury the cat, while Beth cried for days. It was at that point that Jacob realized how much of him was in Kate; able to close off her emotions and do what needed to be done, while Beth he saw nothing. He breaks down crying and exclaims that he secretly loved Beth more.


On the day that Bette’s family intends to take her off life support, Jacob arrives at Bette’s side and places a domino mask over Bette’s eyes. Jacob informs her that she needs to “crawl out of the hole [she’s] hiding in. And open [her] damn eyes.” He states that they need to get back on their feet together and he will show Bette everything that Kate knows and more. Jacob’s story closes with Bette Kane opening her eyes and asking if she can keep the mask.


Still on the case of the missing children, this story opens with Maggie Sawyer talking with one of the mothers of the children. The mother states that if Detective Sawyer had known how it felt to have a child and then have it taken away ,then she would have some idea of how she felt. As the mother leaves, we see Maggie pulling a picture from a drawer and staring at it.


A week before the events of the present, we find Maggie and a group of GCPD officers battling Killer Croc who is attacking the were-beasts. Sune makes her appearance proclaiming that Falchion’s followers should be fed to The Mother. Maggie draws her gun on Sune and arrests her, shouting that Sune will “sit in the sweatbox until [she tells her] everything [she knows] about Medusa.”


Several days later finds Maggie onboard a police boat transferring Sune to a safe house. The two boats are quickly attacked by Batwoman who is intent on breaking Sune out of police custody. Batwoman stuns Maggie and goes below deck to find Sune, however Maggie recovers quickly and goes after her. At the door of Sune’s cell Maggie surprises Batwoman who accidentally injects her with a mix of tranquilizers and Scarecrow toxins.


After her recovery, Maggie is on another date with Kate aboard the yacht owned by Falchion. Maggie notices Kate’s absence and late return followed by a disguised (and unrecognized Sune). A quick phone call from Harvey Bullock informs Maggie that there has been another kidnapping and Maggie quickly leaves. At the crime scene, Maggie and Gordon discover another body of a dead child. Forcing herself to walk away, Maggie makes a phone call and we discover that she has a daughter.


Fifteen minutes after the events in the Medusa base, Maggie rushes to the docks in response to a disturbance. Upon arrival, a large explosion beneath the water causes Sawyer to call for backup. However the order is rescinded when Agent Chase washes ashore claiming that Batwoman is responsible for the disaster.


Maro’s story is unique as it provides many origins for several of the monsters showcased throughout this series. Four months prior to the present, we are shown that Maro was the one who drowned the Weeping Woman’s children in the Gotham bay. Maro explains to Falchion that his powers require the people to believe in something, “these people believe that La Llorona is real, therefore I can make it so.” Maro states that soon Maria will drown herself and it is then that Maro will keep her from passing on.


Several months later, Maro now accompanied by Killer Croc forces several children to call forth Bloody Mary. Because the children believe in the urban legend, Bloody Mary appears and is drawn into the ranks of Medusa. Next we are flashbacked to the events of Batwoman: Hydrology during the battle between the were-beasts and the Medusa cult. We see that Rush was the man dragged away and had his hand severed. Upon their escape Maro introduces Rush to the hook which seems to have an intelligence of its own. Once placed on the stub of his arm, the hook transforms Rush into the monster we were first introduced to.


After the destruction of the Weeping Woman in the previous volume, Maro is seen next summoning her spirit back from the netherworld. Lastly one week prior to the present, Maro presents Killer Croc with a mixture of virgin’s blood that will complete his transformation. Croc has been dining on irradiated meat for weeks causing him to mutate further. Maro explains that Killer Croc’s ancestors were shape shifters from Babylon, Sobek god of the Nile and Tatsu the first dragon. Maro uses all of these myths and legends to transform and mutate Croc into a hideous beast.


Returning to the present, during the events of the Medusa base battle, Maro gathers the children into portal. Just before his escape he orders the Weeping Woman to flood the base and kill Batwoman and Chase. Transforming into a white fox, Maro jumps into the portal and departs.


Kate’s story focuses on the events leading up to the Medusa base battle. Three weeks prior we find Kate and Maggie discussing Kate’s upbringing, which Kate doesn’t want to discuss. Maggie agrees to drop the subject…for now. A few weeks later we find Maggie and Kate out for dinner at a sushi restaurant. Kate is quickly distracted by something she sees outside and leaves, Maggie goes after her only to witness a confrontation between Kate and Abbot (the leader of the were-beasts seen in Batwoman: Elegy). Abbott reveals that his group is being run out of Gotham by Medusa and reveals their leader’s identity as Falchion.


A week later Kate is in an argument with Agent Chase of the DEO who is trying to pressure Kate into breaking Sune out of police custody. Chase attempts to use the dwindling relationship between Kate and Maggie as a catalyst to get what she wants. After the breakout, Kate is sneaking around Falchion’s yacht attempting to uncover information with Sune. Sune explains how her “brother” Maro promised her to Falchion and was eventually sent into the field as an agent. Kate then uncovers that the Medusa base is underwater connected to the yacht.
The day after the Medusa base events, Kate finally decides to open up to Maggie. She reveals several photos of her and her family and explains how she had a twin sister who was dead. Maggie then reveals her daughter to Kate, the two become even closer.


Opening with a bang, Chase’s story begins with a fight in an alleyway with members of the Medusa cult. Batwoman swings to the rescue and displays many of the new toys provided by the DEO including a new bullet proof batsuit. Back at the DEO lab, Chase presents Batwoman with more equipment and her next mission: breaking out a Medusa agent name Sune from GCPD custody. Chase explains that Sune is a data thief and could be convinced to turn sides and help the DEO…the only catch is that Maggie is in charge of the prisoner transfer.


Several days later, we find Chase helping Batwoman and Sune to escape the police pursuing them after the breakout. Batwoman punches Chase after screaming that she was forced to use the fear laced tranquilizer on Maggie, and that she will never do something like that again.
Days before the present, on a chopper above Gotham bay, Chase instructs Batwoman and Sune that she will need more information on the location of the Medusa base; Batwoman offers up an invitation she received to a party on Falchion’s yacht. Chase informs her to attend and bring Sune with her.


Hours before the battle, Chase and the DEO are battling Killer Croc when an explosion nearly kills everyone. Croc escapes and Chase goes to the aid of a dying agent. Batwoman and Sune leave to pursue Croc to the Medusa base. Chase eventually catches up with the two as Maro is about to escape, Batwoman quickly stuns Chase before she can kill Maro…Batwoman’s reason being that if Maro dies the location of the children will be lost. Chase is then pulled below water by Batwoman who pushes Chase to the surface as she fights off Killer Croc.


In the end we see Maro in the presence of The Mother, surrounded by the kidnapped children. The Mother proclaims that Batwoman will be devoured by “The Mother of All Monsters!”


Wow. That was a lot summarize! As you can probably tell this is a very intricate story with many aspects to cover. First off the way this story was written was amazing, using these six characters to tell the story was very unique…and at some points difficult. It forced the reader to really remember what was happening and going on with the other characters. I can see however, how reading each individual issue months apart would be difficult. I believe that this story was truly written to be read in this format. This book reminded me a lot of the TV series “LOST”, jumping back and forth between the past and present…giving away tidbits of information here and there but still blowing the reader away with the constant twist and turns that Batwoman took.


This book also delves further into the supernatural aspect, the villains are beginning more and more to be inspired by popular urban legends: the hook man, Bloody Mary, the weeping woman and even the crocodiles in the sewer. And the explanation of how Maro uses the beliefs in these legends to bring them to life was very creative.


I truly cannot get over how in depth the writing is on this book, it makes the reader think and definitely focuses on several aspects that I find interesting.


Only a couple downsides of this book, and really they aren’t much. The story telling is definitely not for everyone, and as stated this story was truly meant to be read as whole…rather than in the monthly format it was first published in. Also the art of Williams is missed. Amy Reeder and the others do an excellent job to make up for it, but I think that Williams brings a truly unique style to his art that fits with the supernatural motif of “Batwoman.”


Overall an excellent book and sequel to the first volume. Definitely recommended.


Batwoman Volume 2: To Drown the World:


4 out of 5 Batarangs


Reviewed by Ryan Blair

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