Batwoman #6 comes out tomorrow and the issue kicks off the second story arc. As W. Haden Blackman and J.H. Williams III continue to write the series, Amy Reeder will be taking over art duties for this next arc. Newsarama caught up with all three creators throughout the day and talked about not only what has happened in Kate's life, but what is to come as well.
Newsarama: Let's talk a little more about the cast. We've been introduced to Maggie, and I know she represents a love interest for Kate, but what else does she represent, and will her role continue as the book goes forward?
JH Williams: Yeah, Maggie is a mainstay. At first, we had thought about the cast as, sort of, you know, here's the supporting cast. But as we really got into it, we started to look at all these characters, all the way from Jacob to Bette to Maggie, as more of this book being like an ensemble cast. So everyone has a very important role to play and will have a very definitive arc to their character over time, from where we start to where we want to take it. So yeah, Maggie's definitely in for the long haul, and there's going to be some pretty interesting developments with that, not only for their relationship, but what their relationship means in terms of Kate and Maggie's future, as certain developments become more exposed. It's going to be pretty character-defining and character-changing material.
Newsarama: You've got quite a few villains involved in the next few issues.
JH Williams: Yeah. These are all players. There are a lot of details, as we open the second arc, that start to make the different parts of the first arc have some cohesion and make some more literal sense, in terms of some of the details that we've introduced in the first arc, such as who is responsible for the Weeping Woman? Who is responsible for the Tong warriors that are war with the werebeast cult? You know, that kind of stuff. So we slowly move from the first arc being slightly more personal and about being haunted by emotions and events of the past to the second arc being more complicated and interweaving stories that go beyond what was personal. It goes bigger than that. And then the third arc is the culmination of all of it. So that's the most accessible superhero story out of the first three stories, where everything comes to a head and it builds to this big, giant, epic thing.
Newsarama: With these new villains, are you also trying to round out her rogues’ gallery?
JH Williams: Yeah, yeah. One of the things we're having fun with, like in issue #4, what happened to Bette with her attacker, that's actually the first introduction to the Hook, but we don't know a damned thing about him until arc two. That's when we start to learn who he is, where he came from and why. And the connecting piece to some of the things we're seeing is this new Maro character. And his connections to someone named Falchion.
Newsarama: I know there are some new villains. J.H. said Maro is playing a big role?
Amy Reeder: Yeah, there are a few villains. J.H. has been really keen on creating a rogues gallery. He introduced one of those characters in his arc, the Hook. So there's him, there's Maro, and there's the Weeping Woman, and there are a couple other villains, like Falchion. So there are all these new villains. I had guidelines from J.H. on what he was looking for, but I got to design them. But we also have a couple older, more established Batman villains who're going to show up in this arc, and I'm getting to kind of do a little bit of a new take on them. They experience some changes that I designed. It was really fun to have the freedom to design them, within the guidelines they gave me. I think some things I felt a little self-conscious about, because a couple of these were villains people knew. I think I can say that one of them is supposed to look a little Victorian-esque, and I enjoy that era and drew some of it in Madame Xanadu, so it was fun to return to that, in a sense. I really enjoyed working on Maro in particular. It was a smart move for J.H. and Haden to come up with the character. I don't want to spoil it, but when you read the story and find out more about Maro, you'll see that he's a very appropriate villain for the Batwoman title.
Newsarama: When Batwoman isn't in costume, one of the things I talked with J.H. about is that it feels like she's not the traditional buxom heroine. She has the look of being a woman that you would see in the real world. Did you keep that look, and was that at all important to you, to portray her in a more realistic way?
Amy Reeder: Oh, totally! And that's what I always do. And it's part of why I liked the fact that I was going to be drawing Batwoman, because I felt that J.H. captured her so well. I'm definitely into realistic women, and it's been really fun playing with various female characters in this, because there are quite a few, and giving them all their different builds and everything. Because women come in such different shapes. So yeah, I definitely care about realistically shaped women. Although I will say that Batwoman definitely has a '50s pin-up body type, but it's just that she doesn't flaunt it. That's something I picked up from J.H.'s work when she's in costume. But when she's not, she wears things differently. I think that's a good way to treat her.
Newsarama: The series does have a supernatural slant to it so far. So you're saying that will continue?
W. Haden Blackman: Yeah. You know, as we've been working on the series, one of the things we've discovered is that we really enjoy showing the supernatural side of Gotham, and having Batwoman's rogues gallery be more influenced by that side of Gotham than, say, Batman's rogues gallery.
Newsarama: We've met a few villains, and it looks like you've got several coming up in the next story arc, including new villains. You talked about how the rogues gallery for Batwoman is kind of leaning toward the supernatural, but what is it you want to bring to her rogues gallery overall? Are there aspects of Kate's personality that you're going to draw out with her rogues’ gallery, or what's the thinking behind it?
W. Haden Blackman: I think it's kind of two-fold, or three maybe. One, we always want the villains to be counterparts for Kate, in some way. I think the best the villains are, right? You know, Doctor Doom being a counterpoint for Reed Richards, or the Joker being a counterpoint to Batman. And Alice is that in many ways, right? So we didn't want to recreate her polar opposite. Instead, we wanted to go and say, well, what other aspects of her personality can we really challenge with this character? With the Weeping Woman, some of it was about inspiring detective work and some of it was just a desire to show a sympathetic villain who is dealing with some of the same things that Kate is wrestling with. So moving forward, we're going to be meeting some villains who maybe offend her sensibilities, in the sense of —we're already seen one in the first arc: the villain who kind of gutted Bette Kane. That villain will be coming back and will really serve as a way to get a rise out of Kate and get her blood boil, because he's so barbaric and vile. Then we also wanted to create villains who in some ways play on classic villain archetypes. So Maro, who's a villain who shows up in the second arc, is kind of our take on the classic pompous, preaching villain. But hopefully people will see there are new twists to him, as a way that we are defining him. He deals a lot with identity, which again is something that Kate wrestles with too, because she's got a dual identity as Batwoman and Kate Kane. And then we wanted to just try to show different elements of Gotham, so one of the villains that shows up in arc two is a Batman villain that we're kind of reimagining. He fits into Kate's rogues’ gallery a little bit better.
Newsarama: Are we not revealing who the Gotham villain is yet?
W. Haden Blackman: I don't think so. He shows up next month, in issue #7.
Newsarama: And you're tweaking that villain a bit for the new universe?
W. Haden Blackman: We're tweaking him so that he fits with the storyline, and he will fit into what's going on with this Medusa gang and Maro and some of the other characters. So his personality will be familiar and similar to what we've seen before. His motivations will be similar to what we've seen before. But he goes on his own journey in arc two that results in him becoming a slightly different — well, dramatically different, actually — than maybe the villain we knew initially.
For more from all three interviews, check out the separate articles over at Newsarama for J.H. Williams III, Amy Reeder and W. Haden Blackman. Batwoman #6, which begins the new story arc, hits stores tomorrow.
Posted by Dustin Fritschel