The new Batwoman series has distinguished itself from other Bat-books by taking Kate Kane outside of Gotham to the crime-ridden island of Coryana, where she faces down demons from her past while trying to stop an international terrorist organization. Written by Marguerite Bennett and James Tynion IV with art by Steve Epting and colorist Jeromy Cox, the first arc was thrilling, romantic, and gorgeously illustrated. This creative team has a strong handle on both the positive and negative aspects of Kate’s personality, and this week’s issue continues to highlight her complicated character as it flashes back to her early days in Coryana and the start of her relationship with Safiya Sohail, who is definitely in charge of the island but doesn’t like being called “leader.”
Batwoman #5 reunites Bennett with her Angela: Asgard’s Assassin collaborator, Stephanie Hans, whose digitally painted artwork gives this exclusive preview a very different feel compared to Epting and Cox’s visuals. Hans’ art is softer and more sensual, which fits well for a story about the start of Kate and Safiya’s romance. There’s a slightly foggy quality that reinforces this as a tale from the past, and the first shot of Safiya’s home manages to be both idyllic and ominous at the same time. There’s a darkness in the first two pages that dissipates as Kate and Safiya begin to form a personal connection, ending with a panel of Safiya against a bright blue sky as she asks Kate if she wants to be her prisoner. We don’t see the answer, but the visuals indicate that Kate is going to say yes.