Batwoman Review: The show that is mysterious
The Arrowverse is back in 2021 with Batwoman kicking off their ensemble of shows. All the batwoman fans, fasten up your seat belts because we have something great for you. Let’s have a look.
The comic book plot
Batwoman in the comics is an ex-military soldier named Kate Kane, Who is inspired by Batman to go out and fight crime in Gotham city. By coincidence, she also just happens to be the cousin of Bruce Wayne himself.
Kate Kane was forced to leave the army due to her sexual orientation. And is one of the few openly lesbian DC characters. Batwoman means a lot to fans in terms of representation. Showing that sexuality doesn’t hinder anyone’s ability to be a hero.
She is also a respected member of Bat-Family and plays an important role in the first few volumes of Detective Comics: Rebirth. The character largely gained popularity after the Batwoman: Elegy comic book written by Greg Rucka.
Season one Premiere
The Batwoman TV show originally aired in 2019 and cast Australian actress Ruby Rose as the titular character of Kate Kane/Batwoman. However after the first season, Ruby Rose left the show for personal reasons and the show had to find another lead.
This resulted in the showrunner Caroline Dries creating an original character named Ryan Wilder, who would go on to take the mantle of Batwoman after Kate Kane. Ryan Wilder is played by actress Javicia Leslie who is now the lead character of the show.
Season Two Premiere
The season two premiere of Batwoman is the first major appearance of Ryan Wilder that introduces her to general audiences.
The first season of Batwoman was never completed due to production shutting down as a result of the pandemic. This left open a few plot lines that were further complicated after Rose’s departure from the show.
This first episode mainly works in tying up those loose ends while simultaneously giving us a small piece of Ryan Wilder’s tragic origin story.
The mysterious show
The show also sets up some kind of mystery as to Kate Kane’s “death”. Since Kate is not officially shown dying on-screen, there is always a chance that she could return. Well, if Ruby Rose wishes so. Because let’s be honest, anyone who knows Batwoman, or even comics in general, knows that seemingly dead or missing friends/family members always find a way to come back.
Towards the end of the season two premiere, the show also teases a new villain named Safiyah Sohail. Those familiar with the comics know this name to be of great importance as she is one of Batwoman’s deadliest foes.
Alongside this, the show also makes a convincing case for why Ryan Wilder should be allowed to wear the Bat-Suit and continue on in Kate’s footsteps. This makes the whole “passing of the mantle” less forced and more organic than one would have expected.
Ryan VS Kate: Who is a better Batwoman?
I wouldn’t want to put these two characters against each other, but I think given the situation, comparing the two at one point or another is inevitable.
Kate Kane is a highly revered member of the Bat-Family who has made a name of herself in the DC universe. Often crossing over with other characters and proving to them why she deserves to be taken just as seriously as Nightwing, Red Hood. Or characters under the Batman vertical in DC.
She was also quick to excite audiences right from her first Arrowverse appearance during the Elseworlds event. When she saved Barry Allen and Oliver Queen from the mind-bending effects of the Scarecrow toxin.
Since then, she has grown on fans during the first season of Batwoman and her appearance on the Crisis on Infinite Earths cross-over. She is a great yet flawed character with a unique personality and has become a fond member of the Super-Friends.
While Kate Kane benefits from having a certain amount of comic book history that dictates who she is, Ryan Wilder is a completely blank slate. The first episode does give audiences enough to pique their curiosity in Ryan, but she’ll have to go a long way before she can match up to Kate.
That isn’t to say that she can’t do it. While Kate Kane has a serious and suave demeanor(much like her cousin). Ryan Wilder is very different. Ryan seems to have more vulnerability, a better sense of humor, and bright, warm quality. That owes all it’s thanks to Javicia Leslie’s amazing performance in the role.
Ryan might not be as competent as Kate in terms of being an expert tactician and fighter. But she does leave an impression and might very well impress fans a lot sooner than expected.
So while there is no definite winner between the two leading women, it is only because I don’t think there’s supposed to be. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. Ryan Wilder isn’t supposed to fill in for Kate Kane, she’s supposed to be the Batwoman that she can be.
This makes a lot of sense because that is exactly what Kate did in the comics. She knew she couldn’t play by Batman’s rules. She could only do her best and become a different kind of hero. One that played best to her own strengths and weaknesses.
While it may take a while to get over the absence of Kate Kane, Javicia Leslie’s Ryan Wilder definitely makes an impression. And it won’t be long before we find fans rooting for her just as much as they did for Kate.
Background Score: 3/5
Overall Rating: 7/10
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