"Batwoman" #17 Puts Marriage Equality In The Spotlight

Wed, February 20th, 2013 at 7:33am PST

Comic Books
Kevin Melrose, Staff Writer
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J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman's long term plans for "Batwoman" began to coalesce in this week's issue

Amid the backlash over DC Comics' decision to hire author Orson Scott Card, an outspoken opponent of same-sex marriage, to contribute to its "Adventures of Superman" anthology, the latest issue of "Batwoman" introduces an unexpected plot twist: a proposal.

"Batwoman" #17, by J.H. Williams III, W. Haden Blackman and Dave Stewart, concludes the Medusa story arc with Batwoman, Wonder Woman and Hawkfire (Bette Kane) victorious, and Kate Kane revealing her identity to Maggie Sawyer, whom she's been dating. Before the Gotham City police captain can react, Batwoman says, "Marry me, Mags," and kisses her.

The proposal follows that of Golden Age Green Lantern Alan Scott, who was reintroduced in DC's New 52 as a younger gay man, to his boyfriend in June's Earth-2 #2. However, that occasion didn't end happily, as the train they were on wrecked, killing his fiancée (and providing Green Lantern with his origin). It's unknown whether Maggie accepts Kate's request, but it's bound turn out better than that one.

While not directly addressing the marriage proposal, Williams wrote Tuesday on his blog that, "Back when we (Haden and I) were offered to take over Batwoman’s direction after Greg Rucka’s departure, there was a certain sense of elation and trepidation in saying yes, and a certain kind of responsibility. Batwoman is an important character, and a socially important one that has meaning that extends well beyond the printed pages of the world she lives in, reaching out into ours possibly affecting those who encounter her story. At the time, we quickly said yes to telling her story, but then had the arduous task of putting that puzzle together, while having it be an expansion from what Greg and I had already set in motion. After weeks of planning and plotting, figuring out just how those pieces moved and fit into a bigger construct, we knew where we were going with her, where the bigger fantastical story interacted with more personal aspects of Kate Kane’s life. So the current few issues of the tale have all been set up since the beginning, since Batwoman’s first Issue 0 (yes, there has been more than one). And it’s all culminating now, into issue 17 that is out now. It’s an important issue in many respects, not just to Kate’s story, but to ours as well."

As strained as DC's connection to some of its gay, and gay-friendly, fans may seem at the moment, its relationship with Batwoman has been even dicier. Kate Kane, now a lesbian socialite, was introduced in summer 2006 amid a hail of mainstream-media coverage. But a long-rumored "Batwoman" series faced one delay after another, which some chalked up to DC’s nervousness about the potential effect the character’s sexual orientation could have on the lucrative Bat-brand. Finally, in February 2009, it was confirmed the long-awaited Batwoman comic by Rucka and Williams would become an arc of "Detective Comics," timed to coincide with the "death"-induced absence of Batman. The same month their acclaimed "Elegy" arc ended, Rucka revealed he and Williams would continue the story in Batwoman. But in April 2010, Rucka announced he was walking away from the character, and from DC Comics. After still more delays, "Batwoman" at last launched in September 2011.

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation's GLAAD Media Awards honored Rucka and Williams' "Detective Comics" arc in 2010, and "Batwoman" in 2012. The latter is nominated again this year.

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TAGS:  dc comics, batwoman, jh williams iii, w haden blackman, batman

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