As Batwoman’s tenure as the lead in “Detective Comics” reaches its penultimate issue, the storytelling becomes more fragmented and less engrossing as the cookie-cutter plot is dragged out for an extra issue. This one acta very much as filler, aside from a couple of interesting moments. It’s attractive filler with Jock drawing it and backed up by another entertaining Question second feature story where the continuing team-up of Renee Montoya and the Huntress has vastly improved the story.
The second part “Cutter” begins with a clear indication that this story takes place when Bruce Wayne was Batman, which makes the delaying tactic of him not being able to apprehend a petty crook later in the issue somewhat unbelievable, given the build-up of his skills. This is coupled with Batwoman’s utter ineffectiveness in dealing with the Cutter, the man kidnapping women to cut off pieces of them to build his ideal woman, who escaped from her last issue and twice in this issue. Given the lame, clichéd nature of the villain, this doesn’t exactly make Batwoman look like that credible a hero. How’s she going to deal with the A-list Bat-villains if she can’t handle a nobody like this?
Jock’s art uses heavy inks and shadows to great effect. His angular, sketchy art depicts the chaotic elements of the action scenes well, though his figures look posed awkwardly at times, especially Batman. He doesn’t seem to have a strong handle on how to draw the character in a fight, but he nails scenes focused on out of costume characters with a style reminiscent of an early Sean Phillips.
In the Question second feature, the story has taken on a slight comedic tone by pairing the Huntress with Renee Montoya, in this installment, they visit Gotham to meet the Huntress’ computer whiz: Barbara Gordon, who we’re all aware is Oracle. Renee’s continued stunned reaction that Commissioner Gordon’s daughter is the superhero computer go-to-person is funny and understandable. Throw in some action scenes and this is a peppy chapter in the ongoing effort to take down some human traffickers.
With Cully Hamner and Dave McCaig on the art, the story sings. McCaig uses a lot of bright colors in the civilian scenes, preferring darker tones for the costumed scenes at night, which is effective and matches the cartoony elements of Hamner’s art. Hamner does a great job of distinguishing the three women from one another in their faces and bodies, all giving strong clues to their personalities through how they’re drawn.
While the main story is questionable and unsatisfying despite the good art, the second feature of “Detective Comics” #862 picks up the slack with humor and action.