Kathy (now Kate) Kane returns from West Point to Gotham for her uncle’s funeral just before that dastardly Riddler kills the lights. Marc Andreyko uses this Zero Year flashback to flesh out the Kane/Wayne family dynamics. Overall, I think this was a good use of a mandated break from the ongoing storyline. Some clarity on the intersection of these family trees was needed especially when you consider that Batwoman is all geared up to duke it out with cousin Bruce. We’re also treated to a little action and adventure that wind up showing us where Kate and Maggie first meet. I found the circumstances comical and very much in step with their current dynamic. Art duties are divided up between Trevor McCarthy, Andrea Mutti, Pat Olliffe and Jim Fern. Although visually distinctive, this group works well together and chose appropriate break points to transfer duties.
The six year younger versions of Kate, Maggie, and Bette really don’t look much different than their present day counter parts. That makes sense some sense to me for Kate, but I would have expected that Maggie’s appearance would match her plucky approach to her job. Is there a message in this or was it just a bit lazy? Regardless, the little vigilante escapade that Andreyko cooks up for Kate is pretty clunky. It isn’t hard to image that a soldier-in-training would have trouble weathering a storm at Daddy’s place, but I would have rather seen something pull Kate into action. She justifies her romp under the veil of being a ‘good soldier’. Unfortunately her real motivation seems to be more about avoiding boredom. I could have handled a whole issue devoted to a post-funeral Wayne/Kane booze fest with steady doses of embarrassing family stories. If DC can’t let Kate marry her lover, the least they could do is let her go on a bender.
This Batwoman story is solid enough stand on its own with or without the Zero Year tie-in. That’s kind of the way this book has been in the new 52: a peer to, but independent from the rest of the Bat books.
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