Batwoman: 8 Comics to Read Before Season 2
We're just a little over a month out from the debut of Batwoman Season 2, with the hit The CW [...]
We're just a little over a month out from the debut of Batwoman Season 2, with the hit The CW series expected to return in mid-January. Once the series does return, it will be doing so in a significantly different way, with Javicia Leslie starring in the series' lead role following the departure of Ruby Rose's Kate Kane. Leslie is set to portray Ryan Wilder, a wholly new character created for the show, who will also be making history as the first canonical Black incarnation of Batwoman. While a lot is still unknown about the second season, it's pretty safe to say that fans are excited -- both for the DC Comics lore that will work its way into Season 2, and for the trailblazing new stories that will be told along the way.
If you're wanting to get prepared for Batwoman Season 2 (outside of streaming the first season on HBO Max), there are a wide array of existing comics available at your fingertips that can help get you hyped. Some deal directly with characters or canon that are expected to tie into Batwoman's second season, while others just carry the general energy of the titular superhero. Here are eight series we'd recommend checking out ahead of (and probably during) Batwoman's second season.
The first - and arguably most essential - recommendation is Batwoman's most recent solo run, which was part of the Rebirth relaunch in 2017. In particular, the first eighteen issues provide almost all of the DC Comics appearances of Safiyah Sohail, who Shivani Ghai is set to portray in Batwoman Season 2. The Rebirth run dives into Safiyah and Kate Kane's tortured history and romance, as well as Safiyah's ways of operating as a leader of the Many Arms of Death.
While it's clear that Batwoman is going to take some creative liberties with Safiyah's live-action debut - particularly by never having her previously interact with Kate, and instead giving her some sort of rivalry with Alice - the Rebirth run is still the best indication yet of what fans can expect from her characterization.prevnext
The Batman Chronicles
Another villain who has been confirmed for Season 2 - and one with a much more twisty comic book history, is Victor Zsasz, who will be portrayed by Alex Morff. Even if you're familiar with Zsasz from his other live-action appearances on the likes of Gotham, Batman Begins, and Birds of Prey, there's a whole swath of comics involving him that deserve a read -- including the series The Batman Chronicles, which began in 1995. The third issue in the run dives into "The Secret Origin of Mr. Zsasz", chronicling the unconventional and twisted way that he became motivated to be a tally-mark-obsessed serial killer.
The Batman Chronicles will provide some unique context for who Zsasz is as a character, as well as narrative and aesthetic approach to Gotham City that both feels incredibly of-the-time and timeless.prevnext
And of course, there's still Batwoman's big unanswered question regarding Tommy Elliot (Gabriel Mann), who assumed Bruce Wayne's identity in an attempt to sneak into Wayne Enterprises in the final scene of Season 1. While that storyline will undoubtedly take a different shape in Kate's absence, Tommy is definitely still a threat in the series - which makes now a perfect time to visit (or revisit) Batman: Hush.
The 2002-2003 storyline dove into Tommy and Bruce's rivalry in some epic and unexpected ways, while having Hush undeniably wreak havoc on Gotham City along the way. It's the kind of story that fans haven't stopped talking about for nearly twenty years -- which makes the possibility of seeing more of him in Season 2 all the more intriguing.prevnext
Nearly every Batfamily book is probably going to have something interesting for Batwoman fans -- but the most recent run of Batgirl, which wrapped up at Issue #50 earlier this fall, definitely stands out from the pack. For one thing, Issue #50 served as the first canonical comics appearance of Ryan Wilder, in a touching and unexpected scene that showcased her dynamic with Barbara Gordon.
On top of that, the entire Rebirth run of Batgirl has a lot of epic things for fans to take in, from Barbara's trek across the globe to some unique villains to a lot of poignant discourse about what saving your city really means in this modern era. Plus, there's some great Luke Fox content sprinkled into the run as well.prevnext
For a whole swath of fans, their first exposure to Kate Kane's Batwoman came through the world of DC Bombshells -- and even with Kate out of the picture on the TV show, there are still some compelling reasons to check out the series. The run of comics, which covered both DC Bombshells and a sequel series Bombshells United, was inspired by the run of 1940s-themed merchandise line of the same name, which reimagined DC's female heroines as pinups in World War II. For Kate, that meant serving as the leader of an A League Of Their Own-style baseball team called the Batgirls, and inspiring a swath of people to save the day along the way.
Bombshells is arguably one of the best showcases yet of the impact of the Batwoman mantle, something that only feels more relevant as Ryan is set to inspire a lot of people as well. Plus, the series is a visual and narrative joy to experience, especially to see DC's menagerie of heroes recontextualized in such a different era.prevnext
Batman Beyond: Rebirth
Another interesting exploration of the Batwoman mantle - albeit from a completely opposite era - is the current run of Batman Beyond. Set in the cyberpunk-filled Future's End timeline, the series has made headlines over the past few years for introducing Batwoman Beyond, a mysterious and futuristic take on Kate Kane's mantle. Over the course of the arc, it's revealed that Batwoman Beyond is actually Elainna Grayson, the vigilante daughter of Dick Grayson.
Admittedly, Batwoman is a mantle that has yet to really be taken on by a lot of different characters, which has made the idea of Ryan taking over for Kate slightly controversial for some. But Batman Beyond shows how well it can work - and the profound and cool things it can say along the way.prevnext
Flipping over to the other side of The Big Two, Marvel's All-New Wolverine run has some interesting common ground with what fans have seen of Batwoman thus far. The series, which stretched from 2015 to 2018, followed the adventures of Laura Kinney, the clone daughter of the original Wolverine, as she decides to take on his mantle. The run, which stretched for over thirty issues, saw Laura facing off against space beasts, killer viruses, and other clone sisters that she didn't know she had, all with a tenacity and style that fans have come to love.
The idea of taking over the legacy of a character with a profound reputation feels weirdly common between Batwoman and All-New Wolverine, both with Kate taking over for Bruce as Gotham City's protector, and Ryan now doing the same in Kate's absence. Plus, the series has some of the best action sequences and heartwarming moments of comics in recent years.prevnext
And finally, we have Naomi, a newer series that feels like a brighter, but profound compliment to what fans are expecting of Batwoman Season 2. The series follows Naomi McDuffie, a teenager in a small Oregon town whose life is shaken up when she discovers that she's a superhero. More specifically, Naomi was born to superpowered parents on an alternate Earth ravaged by environmental disaster, and was quickly sent to Earth-Prime to stop an evil supervillain from hunting her down.
While Naomi's origin story is definitely more cosmic than anything on Batwoman, the adventure of her becoming a hero - and putting her heart into everything she does - feels oddly reminiscent of what we know about Ryan Wilder. Also, it doesn't hurt that she could soon be standing alongside Ryan in a future crossover, if she ends up getting her own series on The CW.
Batwoman is set to return with new episodes on January 17, 2021 on The CW.prev