Batwoman: 5 essential Batwoman comics to read before the CW series


With the CW series on the way, you may be wondering what Batwoman stories would be best to read before watching it?

Comics can sometimes feel impenetrable, no matter the character. So, with Batwoman soon to be airing on CW, some people may want to read some Batwoman stories in order to prepare for its arrival, but just don’t know where to start.

Kate Kane is an excellent character and despite being a relatively recent creation in the world of comics, has starred in several brilliant stories. Here are just a few to introduce you to her, as well as potential ways that the show may draw from the comics.

1. Elegy

Within the pages of Detective Comics, Batwoman had her first official solo title, and it is excellent. Greg Rucka and J.H. Williams III crafted a story that really made the character her own, but also something that felt like it fit into the long history of Gotham.

The character was essentially brand new, but this story feels like it was made for a character that had been around for decades.

Arrow — “Elseworlds, Part 2” — Image Number: AR709d_0403r — Pictured: Ruby Rose as Kate Kane/Batwoman — Photo: Jack Rowand/The CW — © 2018 The CW Network, LLC. All Rights Reserved. /

Many of the supporting characters that would help define the world of Batwoman were also introduced in this story, helping to flesh it out along the way – as well as the Batwoman mythos.

This is the story that seemingly is going to be the basis for the first season of the show, so it’s the best place to start if you want to get into reading Batwoman. “Elegy” also introduces the incredibly weird world that Kate Kane inhabits, making it feel even more distinct than most Batman stories. This is the story that also introduces you to J.H. Williams III’s Kate Kane, and no one will ever draw her better.

2. 52

While Elegy was the first leading series for Batwoman, it wasn’t her first appearance. That was during the year-long weekly series 52. Kate Kane isn’t the only character featured in the series, given the nature of the story, but this is her first story, so if you are at all interested in the character, you should read it. Plus, 52 is generally a great series anyway, so it’s worth reading regardless of Batwoman.

In Batwoman’s part of the series, she goes up against Intergang and their newly formed “Religion of Crime,” along with a prophecy that Kate will be sacrificed for their religion. It’s a weird, often unsettling story that establishes Kate as a worthy member of the Bat-family.

3. Hydrology

If Elegy and 52 established the world that Batwoman inhabits, “Hyrdology” is the story that expands that world and cements Batwoman within the fabric of Gotham City.

Taking place nearly immediately after Elegy, Batwoman is faced with a dilemma involving kidnapped and dead children, as well as a ghost. It’s as weird as it sounds, but it works incredibly well. This is the world that Kate Kane inhabits, and it doesn’t shy away from it.

If you’re not sure about continuity regarding reading this because of The New 52 branding though, don’t worry, Batwoman was probably the least affected title of the entire reboot. The story is a direct sequel to Elegy and features the return of J.H. Williams III as the artist of the series, but he now co-writes the series as well.

With that in mind, you should probably read Elegy first if you are interested in this story, but if you don’t, the trade paperback of Hydrology includes an origin issue which will catch you up to speed.

4. Detective Comics (by James Tynion IV)

While this isn’t necessarily only a Batwoman story, she absolutely is a central character. This series is arguably one of the best Bat-family books of the past decade and Batwoman is a huge part of that. The way that Kate Kane is portrayed here is nothing short of fantastic and the series is willing to go places that are logical for the character, but shocking nonetheless.

More from Arrowverse

If you need convincing about how Batwoman could work within the contexts of a team in the Arrowverse, look no further than this series. It’s an excellent look into the character as a leader, as well as how far she is willing to go to protect the people of Gotham.

Furthermore, much like the rest of the Arrowverse shows have built a team around the main characters, this is a perfect example of how the Batwoman show could do pull that off. Luke Fox is also featured heavily here and, as he is going to be in the show, this is a good series to read from that angle as well.

5. The Many Arms of Death

The first storyline of the most recent Batwoman series, this storyline follows Kate as she arrives on a crime-infested island in order to stop the drug operation that originates from it. The biggest problem though is, this is where she lived for some time after being kicked out of the military. This story does a solid job detailing one of Kate’s first loves, as well as building on her backstory more than previously had been done.

The Arrowverse very much has an affinity for its flashbacks and this is the perfect story for the show to use a basis if they do go down a flashback route with Batwoman. It may seem a bit derivative of Arrow on the outset, but there’s enough difference to differentiate the two as they move forward with their story.

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Batwoman debuts on The CW on October 6, at 8:00 p.m. ET. Are you looking forward to the show? What comics would you like it to draw inspiration from? Sound off in the comments below.