|Publication date||August 2009 – February 2010|
|Title(s)||Detective Comics #854-860|
|Main character(s)||Kate Kane/Batwoman|
Colonel Jacob Kane
|Penciller(s)||J.H. Williams III|
Elegy is a 2009-2010 comic book story arc that ran in the main feature of DC Comics' flagship title, Detective Comics, from issues #854-860. It is written by Greg Rucka with artwork by J.H. Williams III, with colors by Dave Stewart.
The story is notable for featuring the modern incarnation of Batwoman, replacing Detective's regular feature character Batman in the wake of that character's apparent death in the DC event series Final Crisis. Although a title had been in the planning stages since before the character's first appearance in 52, various production setbacks and DC events delayed the title until Bruce Wayne's removal from the present day DC Universe. Deemed the appropriate time, the story was placed as the main feature in Detective.
According to series writer Greg Rucka, DC Comics had intended to do either a Batwoman ongoing or mini-series prior to the release of the year-long 52. After the release of a much publicized article in The New York Times about the character, mainstream attention dictated to DC that the character should be exploited as soon as possible in the 52 mini-series.
By 52's conclusion, DC made it clear to the talent involved that the character should appear in her own book at some point. Rucka ended up landing the writing assignment, having written most of the Batwoman material in 52. Around the time of the One Year Later event, the then-editor on the Batman titles, Peter Tomasi, first said that artist J.H. Williams III and Rucka would be the best team to take on the title. After Tomasi left his position as editor, Williams and Rucka began seriously discussing where to take the story. Rucka said that he "had been doing a whole lot of pre-work on it, writing up a concept bible and things like that. Jim sat down and looked at the designs that had already been done in her prior appearances, brought up some of his design and aesthetic concerns, and then went on to do redesigns. At which point I was writing scripts."
The title was announced in February 2008, although production conflicts continued to loom. Rucka described the title as, "the worst kept secret in comics for about two years." DCU Executive Editor Dan DiDio remained adamant about the title being published. Rucka said of DiDio's involvement, "He has positively backed this thing from the start, and the number of hits he's taken on this, we've lost count." When the Battle for the Cowl story was published, DC editorial reasoned that the climate of stories without Bruce Wayne was the most logical place to release it. Rucka described, "With Bruce gone, this was the time, and the suggestion was to put it in Detective. And there was precedent for it, so we figured that's great – we'll do that."
Batwoman battles a madwoman known only as Alice, inspired by Alice in Wonderland, who sees her life as a fairy tale and everyone around her as expendable. Batwoman must stop Alice from unleashing a toxic death cloud over all of Gotham City — but Alice has more up her sleeve than just poison, and Batwoman's life will never be the same.
The series, most notably the artwork by Williams III, received high critical acclaim. Dan Phillips of IGN Comics noted in a review of the first issue, "Any discussion of Detective Comics #854 should start with Williams' art. Williams' work is absolutely stunning, and the issue is filled with the type of eye-popping double-page sequences that tempt you to carefully disassemble the book and hang the pages on your wall. Williams is a true visionary when it comes to designing a page, and this book includes arguably his most impressive design work yet."
John Bierly of popular Batman website Batman-On-Film.com praised Rucka's story, saying, "Rucka rocks, and he's bringing his "A" game here. I've never read a single comic book featuring Batwoman, and though I'll do research AFTER I write this review, I wanted to come into this as cold as possible and present the viewpoint of someone who's new to the character. I like her. A lot."
The acclaim for Williams' artwork on this series was reflected with the artist's nomination for an Eisner Award for best Penciller/Inker and Best Cover Artist.
A deluxe edition hardcover graphic novel of Elegy was released in June 2010, and collects Detective Comics #854-860, (ISBN 1-4012-2692-2). The collection features an introduction by Rucka fan and MSNBC political commentator Rachel Maddow.
Elements of Elegy are incorporated into the first season of the Batwoman series on The CW.