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Detective Comics #854

Those attending the New York Comic Con discovered a five-page preview of Detective Comics 854 at the back of their program guides. Others may have already discovered the same preview posted to Newsarama (it’s the second preview, following the Flash: Rebirth preview in the flash viewer.

Which means finally – finally! – I can openly admit that yes, JH Williams III and I have been working on a Batwoman title for nearly two years.

And that is both a pleasure and a relief, if I may say so, because I’ve been wanting to share this for so long it’s not funny. And as much as it’s been hard for me to keep my tongue still on the subject, I think it’s been infinitely harder for JH, all the more so because I believe, sincerely, that this is some of the best work I’ve ever done, and it’s certainly the finest work I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing from him.

Reposting the Newsarama preview here seems a little…redundant, but, that said, I’m going to do it anyway, but with a twist. Unlike Newsarama, I don’t have a lettered copy to share — only the colored pages.

But I do have the original script pages.

So, below the cut, you will find the first five pages, in order, with the corresponding script page after them. If you make with the clicky on the art, you get the big, pretty versions, where you can ooh and ahh over Dave Stewart’s amazing color work, as well as JH’s art.

Page 1

Like all of Gotham’s stories, ours begins in an alley.

Night. Dark. Wet. It’s rained, and will again, but for the moment, it’s stopped.

RUSH is running for his life. RUSH is male, Caucasian, blond, frat-boy haircut and good looks, but the clothes are all wrong – dead man’s clothes, thrift-shop, they don’t fit right, they’re ratty, and they’re mussed all the more because he is, as said, running for his life.

He’s been running for a while.

1 RUSH: uff huff uff uff uff

RUSH looks back, wide-eyed and terrified.

2 RUSH: uff hnfff hfff—

And something slams into him from the wrong way, the way he should have been looking but wasn’t. RUSH is being blown back into the darkness as if sucked that direction.

We see the RED BAT SYMBOL.


Pages 2 and 3

RUSH, maybe on the ground, maybe half-propped against a filthy brick wall, but he’s not our focus, though his terror certainly feeds us.

BATWOMAN advances. Blood red hair and blood red bat and the kind of sexy that makes you think of a succubus with a very bad attitude.

1 RUSH/wobble/faint: ah no…no no no please, not you—
2 RUSH: —why won’t you leave me alone!?!
3 RUSH/bigger: What do you want from me?!?!

The blood red BAT SYMBOL on her chest.

4 BATWOMAN: You know what I want, Rush…

And she SMILES at him. Dark red lips, like she’s already tasted his blood.

5 BATWOMAN: …I want your secrets.
6 BATWOMAN: I want where and I want when.

The BATWOMAN smile. Pale skin and lips painted with dried blood. Lips you’d kill to taste, and maybe die if you did.

7 BATWOMAN: I want her name.

TITLE: Elegy – Part One: Agitato

Page 4

And BATWOMAN puts her boot to RUSH’S neck.

This would be all the more impressive, I think, if she did it with RUSH standing upright, or mostly upright – the kind of leg move that Ken Lo did so well in Drunken Master II, so that she’s essentially using her foot to hold him pinned to the wall, upright.

1 BATWOMAN: And you…
2 BATWOMAN: …really…
3 BATWOMAN: …want to give it to me.

RUSH is terrified; the kind of nightmare where you squeeze your eyes shut and hope it all goes away. Child’s fear.

4 RUSH/small: Please…
5 RUSH/small: …I don’t know, they don’t tell me…

RUSH slumping down to the floor of the alley, on his knees. BATWOMAN’S BOOT shifts to his shoulder, perhaps pushing him down, perhaps using him as a foot rest.

She is not impassive. She still smiles that vampiric smile. We want to believe she loves us.

But already, we know better.

RUSH is defeated.

6 RUSH: …I just know that she’s coming…
7 RUSH: …she’ll be here soon….
8 RUSH: I can’t talk to you. They’ll kill me if I tell you anything.

9 BATWOMAN: They won’t.


RUSH defeated on the ground, kneeling, and if it looks like he’s praying to her, or confessing himself, so much the better.

BATWOMAN has removed her foot from him, now standing before him, still wearing more shadow than light.

10 RUSH: You don’t know. They will…


BATWOMAN raises RUSH’S CHIN, to look at her.

Oh, how he wants to believe her.

12 BATWOMAN: I won’t let them.

Page 5

Closer, the dried blood of her lips as she brings her face closer to his.

1 BATWOMAN: Tell me, Rush…

RUSH is finding himself overwhelmed.

BATWOMAN is turning her head, giving him her ear. That smile.

2 BATWOMAN/small: …whisper it in my ear…

Tight, as RUSH whispers in BATWOMAN’S ear.

Her smile is, perhaps, as before; her eyes are narrowing slightly.


Angle from rooftop above, looking down into the alley. We can see RUSH, running away.

BATWOMAN is watching him go, hard to see amidst the shadows.

This is Batman’s POV, for the record.


BATWOMAN looking up at the ledge high above.

BATMAN SILHOUETTED above, looking down at her. Showing himself, making sure she sees him.


Tight on BATWOMAN. Her expression is mildly amused, perhaps a little resigned – the meeting, after all, was inevitable and she knew this was coming.

3 BATWOMAN/small: Wondered when you’d show yourself.

38 Responses to Detective Comics #854

  1. gregmce

    Those pages are super-sweet — I know what I’m buying this summer!

  2. atticreviews

    Everything about that is sweet.

    Also, I want batsymbols in my sneaker tread now. I have a pocketknife and some spare time . . . . think DC’s copyright people would be cool with?

  3. jared465

    wow. those pages look awesome. these series is going to be a huge hit! BTW, is that Jose Villarubia on colors?

  4. hdefined

    Part of me is disappointed that this book will be out three years after Batwoman debuted – it seems like a ridiculously late time to finally follow up on the character.

    And the other part of me is thrilled that the creative team couldn’t be better, and that the time was obviously spent to make sure this would be done right.

    My only problem is this line: “It’s certainly the finest work I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing from him.” I get hyperbole and all that, but the man illustrated Promethea, which was an exercise in, like, every kind of art style imaginable. As beautiful as these Detective pages are, they’re like Michelango’s Madonna and Child compared to the Sistine Chapel.

  5. jared465

    woops, just saw that you mentioned Dave Stewart right at the end – my bad!

  6. davidwynne

    Beautiful. Just beautiful. I can’t wait.

  7. chiefseamonkey

    Those pages look gorgeous. I can’t wait to have the finished book in my hands.

  8. admin

    I’ve seen 60 pages of this. You’ve just seen 5.

  9. hhbx

    Hey Greg, I’ve got to ask, but since this is going into Detective Comics, are you the first person to write both Detective Comics and Action Comics at the same time?
    I’ve been asking around and no one really seems to know the answer.

  10. hhbx

    Oh! And forgot to say, but that’s some damn beautiful looking stuff there.
    And I still find it very interesting to read the scripts alongside the drawn pages to see how it all came out.

  11. admin

    I actually have no idea. I doubt it, but I suppose it’s possible.

    Seems likely that someone like Denny did it before me, though ;) .

  12. spooky_lemur

    I like the idea of a lot of DC characters but I have never been able to get into the DC Universe, especailly the Bat-Clan. These pages are making me want to buy this comic.

    I especially love how she is not just being a bully to get what info she needs but is offering protection to get it.

    And the art is breathtaking!

  13. lithera

    That is lovely.

  14. nycshelly

    It was a most pleasant surprise to see it in the program. I can’t wait to get my hands on the real thing. :)

  15. devilman145

    Glad to see you being able to talk about some projects. My shop owner who has seen more art than I have said it’s going to make everyone a JH Williams fan. I thought club of heroes was gorgeous, so I can’t wait for this.

  16. insektmute

    Holy freaking crap. WANT.

    Never was a DC fan as a kid, but books like this and Checkmate have really made start paying more attention to what they’re releasing.

  17. hdefined

    This is true.

    But I also own all 32 issues of Promethea, and have never seen anything like it before by any artist.

  18. rattsu


    That is all I have to say on the subject. It’s not like I haven’t been waiting since the end of 52 or anything… *grins*

  19. androidmoser

    Stoked! Can’t wait to get my hands on this!

  20. tranceptor



    Yes! I am so anxious to start reading this I could explode. Can’t wait till the issues are in my hands XD

  21. moonandserpent

    That’s some beautiful work and tight storytelling there. This looks like it will be worth the wait, thanks for the preview. Especially the scripted portion.

  22. foenix

    That is some fantastically gorgeous artwork, as everyone else has already pointed out. A real treat to see it coupled with the scripted pages to go with them. I can’t remember the last time I bought an issue of Detective Comics.

  23. jpantalleresco

    Cool. Loved your run on Checkmate, and really dig JH. His Promethea and Desolation Jones stuff is amazing. Looking forward to the rest of this.


  24. darkphoenixrisn

    Awesome news! I’ve been waiting for Batwoman to appear in a regular series for a long time. I even have a Batwoman action figure on my desk.

    And thanks for the script to go along with those pages. As an aspiring comics writer, I find it helpful to compare a script and the finished product.

  25. megalanzero

    Although it was an anthology back then, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster had Slam Bradley in ‘Tec and Superman in Action back in 1939. :P

  26. dewline

    Well, if you’re going to follow in anyone’s footsteps to achieve such a feat, those are the very ones.

  27. snowspinner

    Though I would imagine, for many purposes, that a script written for JH Williams, who does by miles the most inventive layouts in comics, is not necessarily a good model for the ordinary world.

  28. jenjen_4280

    Makes me wanna be a villian in Gotham City….

  29. the_fallen_

    I believe I owe you an apology sir

    Looking forward to all the future stuff coming out and would have loved to have talked about it. Obviously that didn’t happen, I saw the post about your signings right before I left for the con but like an idiot I didn’t right them down. I think I only got like 2 or 3 DC interviews and those were Bedard and Mckeever.

    I was really looking forward to getting you on the podcast especially with certain announcements that we know now.

    If your still interested at all and would like to do an interview as I feel that I need to make it up to you my email for the site is and I know I’d love to do an interview with you if you ever have the free time.

    Looking forward to everything though bud!

  30. gabbicus


    Seriously, these are THE MOST gorgeous pieces of comic art I have seen. He is a master at using every piece of the page. LOVE IT! I am so excited about this comic!!! (oh, no, I never tire of gushing, my friend :)

  31. admin

    Re: I believe I owe you an apology sir

    No apology necessary, believe me. I was running around that show like someone had dosed my double-espresso with crystal meth. Saturday was so crazy I felt like I barely had time to change my mind, if that makes sense.

    I’ll shoot you and email, we can set something up.

  32. admin

    Right up until the point she goes to town on you. She fights very dirty. :D

  33. admin

    It’s actually a very interesting process, because he and I talk a lot before I ever actually start scripting. A lot of the time there are notes in the script that read things like “OK, Jim, this is what we talked about, so lay it out the way you suggested…” or “OK, what we’re after here is X, and I can think of a couple ways we could do it, but let me know what you’d like.”

    I don’t think I’ve ever written so specifically to an artist before in my life.

    I’m loving it.

  34. rodrigo_baeza2

    Don’t know if O’Neil did it, but people like Bill Finger, Edmond Hamilton, and Gerry Conway did write issues of “Action” and “Detective” that came out in the same month (a hunch I verified over at the database over at Of course, back then they weren’t necessarily “the” regular writers for each title, what you usually had was a team of writers that the editor would rotate over different issues.

    A question for Greg: How long is your and JHW’s on “Detective” supposed to be? (I don’t know if this has been mentioned in the comics news sites.)

  35. admin

    JH3 has committed to 12 issues. We’ll probably do a stand-alone or two late in the run, so as of now, I’m expecting we’ll go about 14 issues total in TEC.

    But I could be wrong. Things change.

  36. jaywillson

    Wow – Even better than expected…

    Greg -

    I love your stuff, but was a bit unsure of the Batwoman character, most likely because I was concerned that she was just another bat to add to Gotham’s already full chest of characters. However, when I see the quality of this work and the excitement that you have for it, I know it will be good. Count me in for an ongoing read. This looks really excellent.

  37. likeadeuce

    I’m so glad this is finally coming about! I was at NYCC and was too busy running around to hear any of the big announcements, much less look at the program. So when I was in a panel on Sunday and Jann Jones said that you’d be writing ‘Detective’ with Kate in the lead, I might have made a sound of joy that was less than dignified.

    I can’t wait to see more of the book (and hopefully some Montoya in it as well?) These pages look amazing.

  38. batmanboxers

    I cannot wait, how epic.

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