So the best issue of any bat-title since the release of The Dark Knight Rises is actually about a teenage girl. Can’t say that I saw that one coming but I’m happy at least something good has come along. With interest in Batman at an all time high right now due to the recent movie, the comics need to be at least decent so we can hook people (One of us! One of us! One of…) but so far Batman is the only title pulling its weight since July 20th.
Issue #12 is a nice one-and-done tale that answers all your questions about Harper Row except for how she found Batman after he escaped the labyrinth. I’m still fuzzy on that. But as for how she knows Batman, what kind of person she is, and how she went from princess to punk rock between Batman #1 and #7– that’s all here. And there’s even a great surprise for fans of The Black Mirror as well.
Don’t worry, it’s not all ghetto living and teen drama, Batman does show up in this book. He’s used just the right amount and artist Becky Cloonan’s depiction of him reminded me a lot of Paul Pope’s Batman: Year 100, which is a good thing. Speaking of art, Capullo and Glapion are gone for this issue. It’s a shame, yeah, but I think you’ll get by. I did. Cloonan’s cartoony style fits the story well and as I said before, I liked her Batman. What was odd though is that instead of having a separate backup story the issue suddenly gains a writer (James Tynion IV) and changes artists for the final 8 pages and it’s very jarring. Andy Clarke’s realistic and very, very grainy style is the exact opposite of what Cloonan was doing for the bulk of the issue. Both artists are great, don’t get me wrong. I’d be more than happy to read a full issue of Batman penciled by either of them, but they don’t go well together. I like peanut butter and I like shrimp, but don’t dip my shrimp in the peanut butter–that’s a ridiculous analogy and you’re smart enough that I didn’t need to use one but whatever.
Here were a couple other problems I had that were kind of spoiler related:
It’s a fun issue mildly hurt by a jarring art shift and then a ridiculous and very rushed finale (which I covered in the spoiler section. It’s a fun scene if you don’t think about it too much) but overall, I enjoyed this issue. I like Harper Row a lot. I think she’s a great character and I think this is a wonderful one-shot issue that you can pick up and get the whole story all in one sitting. Very satisfying. Quality one-shots are few and far between nowadays. Interesting new characters are even more rare.