Batman Eternal #42 review

Bluebird’s first flight!  Does she soar….or crash to the ground like a rock?

In my opinion, it turned out pretty good;  not in the sense that she did everything right, but in the fact that she didn’t do everything right!  This is what made it a good story.  If she had just shown up and owned everybody it would have been badass, but completely unbelievable.  What we got here was totally within reason.  In Batman #28 from last year, we got a sneak peak of her doing a back flip into the air and latching the hook of her boot onto a horizontal cable.  Seeing as how we are about to meet up with this moment in time, I was dreading seeing her whip out all kinds of crazy skills that she had not yet developed.  However, right from the first page, my fears were put to rest.  Much in the way that the sneak peak of Zero Year didn’t sync up, it looks like #28 might also just have been to get us pumped up and wasn’t intended to be taken literally as to where the story would go.  The Harper/Bluebird we see here is nowhere near being capable enough to pull off that kind of move and I’m happy to see her as still being a normal person.  Infinitely brave but fallible.  It’s also nice to see that in the end it was quick thinking that won her the day…..and being a little manipulative.


Actually, you do look kinda cool with that hat on.  Like Zatanna!

I like Harper Row.  Maybe not in the way she tries to tease Red Robin by acting all superior towards him, and not even really as a super hero, but just as a person.  Getting to see the life of an ordinary Gotham citizen and how she has dealt with her tragedies is very inspiring.  Mother dead, father in and out of jail her whole life, the duty to care for herself and her brother Cullen in her hands.  Is it really necessary to put on a mask to become a hero?  I’d like to think that she already was one.  I know some people are super excited about her rise to hero-dom, and I’m not trying to take away from that, but I liked her as a window into the life of your average, everyday Gotham citizen.  I’m not sure why it is that every time we get to know someone, they have to become someone. So… do I like Bluebird?  Personally, I like Harper better as an everyman/woman.

While 75% of the book is about Bluebird, the remainder is dedicated to Steph. And honestly… it came out of nowhere!  I was hoping her mother was going to come back into this sooner or later, but there was no way I could have guessed what happened. 

Her mother sent Killshot to bring her home.  I totally thought Steph was going to wake up in Catwoman’s lair, not suburbia. 
  Still, there is something about it that doesn’t sit quite right with me.  Is her mother being genuine, because something about that whole scene just seemed off and creepy to me.  I can’t tell if it is the artist misrepresenting an emotion or if something underhanded is really going on here.  Look at this picture.  Are they really supposed to be happy here?  Because what I am seeing is her mother being super creepy and Steph leaning away from the hug.  So, what is it, artist goof or was there really something subtextual going on in this scene?


According to DC’s website, Joseph Quinones was scheduled to handle art duties for this book.  However, when I opened this comic to the credits, I found that Jed Dougherty, Goran Sudzuka, and Roger Robinson are the actual artists for this issue (Comixology lists all 4 as artists!).  I’ve seen Eternal list the penciller and inker, I’ve seen them list both as art with the inker getting the second call out, and now we have three names under art.  I can’t figure out who is responsible for what!  I looked up all three of them and they are all penciller/inkers.  Did they split the book up into thirds and each ink their own pencils, did two handle the pencils with the third inking for both, I’m not sure.  There are some distinct features in the art that make me think it is all three of them though, but not enough for me to determine exactly who did each page.  The trouble may be that they were attempting to emulate each others work so that it blended better, thus making my job harder.  I suppose if I took the time, I might be able to figure it out, but it would have been a lot easier if DC had just told me what was going on!

Aside from all the confusion, I don’t have too much to say in regards to the art.  There isn’t anything about it that stands out as stellar while at the same time there isn’t anything bad about it either.  At the end of the day, it did it’s job, but is that really sufficient when this is the art that will be forever tied to the first Bluebird story?  Ask me who drew my favorite comic and I can tell you in a heartbeat.  What if a Bluebird fan is chatting up her first story years from now and is asked who did the art for it…..umm?…… Exactly!


  • Remember when Batman used to scare people so badly they would spill their guts to him at the drop of a hat.  I know that is just against generic thugs though, since most see him as more than a man and his main adversaries have battled him enough to know he is just a guy with boundaries, but still, can’t Batman do something to get these guys to talk!  Just pound on Jervis for awhile.  I’m sure he would spill some info.  I mean, Batman gives up after one slap!  COME ON!
  • If these things are just little robots, why hasn’t someone just set off an EMP?  I mean seriously, was this ever brought up and I am just forgetting it or was this answer completely overlooked?  Anti-nano-barrier?  Seems like a complicated solution to an easy problem to me.
  • Here comes the brave hero to save the day, and falls flat on her face!  That was awesome!  When she threw that Batarang down on the ground it was even funnier.  I was like, “What is she doing?  Oh, hahaha, she made a mistake”.
  • That was really smooth of her to manipulate him like that, bringing up all the tech talk and how she kinda looks up to him.  I’m sure it didn’t hurt that she is a younger girl either.  Hatter does have a soft spot for the young ladies.  It was almost cute how he got all flustered.  The colorist should have made him blush!

Interesting Facts:

  • Did you guys know that Marvel had a Bluebird character as well!  Her real name was Sally Avril and she went to High School with Peter Parker (Spider-Man).  She ended up getting killed in a car crash.

Recommended if…

  • You love Bluebird, but how would you already know that?  This is her first appearance.
  • You were worried about Harper acting beyond her means.  Don’t worry, it doesn’t happen.


This debut of Bluebird was a great introduction to a hero in training, filled with wit and self deprecating humor.  While this particular book does not move the plot along that significantly, I found it to be surprising, fun, and an entertaining read.

SCORE: 7.5 / 10