Saturday, January 24, 2015

Batman: Eternal #42 Review

Written by: Kyle Higgins
Art by: Jed Dougherty, Goran Sudzuka and Roger Robinson
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: January 21, 2015

Just a Girl

I enjoyed last week's issue of Batman: Eternal for a bunch of reasons, but the two biggest were my love of Kyle Higgins and Harper Row.  Sure, I have complained in the past about the whole nanovirus thing, but getting almost an entire issue to deal with it was nice.  Throwing Red Hood and Batgirl into the mix made it even nicer.  Seeing a bit more of Stephanie Brown and getting the book closer to the awesome events we saw in Batman #28 was icing on a pretty sweet cake.  This week, Higgins is giving readers another slice, but will it be a question of too much of a good thing?  Of course not.

Last week's issue ended with Harper donning the Bluebird costume and that's where we pick up this week.  She is doing the superhero thing...jumping across rooftops, a little tuck and roll and then Boom!  She falls flat on her ass.  Like I said before, I'm a huge Harper Row fan and I loved this.  She isn't a famous acrobat or a daredevil, she's a girl.  Just a girl.  Just a kick ass girl who uses her tech knowledge to devise a plan to take down the Mad Hatter and save her brother, Red Robin, Red Hood, Batgirl and countless others.  I guess I have to take that all back because she isn't just a girl.  She's Bluebird!  I mentioned last week that Tim Drake's "Don't become a superhero" speech seemed like forced foreshadowing, but I'll give Kyle Higgins full credit.  That speech made everything that Harper does in this issue mean so much more.  More on that later.

While this is going on, Stephanie Brown wakes up from Killshot's "protection".  I commented last week that Higgins might be pulling a bait-and-switch with who was behind getting Stephanie and I was right.  I love being right.  It wasn't Selina Kyle at all, it was Stephanie's Mother.  I'm really not sure what Higgins was thinking here after how horrible Mrs. Brown was in past issues. Maybe it's a ruse or a way to redeem the character for some reason, but after a brief scene, things get back to normal for Stephanie.  When I say normal, I mean downright horrible.  Stephanie's story in Eternal is suddenly turning into "While You Were Sleeping."

Back with Harper, she does her best to solve the whole nanovirus thing in a stealthy manner, but that doesn't quite work out.  She is forced to improvise and while she is just a rookie, she shows she really can think on her feet.  She uses her tech and her brain to outwit the Mad Hatter and save the day.  We get an odd little cameo from Batman that is only there to push the story forward a bit and then Harper and Tim Drake talk it out, feet dangling off of a Gotham rooftop.  Harper is a superhero and that's how she wants it to be.

I really appreciate what Kyle Higgins did in this issue.  We all knew that Harper was going to become Bluebird, but seeing it unfold took away all my doubts and fears about how it would be handled.  She is a bumbling rookie who relies on her tech and smarts and that's just the way I wanted it.  Plus, she's got sass galore and will give Jason Todd a run for his money when it comes to snarky comments.  If only the issue would have ended with Tim and Harper kissing.

There were three artists on this issue and while everything looked good, there were some  transition problems.  I've noticed that every artist has a different take on Harper and while it's understandable since she's such a new character, I'd like to see it end. I must admit though, seeing Harper with the Mad Hatter's hat on was simply awesome!

Bits and Pieces:

This week's Batman: Eternal wraps up the nanovirus story, but it's main draw is the full introduction of Bluebird.  As a Harper row fanboy, I couldn't wait to see it and Kyle Higgins doesn't disappoint.  We have ten more issues to go so I'm sure the book is going to go full throttle to the finish line, but it was nice to see Harper get her spotlight.  After reading this issue, I'm sure most would agree.


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