Review: Batman #18
Published by DC Comics
Written by Scott Snyder
Art by Andy Kubert and Alex Maleev
Coloured by Brad Anderson and Nathan Fairbairn
Harper and Cullen are on their way to Blackgate Prison to visit their father who is kind of a jerk. He proceeds to bully Cullen and play games with Harper. Later on, Harper goes out on patrol and we see Batman aggressively taking out a variety of small time street criminals. It should be noted that he looks like he’s in pretty rough shape as well. Harper is growing more concerned because she fears that he’s running himself into the ground and that he’s getting reckless. Batman then finds himself in a bit of a predicament, which normally wouldn’t be much of a concern at all. Harper tries to assist him, but she is violently rebuffed. However, she is not deterred and the following day she goes to Wayne Tower in order to meet with Bruce. She wants to show him a plan in order to help Batman because Bruce bankrolls Batman’s operation. His approach with her is quite different when he is Bruce Wayne. Batman shows up later on to apologize to Harper and she really leans into him verbally. They have an interesting exchange and Batman is left with a remembrance of Damian.
Reviewing this book was interesting this month. When I first read it I enjoyed it. However, then I read Batman and Robin and that one knocked it out of the park. I then realized that this issue paled in comparison to that one, which kind of affects my review now. Well before any solicits came out for this issue I figured that it would involve Harper for the most part. Seeing Batman so driven and angry due to the loss of Damian was believable. He is on a rampage here and there were some good visuals and some interesting things such as operating in daylight (but I must say that the way he expressed his anger and sadness in Batman and Robin was better and more effective). I’m on the fence about how he reacted towards Harper because it seemed a little too harsh, but at the same time, he doesn’t want to lose another young sidekick. I do like Harper’s resolve and how she layed into Batman even though he deliberately sought to intimidate her. Her viewpoint of Batman was a good one and it was appropriate because she essentially represents Gotham City. One thing that I liked about this issue is how something else in another Batbook had repercussions for this title. Typically it’s been this title crossing over into the other titles and not the other way around. The more that this happens the more I’ll feel invested in the other titles. Thus far it’s just felt like whatever happens in Batman is canon and the other titles don’t have the same effect. Kubert’s art in this issue was very sharp in some spots and there were some great looking pages. The art was a nice change for me overall.
I liked Maleev’s work in Daredevil back in the day, but it was so damn jarring to flip the change and have the art change so drastically. I almost wish they had just made it into a true backup story (even though it was nice to read a long issue). So when Harper presented her plans to Bruce I assume it was for the message on the last page. Bruce said that he would have his engineers look into it. Is that really necessary? I mean they were just lights. Couldn’t he have just left a memo for the janitors to leave certain ones on? It’s like getting a chef to cook mac and cheese…ahhh the life of a billionaire. I still don’t like a dead Damian. A few years ago I would’ve jumped on that, but he just became a likeable character that wasn’t allowed to show his true potential. I just wish we would’ve had more time to enjoy him like this. I’m also not really looking forward to a batsh** crazy Damian rising from the Lazarus Pit either. I’m not really that big into the costume that Harper wears now when she goes out at night. I liked it better when she looked like a regular person just trying to do what she can rather than a look like she’s emulating a superhero. I enjoyed this book, but I wasn’t messaging people saying “You have got to read this now!” However, I feel that Batman and Robin is more effective at showing Batman grieving for his son. I don’t expect him to be logical, but I would think that he’d be obsessing about avenging Damian and not focusing on a bunch of street hoods. However, this is just my opinion and perhaps there’s no correct answer as to how Batman would react in this situation.
Buy It, Borrow It, Shelf Read It, or Ignore It?
Buy It…but it was a close Borrow this month. If you only want to read one Requiem book this month go pick up Batman and Robin. However, this was not a bad issue by any means. I actually started to like Harper more this issue because of her resolve. This was a decent transition issue between the Joker storyline and the upcoming one. I’m actually really anticipating the next arc because it’s not meant to be some epic event, but rather a straight up detective story and I’m in the mood for reading some of that in this title.
Tags: alex maleev, andy kubert, Batman, DC Comics, Harper Row, James Tynion IV, Requiem (Damian Wayne / Robin), Scott Snyder