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Batman Eternal #24 Review – That’s My Girl :) (WARNING – SPOILERS)

So, in addition to not buying anything related to¬†Future’s End, with the exception of the Batgirl issue, I’ve also not been buying Batman Eternal. However, in this case, it’s less of a disinterest with the story and more of a simple matter of IT’S A YEAR-LONG WEEKLY COMIC! What, am I made of money? lol However, at this time, I currently have two issues of Batman Eternal in my possession: #3, which was the New 52 debut of Stephanie Brown (not counting Batman #28), and this week’s issue. Why this week? Because the primary focus of the plot is on Steph and her activities now that she has become Spoiler. So, with that said, let’s take a look at what happens, and…well, for the lack of a better term, spoilers ahead. ūüėõ

Batman Eternal #24

So Stephanie is spying on her dad, the Cluemaster, as he’s explaining to someone in the dark how a group of C and D-List villains are using their own unique talents to upset the natural order of Gotham in a slow, methodical fashion, so that when the time is right, Gotham’s citizens will be ready to riot. Since most people following this story already know the man’s involvement thus far, I’ll just go ahead and say it: It’s Hush. Hush is pleased at how the plan’s progressing for now, but tells Cluemaster that he needs to kill Stephanie before she can get in touch with Batman and spoil everything that’s going on, and wow, they’re just going all out with the Spoiler theme, huh? lol

Anyway, cut to Batman dealing with a situation at the Gotham Gallery of Modern Art, where Simon Ecks, AKA Doctor X, is causing trouble, and Batman has to put him down with an Nth Metal Batarang. I have no idea WHY he was carrying a Batarang made out of Nth Metal, since the gadgets in his belt are generally rotated based on situations, so I don’t know what made him think he’d need it, but whatever. He also finally realizes that the situation Batwing was looking into at Arkham Asylum may not be going as swimmingly as he was led to believe, and has Penny-Two look into Ecks…Oh yeah, for those that¬†haven’t been following along, Alfred’s daughter Julia was found fighting Fang in Hong Kong, and after a recent incident where Alfred got injected with fear toxin by Hush, Julia found her way down to the Batcave, and she’s been helping Batman in place of him, meaning she’s the one we saw working down there in Batman #28.

Back to Stephanie, who gets attacked by her dad, who knew she’d come looking for him eventually. He’s not quite ready to murder her yet, instead trying to get her to join him, but after a struggle where she tears off on a motorcycle, he gets his incentive. Anyway, after a chase on the highway, during which she was making a phone call, she escapes him, leaving him to be caught by the cops. However, whereas he’d be able to get free if this was the GCPD (Jason Bard in this continuity turned out to be working for Hush…huzzah…), Steph had led him past the city limits, and now he’s dealing with the state police. The only thing missing here is the Price Is Right fail sound, which I will supply right now…

So, this issue was pretty good. If I have any complaint to it, it’s that this rebooted¬†Stephanie Brown seems to be a bit too good for someone who just put on the mask and is fighting crime with no previous training. I mean, it’s POSSIBLE she’s acquired these skills she’s using prior, but we haven’t really seen any indication of this. She beats her dad all too easily, although I doubt we’ve seen the last of him, and he’s just a small part of a much bigger problem. Also, I don’t know if I’m forgetting something, since I’m mostly just reading about stuff that happens in the series as opposed to picking it up at the shop, but it feels like the situation with Batman at the art gallery fighting Doctor X comes right the frak outta nowhere. Last I¬†checked, he was dealing with the Architect, a villain from Batman Gates of Gotham, who had triggered a small earthquake that leveled several buildings, though not quite as bad as the one from No Man’s Land, and dear God, I feel like I’m gonna set off the Continuity Alarm any second now.

But yeah, other than those problems, this was still an enjoyable read, and hell, I can’t complain too much about a book that focuses on my favourite superheroine BEING my favourite superheroine. So, not winning any awards or anything, but still a good issue nonetheless.

My Thoughts On Upcoming Changes To Batman And Gotham (WARNING – SPOILERS AHEAD)

So, this October marks a HUGE turning point in a lot of the Bat related books, as a few new ones are getting started, and pre-existing ones are getting big changes in relation to what’s going on in Batman Eternal. What’s interesting about the new books is that some of them don’t even necessarily star Batman, or even involve him directly, rather simply taking place in Gotham City and starring different characters. Now, because they take place in Gotham, I would assume he’ll make appearances, but otherwise, they aren’t about him. It honestly reminds me of an often brought up theory that DC doesn’t know how to market products that don’t involve Batman anymore. And before anyone brings up that it could be in relation to the upcoming Gotham TV series, let me remind everyone that Green Arrow has had a TV show for a couple of years, but has advertising for his comics improved much? Granted, they’ve done more with him, but the actual marketing for his books don’t seem to have changed at all. Flash is getting a new TV show, but I don’t see much in the way of marketing improvements for his series, despite the fact that Wally West is coming back as Kid Flash. Last year was Superman’s 75th Anniversary, and yes, he got a new book that I’ve come to love, but compare what they did for him to what they’ve done for Batman’s 75th. You start to see the problem, yes? And sure, a lot of people love Batman, but what about people that are sick of Batman and want to see the other heroes get some attention? They’re pretty much outta luck.

But anyway, enough about me ranting about that, let’s instead focus on these changes, in no particular order, and what my thoughts on each of them are before giving a final overall opinion. Keep in mind, these are my thoughts going into these changes, and I could end up flip-flopping on some of them when they actually occur. Let’s start off with…

Batgirl

Barbara Gordon loses everything she owns in a fire, and so, as part of her attempts to start her life over following the end of Gail Simone’s run, she decides to do the same with Batgirl, creating a whole new costume. The book promises to be a bit more lighthearted and fun, with Babs going to grad school, and will feature quite a few LGBT characters in addition to fan favourite, Alysia. Again, I wish this was Stephanie Brown in this role, in fact the costume immediately makes me think of Steph’s (just picture her in blonde hair and you’ll see immediately), but I am NOT gonna say no to a book that promotes itself as being fun and lighthearted while also starring one of my favourite characters, so I’m going into this with a good attitude.

Arkham Manor

Something happens at Arkham Asylum that causes them to have to move a bunch of their inmates to a new location. As such, Wayne Manor becomes a new home for Gotham’s criminally insane, because that’s the most logical place to put them, right? Now, based on Batman #34, which takes place at the same time as the new Arkham Manor book, Batman is still operating out of the Batcave. But is it THE Batcave, or simply A Batcave? Sure, all the usual stuff is there, but they could’ve been moved. After all, having your base of operations underneath some of your worst enemies, with an access route in place to it, isn’t exactly a very tactically sound idea, and we know Batman isn’t stupid. He either moved to a new cave, or has found a way to block off the cave from the inmates. Either way, while I don’t think I’ll be buying this book, I will say I’m interested to see where this is going. Also, I’m curious as to Bruce’s stance on all of this. Is he against the idea, or could it actually have been his to begin with?

Gotham Academy

Apparently, another book that will look at the youth of Gotham City is the new book Gotham Academy. Don’t really know much about it beyond that, other than the art looks fantastic. Can’t say as I’m familiar at all with the cast, which is unfortunate as they could’ve easily had Stephanie and/or Harper Row be part of it just to give them more exposure, but whatever. Not terribly interested myself, but looks promising for people wanting to know more about Gotham and the people living there, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if some of the characters cross over into Batgirl.

Gotham By Midnight

Okay, this is where the whole “DC not knowing how to market anything unrelated to Batman and Gotham” thing can actually seem kinda devious. Why? Because the star of Gotham By Midnight¬†is Jim Corrigan, AKA The Spectre. Granted, in the book Gotham Central, which I believe is getting a reprint soon (which proves Dan DiDio a blatant liar about the book’s popularity…AGAIN), there was a corrupt cop named Jim Corrigan on the squad, but he was VERY different from the previous version of the character. However, in the pages of Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger, the two versions were more or less merged into one, making The Spectre a Gotham based hero of sorts. Anyway, this is slated to be a more horror-style book, with Corrigan being part of a division of the GCPD that investigates supernatural cases. Haven’t decided if I’ll be getting it yet or not, but fans of The Spectre should be pleased nonetheless.

Catwoman

As revealed in Batman #28, and will be made official this October, Catwoman will at some point become the kingpin of crime in Gotham City and take direct control of all organized crime in the city. This is an especially welcome change to many who have read her solo book, like my colleague FHIZ of Gotham Spoilers, who have voiced their EXTREME displeasure of the title for the past 2-3 years. And frankly, having read some of what goes on in that book, I can’t say as I blame them. It also makes her relationship with Batman all the more complex. Yes, she’s running a major source of his biggest griefs, but she’s also shown that if Gotham is in big enough danger, she will help him in her own unique way. Again, not sure if I’ll be getting her book, but it’s at least a change I can get behind.

Batwoman

This is a change I’m NOT so fond of. As far as I can tell, Batwoman becoming a vampire is a change they’re actually rolling with, and will see her teaming with a group called The Unknowns, which are made up of Ragman, Etrigan the Demon, Red Alice, and Clayface. So in other words, she’s a¬†brooding¬†anti-hero at best, and a straight-up villain at worst. Wonderful, DC, just fucking wonderful. PASS.

Batman and Robin

While the major change here isn’t occurring in October, we will nonetheless see the next chapter of the Batman and Robin story, Robin Rises, which concludes in December. Long story short, Damian’s body is on Apokolips, as it¬†has accidentally absorbed energy from something called the Chaos Shard, which we saw back in Batman/Superman’s first arc, and as they were unable to regain the crystal itself, they took Damian’s body instead. This crystal has the power to bring the dead back to life, though quite possibly at a cost. As such, Batman has declared that he’s going to Apokolips to get Robin, and he’s bringing him back, ALIVE. Peter J Tomasi has gone on record as saying that this story WILL resolve with Batman having a Robin again, though whether that Robin is Damian or not remains to be seen. It could be that the quest to bring Damian back could instead result in someone else taking up the mantle. Frankly, I’m hoping it’s either Damian back from the grave to reclaim his role at his father’s side, or that he becomes Redbird again and Carrie, Stephanie, or Tim take up the role of Robin. Either way, I think we all know that Batman NEEDS a Robin, so I’m just glad for that much. Will I buy the book again? Not right away. I’m waiting until Robin is active again to start buying. But once that’s done, most likely.

Red Hood And The Outlaws

Don’t know, don’t care. NEXT!

Batman

So we already knew that Harper Row would be becoming the heroine Bluebird, but it seems that another character possibly coming to Batman’s side is someone named Lark. Who are they? Heck if I know. Maybe it’s Harper’s brother, Cullen, deciding to join his¬†sister in her fight against crime. If so, I demand a book for them. No, seriously, make it happen. I wanna see a book about Bluebird and Lark fighting C and D list criminals. Maybe even add Steph, Calvin Rose, and the recently returned Misfit¬†to the mix for funsies. Heck, they could form a whole new Birds of Prey group with Black Canary and/or Batgirl.

Anyway, that’s most¬†of the changes to the Bat Family books (because I don’t wanna spoil EVERYTHING). How do I feel about them overall? Honestly, I think that, in the end, change can be a positive thing, as long as it’s handled well. Even the stuff I’m not exactly on-board with, like Batwoman And The Unknowns, can be done well if given the right amount of thought and direction. So, overall, I think this is a good thing. Ultimately, though, it feels like Batman Eternal’s actual story is taking a backseat to setting up this new status quo and showing how we get to this point, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In the end, I remain hopeful that these changes will lead to a better, more fleshed out Gotham.

So, those are my thoughts. Do you agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments section below, and we’ll see what happens in October. Ja n√©!

Nightwing Cancelled – What’s Next For Dick Grayson?

Okay, I know I’m kinda late to the party, but I thought I’d give my thoughts on a controversial announcement coming outta DC: Nightwing is cancelled. Given what’s been going on in Forever Evil, with Nightwing’s unmasking by the Crime Syndicate, his identity being made public knowledge, Chicago apparently being attacked by the Secret Society, and constant hints and teases that he’s going to be killed by the end of the series, that doesn’t exactly bode well for Dick Grayson. In addition, the fact remains that Dan Didio, arch nemesis of comic fans ’round the world, has wanted to kill the character at least once before. And since then, Dick has become Batman for a short time, and we know how Mr. Didio feels about characters that replace other characters in their aliases.¬†So, with all of that said, there’s two possibilities as far as what’s going to happen.

  1. Dick Grayson is going to die. In my opinion, the wrong choice to make. Even ignoring the simple fact that his book is getting cancelled (and for the record, I really liked the current arc where he was stationed in Chicago), there’s still more that can be done with the character. Also, it would mean that the only canon Robin of this Earth to never die is Tim Drake, and you KNOW someone would see that and go “Whoops! Gotta kill Timmy now!”.
  2. Dick Grayson will live, and this will turn out to be a massive swerve. It’s even possible he’ll fake his death or die and be brought back to life right away. For me, the better option of the two. Evidence suggesting this is that, while Didio has wanted to kill him before, he’s apparently been “proven wrong” on that call. Also, while it isn’t exactly concrete, the blond fellow in the Thanksgiving pic is wearing a mask that greatly resemble’s Dick’s, meaning he could be assuming a new identity to keep villains off his back.

Also, girl in the purple hoodie is most likely Steph.

Regardless, I get the feeling Nightwing won’t remained cancelled for very long. A year, tops. For, even if Dick Grayson dies, there’s been some artwork making the rounds as of late…

Not too keen on the gun, although I suppose it might not fire bullets. Love that she’s bringing the blue back, though.

What does it mean? Well, the most popular rumour is that this is Harper Row, assuming the mantle of Nightwing due to the character’s death/faked death/retirement/whatever. Either way, the next issue of Batman is apparently a preview of what’s to come in the upcoming Batman Eternal weekly series (which also features the return of Stephanie Brown), and in a preview for said issue, Harper is shown prominently. If it IS her, we’ll probably get a hint of that then. My theory is that, either during Batman Eternal or following it, Nightwing will be given a new Issue #1 and will star this new Nightwing, presumably Harper.

Nightwing #30’s cover DEFINITELY doesn’t help quell the belief that he’s gonna die.

Either way, I hope this turns out to be a massive swerve, and it would actually be a pretty good one when you consider just how much evidence suggests that Dick will die. I will keep everyone posted if anything new comes up, though, so leave your comments below, and we’ll see what happens. Ja n√©!

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Dear DC Fans…

*ahem* Dear DC Fans…

She’s back, baby! Scott Snyder announced that Stephanie Brown will officially be making her long-awaited return as Spoiler next year in the new weekly series, Batman Eternal.

Music is from the online series RWBY, and belongs to Jeff & Casey Lee Williams. All images belong to DC Comics. Thanks for watching!