I really hope writer Scott Snyder is pulling a fast one on fans because I honestly dread what the Bat-titles may be like if the foreshadowing in Batman #18 holds true. Rather than give us Batman‘s perspective following the loss of his son Damian (even in Batman’s own title we don’t get Batman’s take on the situation?), Snyder gives us an entire issue from the perspective of street rat Harper Row, who, in the spirit of Carrie Kelly, takes to the streets in a costume of her own making to help Batman (whether he wants her help or not). At least it’s not a Robin costume… yet.
As in every single issue where Harper appears, there’s far too much of the character and her brother (whose defining characteristic still seems to be that he’s gay), and not nearly enough Batman. Although barely under control, Batman is running himself ragged and has begun to make small mistakes which cause the young woman to jump into the fray and confront the Dark Knight. The scene of Batman breaking the girl’s nose to teach her a lesson doesn’t play out all the well for either of them (or fans).
The art is split between regular artist Greg Capullo and former Moon Knight artist Alex Maleev. I actually really like both their work separately, but their styles are so drastically different that the comic comes off with a very unbalanced look.
You know DC must have plans to unveil a new Robin before too long, and this issue certainly makes Harper the front-runner. Anointing a character whose entire comic history is less than the time between dental appointments, in my opinion, would be a huge mistake another reason to read far less Bat-titles. Hit-and-Miss.