Steph's in the lair of the Cat, where the two of them chat, they're joined by the Bat, and Harper thinks Steph's a brat, all in this forty-third installment of DC's weekly Batman serial. Cullen is recovering and back home, which is also where our fair haired ninja girl is staying now. Selina has a little theory about her loyalty to her father and Harper thinks she's just being stubborn (look who's talking, girl). And aside from some of the weird noses, David Lafuente's art combined with the coloring makes for some great visuals, and a good issue becomes even better because of it.
Is that Streets of Rage?
Stephanie Brown's had a real tough time lately. Finds out her father is a C-list supervillain. Is targeted by her father and others for discovering their secret. Goes on the run, hiding out in libraries. Her friend gets blown up. She gets beat up on by Hush. She gets knocked out by some hired goon. She's kidnapped by Catwoman... er, sorry, Selina Kyle, Queen of Crime, and now she gets the barbed side of Harper Row. But both Selina and Harper have some good points about her. Selina points out that she may have some lingering desire to impress her father, the infamous Cluemaster. And Harper is right to point out that Steph being huffy isn't doing any good and other people are suffering just as much if not worse. But Stephanie has another reason to keep Batman at a distance, and I'll get to that in a bit.
Contributing to the deliquency of a minor, Gotham's favorite crime.
Some of my excitement, and a little of my criticism for this issue comes from where it goes into Scott Snyder's Batman #28, the sneak peek into this book which took place at this point in the storyline. Spoiler has been taken into Selina's custody, Batman and Bluebird get into the casino, and Selina eventually gives in and allows Batman access to the purple-clad gal. And this issue depicts a few scenes from that issue, with Batman and Bluebird kicking ass in the casino. But what's odd is that Snyder's issue #28 of Batman featured a Catwoman who had a grudge against Batman for something that happened that led up to all this, and we haven't been clued into that in the lead up to this issue of Eternal. They seemed to be on decent, if not edgy speaking terms in their interactions since she became a crime boss. He doesn't like the decision, but he hasn't tried taking her down because she's trying to keep her group in line to save lives and he has bigger fish to fry. But here Selina is more than happy to just let Batman take Stephanie away.
What happened to this?
Sure, we're given some hints that Selina may have whispered in the girl's ear a bit about Batman, but that's about it. Clearly these aren't the actions of a woman who felt abandoned and betrayed like back in Batman #28, which makes me believe the plot has been changed a little from how it was originally planned.
"Boss, are you punching the playing cards?" "Not all of them. Just the Jokers."
Harper also mentioned something about her mother in #28, if I recall. I wonder if that'll ever be explored.
Finally, Stephanie confides to Harper that the reason she has a hard time trusting Batman is because the man she saw with her father and the other C-listers, the man in the shadows that struck her, the one who met with Cluemaster again just before she moved against him as the Spoiler, was none other than Batman's financial supporter, Bruce Wayne! Dun dun dunnnn.
Obviously, though, this is Lincoln March, supposedly Thomas Wayne Jr., Bruce's younger brother who went mad and became part of the Court of Owls' plans. March was a ringer for Wayne, after all. Now, if this was Pre-Flashipoint, it would most likely be Hush, since he had his face changed to resemble Bruce's, but in this new continuity, he hasn't, and we already know Hush isn't the one behind all this. And obviously Stephanie Brown isn't really up on current events, because Bruce Wayne's holdings were seized because of the machinations of whoever is behind this (Lincoln March), and why would Wayne plot against himself? I mean, we all know it isn't Bruce, since he's Batman, and unless Clayface has been working overtime, it's Lincoln March, the Owlman.
Hm, then again, I suppose it could be Earth-3 Owlman, Thomas Wayne Jr. from another universe. Nah, he's Geoff John's to use now.
"Put me on whatever Instant Ninja training plan Spoiler took."
Next issue: Extra Cirricular Activities!
- Penguin Truth
"Let them keep her."
Story: Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV
Script: James Tynion IV
Consulting Writers: Ray Fawkes, Kyle Higgins & Tim Seeley
Art: David Lafuente
Inks: Victor Olazaba & Scott Hanna
Colors: John Raunch
Lettering: John J. Hill
Cover By: Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, & Rod Reis
Editor: Chris Conroy
Asst. Editor: Dave Wielgosz
Group Editor: Mark Doyle
Batman Created By Bob K--AHAHAHAHA, NO. Batman Created By Bill Finger