Artist: Andy Kubert
This has been my favourite series in the New 52, and although it's not always been outstanding, it's always been good. With Batman being my favourite character I expect good stories from the main Batman title, and Scott Snyder's been doing that, and I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do now that Death of the Family is over, and Year Zero's about to begin.
Harper Row is worried about Batman, as he doesn't seem to be acting normally, so she tries to help him out.
Although not as good as all the Death of the Family issues, this was still a good issue, and to be honest I wasn't expecting it to be any better than it was. Scott Snyder has done a brilliant job on this series, but there have been the odd things, like the introduction of Harper Row that haven't appealed to me, but I'll talk a little more about that later. I did however like how Snyder handled this part of the Requiem month by showing you the change in Batman through Harper, as he wanted to leave Batman's perspective for Peter J. Tomasi's Batman and Robin #18. I did however like that this issue like the other Batman issues of this month focused on the aftermath of Batman, Incorporated #8, as I feel this needed more follow-up than Death of the Family, which I felt ended brilliantly, not needing an aftermath.
Andy Kubert is no stranger to Batman, having drawn him alongside Grant Morrison on Batman and Son, and Neil Gaiman on Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader?, but this was not his best work on the character. Don't get me wrong, his art was still brilliant, and I love the way he draws Batman, actually preferring it to Greg Capullo's art on Batman, but the rest of the comic wasn't as good as his other work, and I prefer Capullo's art much more as a whole, as it suits the darkness of the series much more, and is much more consistent throughout. The main thing I didn't like about Kubert's art this time round was the way he drew Harper, and that's a big problem considering she's the main focus character in this issue. I also didn't like how he drew her nose piercing as it looked like she had a runny nose instead. Besides that his art was fantastic, and had ton's of detail. The character expression, and emotion's were also very well drawn, and if nothing else he drew a phenomenal Batman. Alex Maleev also worked on this issue doing the art for the second chapter. Maleev's an artist that I've been torn about in the past as I like his art on some series, but hate it on others. This was one of the times that I loved it though, as it was brilliant, and really suited the lighter tone in the section of story he worked on.
As I said earlier I've not been the biggest fan of the introduction of Harper Row, but I always like to see new characters, and you never know she may grow on me. What I like about new characters to well known comic book series' is that they are full of mystery, and give the writer more creativity, which should lead to a better story. Although I'm not a fan of her as a character yet I liked how Snyder has used her, as he's shown her determination, and made her very unique. Whilst doing that he's also given her the same desire that every other member of the Bat-Family's had before joining, and I would be surprised if she doesn't become a member. At the same time I don't want her to be the new Robin, as she doesn't fit the role in my opinion, and in a recent interview from Snyder it looks like she won't be Robin, but I still expect her to have some role in the Bat-Family.
Batman was brilliant in this issue, and although it didn't show as much emotion from him than Batman and Robin #18, it still showed that there was a change in him. Again I liked that this was mainly seen through the eyes of Harper, as Batman and Robin #18 showed the full emotional change in Batman perfectly, and duplicating it in this issue would spoil this issue, as well as lessen the affect from the Batman and Robin issue. I did however like that he was mad, and that he had a much more viscous side to him, as although we've seen Batman angry before, we've not seen it quite to this extent, and that's natural as he's lost his son. It was also interesting to see that at one point it appeared that Batman didn't care whether he died or not, which was something new for Batman.
I've already talked a bit about Harper, but seeing as this issues mainly centered around her I though that I'd talk about another aspect of her character, which is her relationship with her brother, Cullen Row. The sequence at the start when they both visit their father, Marcus Row is probably the sequence that showed there relationship the most, but there were other sequences that also showed this. What I liked about this was that we get to see more of Harper's characteristics, as she shows humility, loyalty, and bravery, as she stands up for her brother, and what he is, as he's not brave enough to do it himself. This shows more signs that she would be a good fit as a member of the Bat-Family as she also has determination as well, but it's these traits that shine out through the Bat-Family.
The second part of the story was also interesting, and although I won't talk too much about it to avoid spoilers, I will say a little. Basically it's a continuation to the main story, but at the same time has a very different tone, and is in itself unique. What I liked about it was that it was a much more lightheartened story, as following a very dark, and slightly depressing story, it's nice to see one that's a bit more cheerful, whilst also showing the right emotion. It was also nice to see Bruce at Wayne Enterprises for a change, as we haven't seen that much in the New 52.
This may not be the best issue in this series, but it's still very good, and shows the right kind of emotion following Batman Inc. #8. Although I'm not too fond of the character it was also nice to see more development of the Harper Row character. I would recommend this issue, as besides Batman and Robin #18, this has been the best issue in the Requiem month so far (although to be fair there has only been four so far).