Review: Batman Eternal #24

spoilerStephanie Brown made a less bombastic return into DC‘s New 52 than a lot of characters. After staying ignored for the first couple of years of the relaunch, she eventually showed up in a sketch by Dustin Nguyen. Suddenly instead of remembering what she looked like as the Spoiler before, we suddenly got a glimpse of what she might look like after. This new look though was purely speculative from a DC illustrator that might have had an interest in the character. With the latest issue of Batman Eternal the character has taken center stage for the first time in the new 52, looking a lot like what Nguyen had imagined.

While this cover was enough to draw my interest, despite being a passive enough Bat-fan, to buy the book, what was inside was a lot more enticing. I should probably note first of all that I have not really been following Batman Eternal at all. This is the first in the series that I have actually read, but despite that this issue was surprisingly well contained, building up enough energy to keep the series going, but also telling a distinct story in itself.

Dustin Nguyen sketch that launched the new look

Dustin Nguyen sketch that launched the new look

One of the more unique aspects of the character in her previous incarnation was her association with her father, the supervillain known as the Cluemaster. Long before she was Robin or Batgirl, she was the Spoiler, attempting to foil his crime sprees. Usually her motivation was fairly basic, although she was interested in the common good, it was not her main interest, rather she was more concerned with her father receiving the proper care and attention that he needed to once again become her father. This character showed a maturity beyond both her years and beyond the maturity of her father. She knew that he would have to serve prison time in order to learn his lessons, but she was happy in a sense to be the person that provided this. This carried on for a time as her father went through the cycle of reformed criminal back to criminal, but it all ended abruptly when her father died on a mission with the Suicide Squad.  Gone was this familial conflict and Stephanie became a regular superhero, first as Spoiler, then as Robin, then as Batgirl. Some might remember the character better from these days, especially as Batgirl when she became more approachable and likable than the fighting machine that was Cassandra Cain.

Batman Eternal #24 succeeds in both of these ways. The story here is primarily focused on the relationship between Stephanie and her father, and ends in a fairly fun and fulfilling way. At the same time, she is a hero to be taken seriously, not just some kid patrolling the suburbs. The result is quite satisfying, and is especially so for fans of the character or those that appreciate a self-contained issue featuring superheroes.

Story: Scott Snyder Art: Andy Clarke
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.2 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy