Let’s be clear about one thing. Batman #12 is a filler issue. Certainly not a bad filler, but one nonetheless.
This is no bad thing as, after the previous year-long ‘Court of Owls’ storyline, there would be no real advantage in going straight into the upcoming Joker saga. As the current DC range is also about to release their #0 backstory features over the next month, starting a new arc now, only to then go on a month’s hiatus would not have done any favours to the reader.
The issue is a one-shot from the perspective of Harper Row, a young punk rebel girl whose attempts to protect her gay brother from homophobic bullies do not always prove successful. In addition to fending off members of Gotham’s undesirables, we also see her work on the city’s electrical grid and how this relates to Batman’s exploits.
The story takes place during the first few issues of the Court arc as Harper is introduced getting ready for the same dinner seen in #1 where Bruce outlines his vision for a future Gotham. In terms of Harper, this is the same girl seen resuscitating the Bat in #7 after his escape from the Court’s maze of torture. It now becomes evident that Batman’s warning to Harper in #7 to stay away from him refers to their brief meeting in this backstory. Whilst it has yet to be determined whether she will appear in the future, Harper shows a determination in continuing to aid Batman.
Aside from the main storyline, #12 does raise an interesting point in highlighting Batman’s reluctance in accepting help from the public. An unfortunate consequence of his image as Gotham’s ‘saviour’ is others wanting to either assist him or emulate his actions. As seen with Harper, this approach often puts them in danger, situations they are not prepared for. With a sense of responsibility for their actions, Batman does his utmost in dissuading them from this course of action. Whilst he does have the Bat-family to occasionally help him, it shows, in defending Gotham’s citizens from the city’s criminals, he must also protect them from themselves.
Scott Snyder continues writing duties here, no surprises there, however the artwork sees a change from Greg Capullo to the joint efforts of Becky Cloonan and Andy Clarke. I have never seen the advantage of a comic being split in two for artwork and this is no different. Cloonan draws the majority of pages however the change to Clarke occurs for the final six pages as we get to the conclusion. Not that this should be seen as a significant setback, however it does disrupt the flow which I see as unnecessary and could have been avoided.
In conclusion, Batman #12 is used to introduce the character of Row, showing Gotham from her perspective, and the struggle for many of Gotham’s underclass. Her role as electrical whizz-kid also shines some light on to a previously un-touched aspect of Gotham in how Batman manipulates the city’s power supply. Whilst this was a satisfying one-shot, its relevance will likely depend on Harper’s future role in the Bat-universe.
Posted on August 23rd, 2012
Category: REVIEWS, THE ONLY WAY IS GEEK
Tags: Batman, Batman Vol. 2 #12 Review, Comic Reviews, DC Comics, Harper Row, Joker, Scott Snyder, Stuart Ingram, The Only Way Is Geek