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March 19, 2013

Crisis of Infinite Reviews 03/13/13

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Written by: Arnab
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Batgirl #18
Writer: Ray Fawkes
Artists:
Daniel Sampere, Vicente Cifuentes, and Blond
Cover Artists:
Juan Jose Ryp and Tomeu Morey
Publisher:
DC

This issue accomplishes two very different things. On the one hand, it solidifies James Jr.’s role as Barbara’s arch-nemesis. He knows everything there is to know about his sister, her friendships, her history, and her motives, and he’s willing to use all that to hurt her. James is very different from most villains in the DC Universe, in that he’s family. He’s a psychopath, but he’s family, and with that comes a level of knowledge that is rarely matched with your everyday villain. What this issue also does, is it demonstrates just how much the New 52 has affected the Bat-titles. Pre-Flashpoint, Barbara (Oracle) and Batgirl (Stephanie Brown) were both an integral part of Batman Inc.; they were a part of Batman’s trusted inner circle. And the fact that Barbara had to find out that Damian died from her father seems remarkably telling of her role in the new 52. That being said, the way it was handled was great. From the commissioner’s reaction and phone call to Barbara’s reaction, it was handled tastefully and didn’t feel even the slightest bit forced. 4/5

Batman #18
Writer: Scott Snyder
Artists:
Andy Kubert, Sandra Hope, Nathan Fairbairn, Alex Maleev, and Brad Anderson
Cover Artists:
Greg Capullo, Jonathan Glapion, and FCO
Publisher:
DC

Remember that time when your child was sad because your dog died, so you went out and bought a cat the very next day? Remember how that was a bad idea? Apparently Scott Snyder and DC disagree. Harper Row makes her return to Batman, and what was actually a decent issue is marred by the fact that this was supposed to be a Robin Requiem issue. The entire issue was about Batman working himself too hard because of his grieving, which was the only link this issue had to Robin, and Harper Row doing what she does best – stalking Batman. The way Snyder is writing Harper’s character, with an origin similar to Tim Drake’s original origin, it’s as if he’s already replaced Damian. Unfortunately, he chose an almost inappropriate issue to feature her in. Harper’s a decent enough character, but she’s too much like Kitrina Falcone and Tim Drake for me to take seriously, and honestly, I don’t want another Robin right now. 2.5/5

Batman and Robin #18
Writer: Peter J. Tomasi
Artists: Patrick Gleason, Mick Gray, and John Kalisz
Cover Artists: Patrick Gleason, Mick Gray, and John Kalisz
Publisher: DC

When it comes to honoring the dead, Tomasi, Gleason, Gray, and Kalisz have established themselves as the best. Tomasi chose to make this entire issue a silent one, allowing the illustrations to tell the tragic story of a man who lost his son, and another man who lost his grandson, of sorts. The story is written so well and illustrated so beautifully, that it’s more heartbreaking to read than the issue where Damian actually dies. It was also quite nice how the story conveyed the different ways in which the men were mourning. It felt as if Bruce, who had so little time with Damian, was mourning the times that they should have had together; while Alfred was mourning the boy he helped raise. This issue is hands down the best issue of the series, and unlike Batman #18 is an issue deservedly marked “Requiem.” 5/5

Be sure to check out previous editions of Crisis of Infinite Reviews by clicking here!

Arnab Pradhan
arnab@comicattack.net

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4 Comments


  1. Mat

    I think this is the first negative Batman #18 review I’ve seen, but I’d have to agree. It works as a great follow up issue to “DOTF”, with Bruce pushing himself so hard because of how the Bat-Family sees him now but as a Requiem issue it falters.



    • Thanks, and I agree. I think this issue would have been great had it not been so ill-placed. It could have gone anywhere and been a touching story, instead it got placed right when everyone should have been mourning Damian and instead they were introduced to a theoretical new Robin.



  2. I think Batman #18 was a much better issue than what you’re giving it credit for. It didn’t seem as if Harper was thrown in as a replacement. It focused on her issues as well as Batman pushing himself too hard. She’s concerned about him because she sees the need for him in Gotham and the thought of some two bit jackass taking him out because of his loss and being unfocused isn’t something she is going to let happen. She recognizes this loss because she’s gone through it herself and in her own small way helps Batman cope with it more than she even knows. Especially when we’re shown the last panel of the story w/ the letter “R” lit up on the building that ties it all together.

    The issue read well and looked great. Especially when you have two great artists like Kubert and Maleev handling two distinctly different stories. I’d have given it a 4 at least but it’s not my column lol!



    • She has almost the exact same origin as Tim Drake’s origin. And Tim was the guy who replaced the last dead Robin. The parallels are too strong not to make the assumption she’s being thrown in as a replacement. And until I get a firm “no” from DC or Snyder, I’m going to keep making that assumption.
      Like I mentioned, or at least I think I mentioned, I don’t think this was a terrible issue. However, the fact that it was the “Requiem” issue, and the fact that it failed in that regard, is why it got such a low rating. A requiem should be about the dead. What you shouldn’t do, is introduce the person you’re replacing the dead with, that’s just tacky.



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