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Comic Review: Batman #28

Batman #28 Eternal Harper Row Bluebird
Scott Snyder has always been good at setting the bar for the Batman franchise.

And he just set the bar for the upcoming Batman Eternal impossibly high.

Batman #28 jumps ahead into the DCU’s future to show Gotham – New Gotham, actually – in a policed state. Armored trucks and SWAT soldiers patrol the streets after 8pm, and Catwoman has become the new kingpin of the city’s underworld. She’s sitting on a secret that could spoil the current regime, but she’s also had a falling out with Batman and is less than keen to work with him.

Enter Harper Row, the pointwoman in a break-in heist at Selina’s crime palace. In this future world, Harper has become, undeniably, Batman’s new sidekick – and she may just be the most badass one yet. Toting a suit of body armor, a cool jacket and a hefty shock rifle, Harper – a.k.a. Bluebird – certainly looks capable of handling herself. She carries most of this story, opening the door for Batman while anchoring the narrative from start to finish.

As for that finish, Spoiler alert – Selina’s secret captive is none other than the New 52’s Stephanie Brown, the one-time Batgirl who disappeared after the line relaunch. She apparently holds the key to saving Gotham from whatever is at hand, but you’ll have to come back for Batman Eternal to find out.

And that title promises to be one hell of a story, as Snyder once again pulls the old timewarp-to-a-dystopia trick to hook his reader in. He’ll go back to the ravaged Gotham of Zero Year next month, but he’s set up plenty in Batman #28 to promise a compelling future for Batman Eternal to explore.

Harper Row is one of the best elements of that future, and it will be interesting to explore her and Stephanie Brown as two sidekick characters who aren’t dark-haired boys named after a certain red bird.

The only problem with Harper is a minor one, and that’s in the art. Dustin Nguyen – who draws in for regular Greg Capullo – is a bit inconsistent with Harper in the opening frames. Basically, he makes her hair look weird. But it’s a minor quibble, and he redeems himself once Harper suits up as Bluebird to make her the most visually stunning element of this comic. Nguyenalso draws a marvellous first appearance for Batman, who shows up after pounding a room full of baddies into a pulp while the lights are out.

Batman #28 is a must-read. If you had any doubt about Batman Eternal, this will allay your fears and have you eagerly anticipating its April 9th release.

The only other thing that’s missing? Adding Harper to Peter J. Tomasi’s Batman and Whoever title.

9.5 out of 10

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  1. trickyfilms
    March 1, 2014 at 3:41 pm

    Loved this issue of Batman. Makes me wonder what happened and what’s going to happen.

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