Harper Row meet the DCU, DCU meet Harper Row.
Among the many unofficial rules in Superhero comics is the one that says ‘after the finale to a big arc you have to do a small buffer issue.’ It usually consists of the main character in some unrelated stand-alone adventure, a quick one-and-done; the previous events are briefly mentioned, part of the creative team gets to take a breather, the readers palette is cleansed, and by the end were ready for the next thing to begin. It’s not a bad thing, in fact most of the time it’s a good thing – you get to see different creators, a compact story, a break from the usual, and etc.
This was a buffer issue.
Well, maybe not entirely.
Yeah, mostly a buffer issue.
Yah know what, no matter what it was, it was great.
Harper Row’s first appearance in Batman #1. Not Aunt May, the one on the far left.
We first met Harper Row in Batman #1, then again in Batman #7, but this was her coming out party. And she fits right in. While Batman isn’t without his supporting characters who are young, or trendy, or from a tough neighborhood, or handy with things such as electronics Scott Snyder, and to a great degree Becky Cloonan, give Harper Row the uniqueness she needed to stand out. What could have easily been a forgettable story about a new character destined to be lost in the shuffle ends up being a distinct story, with a character to match, both of which aren’t likely to be disregarded anytime soon.
Becky Cloonan was absolutely perfect for this issue (this seems to be her year). And after getting to know Harper Row I feel like she’s the artist the character would have picked to draw her story. Cloonan seems right at home with Harper and not surprisingly captures Gotham and even Batman impressively. With her panels and facial expressions she engages the entire page, even in dialogue heavy scenes, and her characters don’t need to be flying, swinging, or punching to involve the reader and in the moment where there was Batman action I was left REALLY wanting more (seriously, I’d buy a Batman-drawn Cloonan monthly). Harper is depicted exactly as she’s being written, the syncness between Snyder and Cloonan matches exactly how I’d picture the character in my own head.
So yes, it was distracting when Andy Clarke takes over in the “backup” (which isn’t really a backup). Not at all because Andy Clarke isn’t a great artist in his own right just because I was so enjoying Cloonan’s take and their style’s are so different.
And the icing on the cake is Fco Plascencia switching it up on colors, this story is noticeably more vibrant and colorful (as is the story).
Snyder and Co-Writer James Tynion IV tell a great story; from the real-life pressures Harper and her brother experience to Tiger Shark’s yacht (first appearance in the New 52) that he somehow got in the sewer system with his pet tiger. It’s a cool little Batman story while not really being a Batman story at all; the “different perspective” that the capes and cowl books are often in need of. A sympathetic and intriguing introduction to a character I’m sure most fans are now excited to read more of.
Harper Row is tough, smart, and witty.
So like I said, great fit.
And she reminded me of Kitrina Falcone a bit. Catwoman’s sidekick. “Catgirl.” Who I didn’t actually hate…
It’s always interesting to experiment with a non-Batman story in a Batman book and here it works about as perfectly as it can. I’m a Becky Cloonan fan and upon hearing that she’d be featured in this issue I got excited, but I didn’t expect to love her work this much, Scott Snyder and her can meet again with these characters as many times as they like – more of this is a good thing.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Art that matches a good story perfectly, I now love Harper Row.||Would have LOVED to see Becky Cloonan do more Bat-action and the artistic switch is jarring.|