Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews
Snyder, Kubert & Hope
Scott Snyder has had a great run on Batman related titles. He's a gifted writer and knows how to tell a story, even about something or someone obscure and off the regular path. This comic represents the least appealing effort I have ever read of his. It's not that this comic is really told from a point of view other than Batman's. It's that the character that it focuses on, Harper, follows the trail that so many other sidekicks or would be sidekicks seem to follow in Batman comics. It's just a very ordinary comic and one that you might feel you've read a hundred times over. If you miss one Snyder book then this is the one to miss.
Batman is suffering, presumably from the death of Robin. He's taking out his frustration on low life criminals. However, he's running on no sleep and is opening himself up to injury to criminals he normally wouldn't break a sweat on. Enter Harper. She plans to save Batman, not literally, but save him from his emotionally issues by offering some advice.
There are a number of issues with this. First of all, Harper tracks Batman, which begs the question: if she can do it then why can't his villains? Secondly, if Batman's loved ones can't get through to Batman (like Alfred) then what chance does a random girl that has interacted with Batman once or twice before. Sadly, there is no setup to Batman's emotional state as it pertains to his inner circle. We are left to assume they are nowhere to be found, yet he is in contact with Alfred via phone. This felt a little sloppy.
The backup story helps to connect the dots as Harper gets through to Batman, but the oddity here is the story's setup contradicts what occurred in the main story. Batman hasn't slept in days, yet he crashes at Wayne Tower, as Bruce Wayne, to get some sleep. These are details Snyder normally never misses.
The artwork is great in the lead-in story. Kubert (Andy) designs some outstanding panel layouts and definitely illustrates a mean and driven Batman that serves this story very well. He is a great storyteller, especially when it comes to page layouts. The back-up art is good but because it's coupled with a lead-in that presents versions of the characters that vary greatly from that of Kubert you have a very inconsistent read artistically.
Batman probably isn't the kind of character to apologize. Yet, he does in this story. It felt partly cheesy, partly unrealistic and partly forced. It worked to bring Harper and Batman to a level of common ground but the book just doesn't click as something in line with Batman. Is Snyder setting up the next Robin? Maybe, but this is not the best showcase for the character.
3 out of 5 Geek Goggles