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Batman #18 - Resolve Review

4

Batman is dealing with the recent fallout in his corner of the DCU. He's on a downward spiral but will he be willing to accept help?

The Good

Batman has suffered a terrible loss. By now, it shouldn't be a surprise to readers. The spoilers have been out there since before BATMAN INCORPORATED #8 was released. As you would expect, we see some reaction from Batman. But it's more than that. With the return of Harper Row, we get some outside perspective. To see some first hand reaction by Batman, you'll have to pick up BATMAN AND ROBIN #18.

There has been some speculation over the future of Harper's character. She has been an interesting character in the little we saw before and this issue gives us more. This is where we get to find out more about her, her background and what she just might be capable of. I've already seen some fans complain about her and that there are other Bat-characters that could fill her role. That may be but I'm willing to see what her future may hold. She has just the right amount of attitude, skill and perseverance I'd like to see more of.

As for Batman, what would you expect his reaction to be over his loss? As I mentioned, there is a deeper look in BATMAN AND ROBIN this week. It's great seeing the intensity and the pain he's feeling from an outside perspective.

It's always a little weird not seeing Greg Capullo's art but Andy Kubert is a welcomed replacement. Seeing his art is a reminder of some of the past history we've seen. He has a knack for the gritty action scenes and seeing his version of Harper is pretty cool.

The Bad

The first is not a direct problem with this title. Obviously this does not follow the events of issue 17. There is a gap and we don't know how much time has passed necessarily. We just know this is following the events from BATMAN INCORPORATED.

As much as I enjoyed seeing Harper and her developments, the question also comes up about how much time has passed since her last appearance. She brings some great things to the series. Her talk with Batman is great and shows what he means to her. It still feels a little like we're missing something. This is just a problem with having so many different Bat-titles. And a reason I welcome ZERO YEAR in pulling this title away from the others for a bit. At the same time, seeing the emotion displayed in BATMAN AND ROBIN almost took a little away from this.

The main story flows almost seamlessly into the back up. That's a good thing but since the art changes from Kubert's to Alex Maleev's the different styles make the seamless nature a little jarring. Because of the nature of the story, you can almost ignore it. Almost.

The Verdict

It's a sucky time in Batman's life. Seeing Batman deal with the loss of a Robin is something we've seen before. That doesn't mean this is the same situation. This is even slightly addressed in a tiny way. Seeing what Batman's going through from Harper's outside perspective was a great choice. It makes the story play out a little differently than we might see in a typical 'mourning' issue. The way she's written makes me want to see more of her in the future.

I will admit there were some deeply emotional scenes here. This made me really think over the rating for this issue. I'm not sure if I was so touched due to personal loss I'm currently going through in my family. But it does show Snyder's ability to make you feel Batman's pain.

The unfortunate nature of this book being part of a bigger Bat-Universe means this issue doesn't necessarily flow with previous issue. We're just coming out of Death of the Family and now suddenly, a huge event has taken place elsewhere. Having some more or separation or distance between issue 17 and BATMAN INCORPORATED would have been nice. It's also unfairly hard to view this issue after the intense emotions depicted in this week's BATMAN AND ROBIN.

If Harper is destined to play a bigger role in the Bat or DC Universe, you will not want to miss out on this issue.

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Posted by broo1232

NEVER SAW THAT COMING BATMAN GOT A 4!!!!!!

Posted by JamDamage

well..........from the 1st page everyone is going to start thinking about a certain rumor and is someone is going to become a certain somone. That post actually makes sense if you read this issue.

Posted by frandj

... i dunno what to say... but... after reading and watch it, harper somehow remind me of amalgamation of catwoman and robin. i meant she has the spirit and the stuborness of both... and ow yea... she remind me of girl with dragon tattoo too.

Posted by sledgemeyers

Only thing that worried me; the events of Batman Inc. kind of pull away from the stuff we've seen in DotF. I know Snyder's not the only person on Batman, but I really feel like a response to the end of that arc was necessary. Batman Inc's tragedy is fitting, but it feels like too much is happening in this universe at the same time which makes only the 'big' stuff that happens (Damien's fate) relevant in the end. Sucks.

Posted by G-Man

@broo1232: Let's just focus on the issue or review rather than a number?

@sledgemeyers: I agree. It's the great thing and worse thing about the comic. There's just too much going on. You can usually look the other way but this is way too big to ignore. And it's unfortunate for this particular series.

Staff
Posted by broo1232

@G-Man: I was only joking nice review

Posted by G-Man

@broo1232: No worries. I just was trying to cut off other similar comments. It's out of the way and hopefully everyone can focus on this issue. I did really really enjoy it. I would've given it a 4.5 if possible.

Staff
Posted by Onemoreposter

@sledgemeyers said:

Only thing that worried me; the events of Batman Inc. kind of pull away from the stuff we've seen in DotF. I know Snyder's not the only person on Batman, but I really feel like a response to the end of that arc was necessary. Batman Inc's tragedy is fitting, but it feels like too much is happening in this universe at the same time which makes only the 'big' stuff that happens (Damien's fate) relevant in the end. Sucks.

What of relevance really happened at the end of Death of the Family? Nothing. No changes in status quo. No one even injured really. It was just implied that the family didn't quite trust each other as much as they once did and by family I guess we're really only taking about Tim, Dick, and Bruce since Alfred, Damien, and Bruce lived together and Bruce and Jason weren't exactly tight to begin with.

As for this issue, I found it "ok" at best. It was way too bogged down in dialogue, although anything I read after coming off this week's issue of Batman & Robin was probably going to seem word heavy.

As for this Harper Row character all I can say is she isn't growing on me. I feel like Snyder's trying to make a character who's edgy and different, but Harper is just the blandest most stereotypical amalgamation of the traits Snyder is trying to portray. I'm really hoping she doesn't become the next Robin.

My biggest problem was probably....

Batman punching a teenage girl in the face hard enough to send her through a fence and break her nose. I get he's distraught, but that's completely out of character. I mean, what's he thinking there, "My child died in the battle field so I'm going to beat down other children!" ?

I had a few other qualms with the issue but nothing major. On the bright side I LOVE Andy's Batman. For me it's an iconic image. Something about the eyes I think.

Posted by Loki9876

I love the cover.

Edited by broo1232

@G-Man: I've seen what some people say and really understand why you would do this.

Posted by velvetmeds

Better than 17 then

And i need to get a "Harper for Robin" pin

Posted by akbogert

I've loved Harper since the beginning. What little I saw of her had me interested, and when I found out Snyder planned to make her a "big part" of Batman's world, I was very excited. This issue convinced me that it will work. The dialogue between those two was gold, and I can already see how if she does become the next Robin, it won't be because Bruce says "sure, I want another kid by my side" but because he realizes she's probably more likely to get hurt if he doesn't accept her. Then again, Stephanie died by being rash...but then again, she never existed in this universe...

Anyhow, I also really liked this perspective on Batman's grief and coping (or lack thereof). Without having read Inc. no. 8 or B&R 18, I still felt the weight. Considering how Inc. has had nothing to do with the rest of the Bat-verse until now, it strikes me as a little selfish that all these writers suddenly had to incorporate it into their books; Snyder found a way to do so which also furthered his own plan going back over a year, and I appreciated that. Nothing here felt forced, and I think the only people who will dislike the issue are people who loved Damian and hate Harper just because they see her as a mockery of his death (or the folks who just don't like Harper, but what can you do?).

Posted by Sleepbutnodream15

I don't get why you guys like this Harper Row girl. I'm really hoping she doesn't become the next Robin. The nose piercing, blue hair, and overall emo-ness just bother me. I wouldn't care as much if she was just the next Oracle or something.

I love Scott Snyder, but I'm really hoping that it doesn't come down to this.

Posted by Walzo

This is the first 4 that Batman has gotten.

YES.

Posted by Mucklefluga

@Loki9876 said:

I love the cover.

Same here.

I read this somewhere else and i agree looking at Kubert's art in the preview compared to what i see of Capullo every month really makes me feel as if Capullo is THE Batman artist for Snyder and that tone. I'm not saying Kubert's art is bad, it's really great but it doesn't fit this Batman book like Capullo's does. Capullo nails each issue month after month.

Posted by Kesho_Ronin

It ain't so bad.It's just a way Snyder develops a story.i think it going in nice direction

Posted by ptigrusmagus

Damien's death so quick after Death of the Family really cheapens DotF for me. It was a huge crossover event but a single issue of Batman Inc trumps the entirety of DotF.

Posted by PRECOCIOUSnefarious

Should have just had Damian die in death of the family if DC was going to go that route in the big picture. I feel it would have been alot more impactful and fitting for Snyders arc rather than Morrison's. Now we get this weird fall out issue that doesn't touch on any of the things brought up in the final issue of DOTF, but robin is still dead. Strange and confusing. oh well, I still love Batman.

Posted by kingdomenic

I was really hoping Harper would die in this issue.

Posted by Jodez

Geez Snyder, Damian's not even dead for five minutes and you already have his replacement in training

Posted by darkrider

the cover is really powerful damn you dc why why

Posted by The Stegman

I don't mind Harper becoming Robin..just not anytime soon, Batman needs to grieve. 

Edited by Botiste

We can't kill the joker because of the emotional impact on Batman, but we can kill Robin for that same reason? Then again maybe, just maybe, we shouldn't take our 10 year old children to gun fights with killers. I don't care if he was train to kill from birth, (like some children overseas), he studied for seven years max, the other three spent learning motor skills, at 10 or 11 his bone structure is not made for knock out impacts on grown men, I don't care how much training he has. So the search is on for the next adolescent or juvenile we could through in the line of fire for the sake of the name side kick. I don't mean to sound condescending, but law enforcement gets you to look at death, danger and dying in a new light. It would kill me to my son into that kind of danger knowing the cost, being just ten. I loved Damien but I feel that there were more story's to tell.

Posted by sentryman555

This was a good issue but we've seen this before. This EXACT storyline. Its almost annoying how they're giving Harper row the, almost identical storyline they took from Tim Drake. Their were parts where it felt like they could change it up and make it different but for now it's a story thats been done.

Posted by ThanosIsMad

I'd feel much better about this if Harper Row was Stephanie Brown and her dad was Cluemaster. DC sidelining characters, popular characters, just to make more characters that essentially fill the same role as those they sidelined makes no sense whatsoever.

Posted by Ben3000

My only problem was just the time gap. Otherwise then that it was a great issue overall. I probably would have given it a 4.5 out of 5 for the most part.

Posted by zachkastner

I reeeaaaally don't want Harper as Robin.

If she becomes Robin spinning out of this tragedy then it's just Tim Drake in different clothing. Nearly the same story.

No, her tech savvy and skill-set should be put to good use protecting the citizens of Gotham and the Batfamily on their crusade against crime. She should become Oracle, the role is still unfilled in The New 52. That moves honors Damian's death and the characters' reactions to loss while also creating a logical inclusion of her into the mythos.

Don't give her the R.

Edited by TDK_88

@Loki9876 said:

I love the cover.

Yes.

@kingdomenic said:

I was really hoping Harper would die in this issue.

Me too!

I REALLY dislike Harper. Nothing about her is actually interesting, to me she is just another failed new character who I really don't care about.

I feel she is just an amalgamation of other Pre-New-52 characters (Steph, Oracle, Tim.) with a "current." Girlwiththedragontattoo type emo style to her.

Also, the whole "Batman is a symbol blah blah..." thing she said is completely ripped from John Blake (TDKR) Snyder gushed over his love for that film and said elements of the film drove him to think bigger aspects of his storytelling and such. This is too "on the nose" to not be a homage to that and makes me dislike her more.

Harper (Steph-Oracle-Harold-Blake-Tim-Lisbeth-Robin) Row Must Die. Yawn.

Posted by longbowhunter

@ThanosIsMad said:

I'd feel much better about this if Harper Row was Stephanie Brown and her dad was Cluemaster. DC sidelining characters, popular characters, just to make more characters that essentially fill the same role as those they sidelined makes no sense whatsoever.

I agree. I dont dislike Harper, but she's so similar to Steph. This would have been the perfect opportunity to work Spoiler into the New 52.

Posted by InnerVenom123

@Botiste said:

We can't kill the joker because of the emotional impact on Batman, but we can kill Robin for that same reason? Then again maybe, just maybe, we shouldn't take our 10 year old children to gun fights with killers. I don't care if he was train to kill from birth, (like some children overseas), he studied for seven years max, the other three spent learning motor skills, at 10 or 11 his bone structure is not made for knock out impacts on grown men, I don't care how much training he has. So the search is on for the next adolescent or juvenile we could through in the line of fire for the sake of the name side kick. I don't mean to sound condescending, but law enforcement gets you to look at death, danger and dying in a new light. It would kill me to my son into that kind of danger knowing the cost, being just ten. I loved Damien but I feel that there were more story's to tell.

He's not a normal child. He was grown in a tube and implanted with God-knows-what kinds of chemicals and enhancements.

Edited by Fantasgasmic

This story has awoken a rage I haven't felt in quite some time. I abhorred a lot of the early reboot, especially how Lobdell has ruined the Teen Titans; Connor, and Tim Drake in particular. But this issue is just plain wrong. It was the first out and out Snyder issue I flat out hated since the reboot. They're setting up Harper Row to be Robin in the EXACT SAME MANNER that Tim did in A Lonely Place of Dying before Scott Lobdell shit all over that in Teen Titans #0.

The more Snyder shows Harper, the less I like her. The more she gushes to her brother about Batman, the less I like her. And the more he makes Batman bond with her, the more I out and out hate her. Not just because she's new and different, but because it's something I already had, and liked, and was taken away from me.

I give this issue a 2/5. It's a horrible development, but aside from the obviously scenes where Batman and Harper "bond" it's not done in a bad way. I am anticipating a lot of low scoring Batman books in the future (from the plotline they begin at the end of this issue, that is).

The worst part of it is the inevitability of it all.

Posted by sledgemeyers

@Onemoreposter said:

@sledgemeyers said:

Only thing that worried me; the events of Batman Inc. kind of pull away from the stuff we've seen in DotF. I know Snyder's not the only person on Batman, but I really feel like a response to the end of that arc was necessary. Batman Inc's tragedy is fitting, but it feels like too much is happening in this universe at the same time which makes only the 'big' stuff that happens (Damien's fate) relevant in the end. Sucks.

What of relevance really happened at the end of Death of the Family? Nothing. No changes in status quo. No one even injured really. It was just implied that the family didn't quite trust each other as much as they once did and by family I guess we're really only taking about Tim, Dick, and Bruce since Alfred, Damien, and Bruce lived together and Bruce and Jason weren't exactly tight to begin with.

I see where you're coming from, but I would argue that we're not seeing changes in the status quo because Damien's gone. The trust issues go out the window, Barbara v. James Gordon Jr. loses it's luster, and even the people Dick lost are all overshadowed by this larger event. That's just the current/Death of the Family stuff too. The other books had some interesting loose plot threads that I feel could be lost as a result of all of this harping on what's happened. Almost as if all of the books are working against each other rather than for each other; we have no breathing room for these stories to transition in a grounded way.

Again, I can only complain so much because the writing is still top notch and I'm sure we have some cool stuff coming up. Although, it feels like DC is giving these writers tons of leeway/space for their arcs and stories until somebody drops something big. Then everybody needs to fall in line with the "big, new event" or die basically. Court of Owls was similar in a sense.

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

It was alright 7/10

Posted by hunter5024

Is this the first 4 star Batman review since the New 52 started?

Posted by Imagine_Man15

@hunter5024 said:

Is this the first 4 star Batman review since the New 52 started?

Yup.

Posted by Owie

I did miss Capullo, but with him out for an issue, I wish Maleev did the whole thing.  He had a much better handle on drawing Harper and setting the mood.  I do kind of like the idea of having Harper be the new Robin, but I also agree that it's lame that she's following so closely in Tim's footsteps in that way, and also that Stephanie is not getting her chance here.

Edited by bsavelli

This thing with Damian and Harper kinda reminds me of what happened with Jason and Tim. The rebellious Robin dies, Batman gets partially insane and violent, then a young über smart kid shows up to show him that's not the way to go etc

Posted by desean101

Also did Harper Blush looking at Stubbly Bruce Wayne in his Office. This could get awkward real quick since Selina, his Other reality daughter Helena, and Harper are all within 6 years of each other.

Posted by Fenderxx

I liked the last page alot, felt Like a very good way to help bring Batman back from the edge a bit.. very well done

Posted by Zeeguy91

@desean101 said:

Also did Harper Blush looking at Stubbly Bruce Wayne in his Office. This could get awkward real quick since Selina, his Other reality daughter Helena, and Harper are all within 6 years of each other.

I'm pretty sure it was just that her nose was broken.

Posted by Zeeguy91

I actually really liked this episode. Harper is quickly becoming a favorite supporting Bat-character of mine and this issue made me like her all the more. I can't wait to see her reaction for when she finally finds out Batman's real identity.

The only problem I really had with this issue was Andy Kubert's art. I was a bit wonky, which is weird because he's usually one of the better artists. That, and the transition from Kubert to Maleev was a bit jarring. I actually would've rather seen Maleev do the entirety of this issue, but that's just me.

Posted by darkwingdan

@darkrider said:

the cover is really powerful damn you dc why why

This cover was a better story than the issue itself.

Posted by Mezmero

Completely agree with this review. Harper is shaping up to be a very interesting character. The aftermath of Death of the Family however is completely glossed over. It's unfortunate that Snyder's brilliant run is being bogged down by Morrison's continuity (which I don't care about) and that just doesn't feel fair to Scott. Now with the news that we're going back to Year Zero it feels like instead of getting more new stories for Bruce we're getting rehashed versions of old ones. The shift in art is very jarring but I was too captivated by the story to pay much attention to it. I still say he should make that robin on the cover into the new Robin.

Posted by iaconpoint

I hate being told a character is a "fan favorite" when she's clearly not and having her shoved down our throats. The fact that she's supposed to be all "edgy" with a stereotypical glass doll of a gay brother makes it worse. However, can't say that I totally hated this issue. Yeah, she may have stolen Tim's pre-flashpoint origin, but let's see where it goes. My biggest problem is STILL the fact that DC has actual fan favorites Steph and Cass but refuses to acknowlege them in favor of someone who obviously generates so much animosity.

Posted by sinestro_GL

I felt pretty 'meh' about this issue...and it's no coincidence that the last time I felt this way about an issue of Snyder's Batman was Batman #12

Posted by Agent_Prince

This issue highlights a very simple fact: There is now a massive gap where Damien, the most interesting DC character in years, used to be, and is clearly evident here. Seeing how much they are pushing Harper already, who could be interesting in her own way, I now expect DC to publish an ill-fated in less than a year solo series. Massive mistake, massive.

Posted by soumya

Harper's introduction was awesome in issue 12(I guess),but her character transformation in this issue seems kind of weird to me.Suddenly she seems like 5 years older than that of issue 12.She even got to show the voice of justice to batman in it(this issue).It looks like she is already 10 steps ahead to becoming the next robin.Her character development doesn't satisfy me.

Posted by thedrudo

Wasn't a big fan of this issue. Harper is alright but I'm not in love with her and I don't necessarily buy this arc for her. An obsessive fan yes. Hero, not so much.

Plus the artwork for Part Two was terrible.

Posted by The Mast

There was nothing wrong with the technical or mechanical execution of this issue.

Batman breaking Harper's nose is wayyy out of character and I echo the sentiments of everyone else. When did this happen? How far after certain other events have we come?

Let's not overlook the additional question: WHY IS BATMAN BEING ALLOWED ANOTHER POTENTIAL ROBIN?!

If she's gonna keep bugging him or helping him "against his will", fine. If he makes her Robin, I will be so annoyed. This is Bruce's mission. If he inspires people to do their own thing, fine. That's up to him. To actively drag them into it? No.

Let her be an Oracle type or something. Let her aid him from a "safe" distance. I reserve the right to change this stance if they make Cassandra Cain his new Robin. Even then, I'd be hesitant.

I just feel like we've done all this before. Like, Batman is a character who attracts loss and danger. How much longer is he going to be allowed to drag others down with him? It has literally just cost him the loss of his young child. Not even a grown man or woman as a sidekick. His small, young son.

Posted by KnightofSteel

Great issue. Have to say I found this more intriguing than previous issues of the series. I always enjoy Kubert's art and he knocked it outta the park here. And Hope on inks...one solid inker.

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