Batman Eternal has gotten to be a much stronger book in the past few issues. With the payoff in sight, the book hasn’t felt a need to jam-pack every issue with varying plotlines and it’s a better book for this very fact. But with some loose threads still blatantly hanging, the ever-rotating creative team has some work to do.
Ray Fawkes has once again taken the helm this week as we see Batman dealing with the haunting of Arkham Asylum spilling out onto the streets. Although, this is a decent callback to the Batwing/Spectre team up, we don’t get a lot of time with it since the lion’s share is the book is devoted to Stephanie Brown’s long awaited first outing in costume as the Spoiler. For her first adventure, Brown finally faces off against her father/nemesis, the evil Cluemaster because she wouldn’t be a member of the Bat-family without having some serious daddy issues. The Battle of the Browns ended up, without question, being the most entertaining aspect of the issue and definitely one of the top three moments of the series thus far.
The contrast between these two characters is especially interesting. Heroes and their arch-foes are commonly on opposite ends of a spectrum. In this case, it’s fun to watch such a “cool” hero going up against such a typically diabolical villain much like the familiar stereotype of a hip daughter shaking off her square of a father. Visually, Andy Clarke’s not-quite-Jason-Fabok artwork seems to be adequate enough, hitting all the right marks as far as creating the proper atmosphere for an issue that’s heavy on characters talking in dark corners.
Bottom Line: So far, the New 52 incarnation of Spoiler has managed to make for some good reading. Getting most of an issue to herself turned out to be a good move creatively. 8.5 out of 10