Thursday, November 13, 2014

Batman Eternal by Ray Fawkes issue #24

Stephanie Brown's character arc for this series was largely happening in the background. Since there are multiple subplots happening across Gotham (and sometimes occurring even out of the US), the issues for Eternal often become haphazard every time the writers would try to squeeze two or three arcs in one issue for the sake of dropping 'updates' as oppose to simply allowing each arc to  flourish by dedicating an acceptable amount of page time so the readers can really get into the story and understand the role it plays in the grander scheme of things.

This issue The Spoiler has fortunately learned from that mistake and with a refreshingly well-paced Ray Fawkes script illustrated by Andy Clarke's energetic and dynamic style, this was certainly one of the most fun installments for the later part of the series.

I wasn't a Stephanie Brown fan before but I don't have any cause to dislike her either. I also thought she had been enjoyable in her appearances for this series no matter how minimal they have been. Of all the subplots in Eternal hers is the one I actually look forward to because of how fucked up her situation is. See, basically, Stephanie was just your average girl who was coming home one night to her father's place because she forgot some stuff, only to stumble upon said parent in a supervillain costume and who vainly calls himself the Cluemaster. Since then she had to run away for her life because her father's associates most definitely want her dead and her dad did not oppose it--he wants to kill her too. There was no love lost between these family members at all and it such a sad thing and of course traumatic to find out that your own parent approves your murder.

 Understandably fearful of getting slain but still a clever girl, Stephanie decided to live inside the her school's library and busied herself researching about her father's secret life and exposing his deeds on online message boards.

Finally, Stephanie found the strength and common sense to refuse to be hunted down so she put on a kick-ass costume and started calling herself the Spoiler (genius!) and then proceeded stalking her own prey which is no other than daddy dearest. She feels responsible to take down this monster after all. The issue opens with a conversation between the Cluemaster and Hush while Stephanie lurks above, recording the entire thing in her phone. We also get updates on the work his other villain associates have done so far, showing readers that Hush had been plotting for an excruciating amount of time and using capable manpower and resources to turn Gotham City upside down before he even stepped inside it.

Afterwards we were treated to a flashback sequence that showed that even as a child Stephanie has a natural acrobatic talent (and an asshole father who focused on scolding her, calling her an idiot, when she landed badly on the pavement, as oppose to taking her into his arms to comfort her--even then it was obvious that he cared little for her). What follows next is an exciting confrontation that played out in a breathtakingly cinematic way, thanks mainly to Andy Clarke's lively, vibrant and spectacularly detailed depiction of this climactic chase on the road where Stephanie tries to outbike the Cluemaster as he almost catches up to her. I was so absorbed with these pages because I was literally gunning for Stephanie to get away (she's been through some tough shit an she's impressively soldiering on. I want her to survive, naturally. She needs to get to Batman and warn him about and her escape was a happy accident which was realistic enough if not downright embarrassing for her father, being duped like that.

The wrap-up was a hoot and I found myself liking Stephanie Brown so much than I initially expected. It was a great thing that this issue's focus was all on Stephanie and it gave me an opportunity to root for a heroine who at this point I am excited to see her become a part of the Bat-family soon enough which we all know is happening, right?


No comments:

Post a Comment