Way to help the polar ice cap melt, Azrael.
While Dick attempts, Azrael preempts, and Harper's not exempt from how Mother tempts all in this twenty-fourth episode of DC's weekly Batman adventure (that lacks Batman and only has one person who's legitimately a current-serving Robin). While Damian, Jason, Tim, Barbara, Kate, Jim, Duke, Helena, Selina, Dinah, and... others are busy around the world smashing kids in the face in attempt to gain control of the broadcast towers to Mother's hypnotizing satellite (formerly Spyral's hypnotizing satellite), Our Man Fl--- I mean Dick is right in front of Mother's hideout in the Antarctic Circle. but is waylaid by the self-styled Angel of Death (and haver of ridiculous hair under that helmet).
"Who knows? I always zone out whenever Tim or Jason talks. I know the readers do."
I find myself continuing to be compelled by the main thrust of the book, but it also appears to be pulling the drag chute with all these piddling obstacles before the final confrontation. It's sort of like in the FMA manga (and the Brotherhood TV series) where you had the fight with the immortal soldiers and then the fight with the Fuhrer candidates before you could fight Father. Enough with this miniboss bullshit. I know Mother isn't really a physical kind of menace (pretty sure a couple of swifts kick to the face would take her out), so once those obstacles are up, there's not a lot of action scenes to be had, but action isn't everything, folks. I know it's a superhero comic, but I'd like to just get to where Dick faces off with Mother in her inner sanctum, with the soul of Harper Row on the line, or something of the sort. This is starting to grate. I appreciate this series being shorter than the previous weekly, but it also seems to have less to say. Again, I like what it DOES have to say, but let's get on with it.
"I have marshmallows, dearie."
For example, this bit with Azrael showing up just to fight Dick over who gets to apply their brand of justice to Mother. They're acting like they already have her dead to rights and her plans ruined. Guys, have some fucking priorities. This might actually mean something if Azrael were more than a plot device, but even the brief glimpses of Duke Thomas has more immediacy than whether Azrael gets his revenge for being brainwashed most of his life. They dedicated too little of the plot to his character, and even the parts they did weren't particularly interesting (probably because they involved Jason Todd and The Artist Formerly Known As Tim Drake). Right now, this fight with Azrael doesn't have me on the edge of my seat, it just has me wondering when DIck is going to slap him down so he can get to the "final boss". You want to do something interesting with Azrael? Have him team up with Dick until they get to Mother, or pop out after Mother's defeat to challenge Dick for who gets their way in how to deal with her.
The more interesting matter at hand is Mother's manuevering with Harper. You'd think that with Dick at the gates, she'd be making some contingency plans, but it is pretty in character for her to take the measure of playing to Harper's emotional turmoil. She's the devil on Harper's shoulder, whispering that she can be so much more if she just cut off her connections with her painful life, become who she was meant to be, live up to her potential, and all she'd have to do is kill the girl who ruined her life. Now, I cannot imagine Harper will be taking this opportunity, because the reader has followed her and know she's better than this, but Mother is so self-assured that she has what children need, it's plausible she'd let her guard down just to put this feather in her cap, to lure one of Batman's trainees to her side and ultimately prove just how disfunctional his methods are.
"At least, that's what DC tells me about Rebirth."
By the way, whatever happened to the Sculptor? I thought she might make a reappearance to help fight Mother.
Anyway, a decent issue, if a bit padded. Stephanie Brown got to kick some ass, which is good for her fans, MIdnighter seems to be in charge of motivating Dr. Crane, and the artwork was all very nice, especially some of the coloring. So, yeah, I'm not regretting reading this, but on the other hand, the final two issues better pay off, or I'll be hesitant to buy the trades.
- Penguin Truth
"Usually it's about popularity!"
Next: Harper on the Dark Side?!
Story: James Tynion IV & Scott Snyder
Script: Steve Orlando
Pencils: Alvaro Martinez
Inks: Raul Fernandez
Colors: John Kalisz and Gabe Eltaeb
Lettering By: Marilyn Patrizio
Cover: Alvaro Martinez, Raul Fernandez, and Tomeu Morey
Editor: Chris Conroy
Asst. Editor: Dave Wielgosz
Group Editor: Mark Doyle
Batman Created By Bob K--wait...