Written by Scott Synder. Drawn by Becky Cloonan (art) and Sandu Florea (inks, pages 8-11, 19-20). Colored by Fco Plascencia.
Pages 22-28: Co-written by James Tynion IV with art by Andy Clarke.
Not an essential side story to the Batman mythos, but enjoyable. Three hooves out of four.
Scott Synder transitions Batman from the Night of Owls arc to September’s Issue Zero. Greg Capullo and Fco Plascencia’s cool cover art overstates the role of electricity and Batman in this issue. Issue #12 centers on minor character Harper Row and her brother, Cullen.
Electrician Harper conveys a blend of youthful spirit with working class grit. Throughout this issue, Harper shows loyalty to her brother and, though knowledge of Gotham’s electrical grid, her city. She is in awe of Batman but loathes Bruce Wayne as Wayne Enterprises is about to tear down and replace the building where the Rows live in.
After deducing the whats, whys, and hows of Batman’s own “ghost grid,” Harper carries her enthusiasm all the way near the docks where she helps Batman foil Tiger shark. In her act of heroism, she supports the Bat but possibly endangered him at the same time. The events are handled in a way where I liked Harper as an overeager ally, not a misguided brat.
Of note in Batman #12 is the art shift of the last seven pages. Andy Clarke’s moody realism replaces Cloonan’s expressionist art. I didn’t mind the shift because I was into the story. It helped that Clarke gave Batman the appropriate seriousness while speaking with Harper. On the other hand, Cloonan’s art style is fitting for a character study of young people like the Rows. It all works out in the end.
There are small character moments such as Alfred being assured that Harper’s living standards about to improve and Cullen’s crush on Tim Drake. However, Harper is the real spark of this issue’s events.