Batman’s David Bowie complex, Gambit’s old habits

Greetings, and welcome to Day after Comic Book Day! Some great books came in yesterday. The two I most looked forward to were Batman #12 and Marvel’s newest on-going, Gambit.

Batman #12 was not so much about the Bat himself, but more about the girl who saved him after his escape from the Court of Owls in issue #7. Her name is Harper Row, a spunky teen who works on Gotham’s power grid down below. You can’t help but feel drawn to her after the first page. Her personality shines through immediately after the second page: a stubborn tom-boy who would rather wear flannel to a Bruce Wayne gala than a dress; a devoted older sister who’d rather deal with her brother’s tormentors than do something for herself. She also terribly clever. I’ve no doubt that soon we’ll be adding her name to the uncomfortably long list of people who know Batman’s identity.

Harper’s story takes place during the first half of the whole messy affair with Court of Owls. Through her eyes, we get a rare outsider’s glimpse of Batman and into the extent of his devotion to Gotham. And sure Harper and her brother’s problems seem small compared to what Bats is dealing with, but it doesn’t mean they’re not as important. Luckily, Batman shares that sentiment.

Scott Snyder’s writing is always superb. Without becoming too preachy, Snyder deals with bullying and homophobia, which are Row siblings’ immediate problems in this story. And even though this is a one-shot story, it definitely does not feel like filler. It’s a character study on someone who will no doubt become important in the future (at least that’s what I’m hoping). The icing on the top is Becky Cloonan (American Virgin) who debuts as the very first woman to draw an issue of Batman. Seriously, it’s 2012 and she’s the first. In any case, her expressive and emotional style  adds to the story Snyder wants to tell. My only gripe is that she did only the first 21 pages. Andy Clarke finishes out the last six pages of the issue. I don’t dislike Clarke’s artwork, I just wish Cloonan could’ve done the entire thing.

Finally, Batman fights a villain on a boat, in the sewers. Then a tiger gets thrown into the mix. Awesome.

Gambit #1 stars none other than, duh, Gambit. I’m told that this takes a pleasant change of pace. As in no Bella Donna! I gotta tell ya, I don’t read a whole lot of Marvel. When I do, it’s one or two issues of Journey into Mystery or Invincible Iron Man. Not a huge fan of the Mutant aspect of the universe. There’s too much. Much too much. That said, I was strangely drawn to this issue. It could be because I used to have a crush on our handsome Creole in the 90s, it could be because he’s a thief and this is a heist issue, or both! Also, he’s by himself. No extra mutant baggage to inundate me with continuity.

The charming Remy LeBeau seems to be at a crossroads; though it’s a rather slim one. The motivation for going back to thievery is boredom. Because teaching mutant kids and running around with the X-Men, living a life of constant danger isn’t thrilling enough? Whatever, the very first scene takes place in the shower. Take THAT, New 52 Catwoman!

The writing could be better. I felt like, as I was reading, Remy’s accent went in and out. On top of that, it’s your fairly average heist setup. Enter the scene all debonaire, flirt with a pretty girl, get harassed by the suspicious host and his racist bodyguards, create a distraction, find the vault, reveal how you obtained the host’s retinas/voice/fingerprints and password, open vault, take the most curious looking item in there. Oh yeah, there’s a sentinel working as a watchdog. It’s no Ocean’s Eleven, but it works. I’ll check out Gambit #2, hopefully it’ll show signs of being better.

P.S. Shower scene, naked Remy. I am a girl, after all. The end.

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