The last time I encountered Stephanie Brown AKA Spoiler she was romancing Tim Drake and running around as Robin. As a new reader to the Detective Comics series, I’m excited to jump in with an issue featuring a character I haven’t seen in a long time. So let’s find out, is it good?
Writers: James Tynion IV, Genevieve Valentine
Artists: Carmen Carnero
Publisher: DC Comics
The Wrath Of Spoiler”! Stephanie Brown wants nothing more than to save Gotham City from the epidemic of costumed vigilantes and madmen that regularly tear the city apart. But before she can try to stop them, she must face the challenge of one in particular: the insane idealogue the Wrath is back, and Stephanie knows what he has planned—but she refuses to let Batman risk more lives to stop him. That means it’s all on her…and a very unlikely ally!”
What’s the skinny?
Spoiler has a vendetta against super heroes, especially Batman and wants to ensure they don’t put any more innocent lives at risk. Destroying the Bat-Signal and ruining Detective Bullock’s donuts appears to be the perfect place to start her new mission.
From the donut crime scene it’s on to a hostage situation at a local TV station. One of Batman’s noted villains Wrath is on scene with his goons, hell bent on broadcasting his message to the city and goading Batman into a confrontation. Spoiler aims to fight crime in a new way and Wrath is her first real test to see if her new ideology can be implemented in Gotham City.
What’s the catch?
DC’s synopsis lead me to believe that this issue was going to be a showdown between Spoiler, an unnamed ally and Wrath. While the showdown between Wrath and Spoiler does happen, the mysterious ally has zero involvement. That’s not what really bothers me here though, the narrative of Spoiler’s inner monologue is so overpowering that the conflict with Wrath doesn’t seem to matter.
Spoiler goes deep into a pile of reasons justifying how she’s different from Batman, better than Batman, how she’s going to fight crime differently and show the people of Gotham a better way. I wasn’t shown anything during her conflict of Wrath that shows her as a unique crime fighter with a new approach. She just comes off as jaded and depressed.
Is It Good?
The cover art by Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira and Adriano Lucas is utterly fantastic. Pencil and ink combine to perfectly encapsulate Gotham City. The colors used on the smoke, lightning and cityscape capture the dark, dreary and foreboding feel you’d expect from Batman’s city. Spoiler slamming down into the Bat-Signal adds a badass element to an already fantastic cover. Hats off to this team of artists.
There’s two stories being told in this issue. Instead of complimenting one another, they’re pushing the reader in two different directions. Spoiler tells a narrative that tries to portray a reborn hero with a new take on fighting crime, but all it does it make her come off as a jaded, depressed and delusional wanna be.
On the other side of the coin there’s a super hero vigilante trying to save hostages from a super villain. Due to the overpowering inner monologue narrative, it’s hard to enjoy this part of the story. Spoiler’s mid-fight with the bad guys, she’s telling the reader how different she is from Batman and yet she’s handling the fight in the exact manner as I’d imagine Batman, Robin or any of the Bat family to.
I’m sad to say this story is rather unfriendly to new readers. While it’s clear that Spoiler recently had a less than amicable split from her former teammates and Batman, that’s about all I can put together. I get that it’s a set up issue, but that doesn’t give a free pass to the writing team. Hopefully things improve from here, otherwise it’s not a story I’ll recommend to anyone.