Writer: Bill Willingham
Artist: Damion Scott
Publisher: D.C. Comics
Stephanie makes for an engaging Robin, though thanks to events in this issue her stint doesn't look to be lasting much longer, as Batman makes it clear in the final pages that he was quite serious when he stated his willingness to accept her as his sidekick hinged upon her ability to follow his orders. However, this issue has some goofy elements that I felt didn't quite work, like the decision by Batman to suit up in a bulky, cumbersome looking suit of battle armor to take on an opponent who managed to impress upon them in an earlier battle that she was extremely fast, and highly mobile. The issue also makes it a little too clear that Stephanie is a little too eager to rush into dangerous situations, and while this is nicely keeping with her character, it makes Batman look a bit slow on the uptake that he's given many signs that she is prone to this behaviour and yet he didn't take steps to reign her in, and let her know that she was putting them both in danger.
Instead his solution in the final pages feels like he's making a colossal mistake, as given he's supposed to be a genius when it comes to predicting a person's next move, he should have a pretty clear idea of how Stephanie is going to react. Still, the issue does earn marks for making Stephanie into her own character as her upbeat nature makes for a fun contrast to the grim and gritty Batman, and if I may be so bold, I think this clash of personalities makes for a more enjoyable partnership that Tim provided, as I always got the sense that Tim was never a sidekick, but rather his own hero. The big, bad villain of the story also gets a fun moment where she reacts to Stephanie's rain of ineffectual attacks.
Damion Scott has a style that stands out from the crowd, and while I have some concerns about the clarity of the action, I can't deny that the art does have a nice high energy feel to it that makes even the most ordinary of action shots into something exciting. I also have to give credit to the character design of the new villain, as she looks quite dangerous, and her speed is nicely reflected in the way that she is able to lay into our heroes. The art also manages to nicely convey the shift in moods that plays out on the final page as Stephanie goes from cheerful, to emotionally crushed, all within the span of a single page.
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