It’s Stephanie Brown Vs Arthur Brown in a motorbike race to the end! Meanwhile, ghosts are terrorising pop-art installations, so let’s hope Batman brought his ghost-catching equipment! All this plus some searing wrenchwork – it’s Batman Eternal #24!
Writer: Ray Fawkes
Consulting Writers: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Kyle Higgins and Tim Seeley
Artist: Andy Clarke
Letterers: Steve Wands
Cluemaster is playing around with his tools in a garage when this issue of Batman Eternal starts, so already we’re guaranteed a great issue. “You control the shape of the board and you got the whole match in the bag”, he says, although the person he’s talking to doesn’t have much interest in that sort of thing. His companion seems to think it’s hard to have control of the board when your daughter is posting on forums about exactly what’s going on, in great detail, and you have to admit Sun Tzu never accounted for that when he was writing down his great strategies.
Stephanie is watching right now, in fact, and remembering the great times she used to have with her dad like… the time she broke her arm doing stunts on her bike and he yelled at her. If that’s your best memory, you’re best off without him. Steph is waiting for the other guy – who is clearly Hush, FYI – to step out so she can see him properly, as though it’s hard to tell the identity of the dude wearing a bunch of loose bandages wrapped round his head in Gotham. Cluemaster has his team arranging “the board” for Hush, which here means playing around with traffic lights and the water supply to deliberately annoy the people of Gotham.
Ratcatcher (who is wearing dungarees in the sewers, ew) has started to “introduce pathogens” into the water supply, whilst Prankster has been setting up power cuts to hit the city just as major sports games and events start on TV. The only thing they’ve forgotten to do is take out Instagram, although maybe they’ll get Mirror Master to deal with that in due course. We’ve no real idea why the criminals want to frustrate the civilians of Gotham, but it looks like riots might be coming soon. Cluemaster is also working on something within the GCDP, although Hush tells him not to bother with that one anymore. His jobs now are a.) minorly inconvenience Gotham and b.) kill your daughter already. Business as usual for Cluemaster, then.
Over at an art gallery, Batman is looking dismayed at having to fight another ghost thing. This bright yellow, electric-dude is wandering round, and kills at the touch. The first thing it does is touch Batman on the arm, although of course he doesn’t die – he’s not like these normies, who foolishly forgot to prepare themselves against ectoplasm. He slices it open with Nth metal and it evaporates just like the other ghosts. As he does so, a random dude falls to the ground, possibly dead, and Batman recognises him as one of the Arkham guards. That prompts him to try and get in touch with Batwing (finally!), but there’s no response.
There’s a splash page as Batman realises something has gone wrong at the Asylum, and in the background is what looks like a magic eye painting. I can’t do magic eye pictures! The CBR forums say that it shows the Bat-Signal, which would probably make sense. Let me know if you know!
Three hours later, Stephanie jumps down from the ceiling and decides she’s given up on her dad. He’s gone “too far”, which is harsh if you consider that all he’s done is rig a few traffic lights and annoy a few football fans. It’s less harsh if you consider all those murder attempts, though. Turns out that daddy was waiting for her, though, and he throws a smoke canister at her whilst she’s in the middle of reminiscing. He wants her to join him and become “The Pointer”, which is a clever and awful name for a sidekick. She refuses, throwing a wrench at him for good measure, ow.
She drives off on his bike and he follows on his… other bike. They dodge in and out of traffic, and all the while he’s lobbing bombs and stuff at her. Steph is slightly worried, but not so worried that she doesn’t take a moment to make a quick phone call whilst driving (typical American). Dad catches up to her and uses a canister which… has nails sticking out of it… to take out her front wheel. What purpose does that canister usually have? She pushes him out the way and his bike crashes. Before her bike explodes, she hits a ramp and flies off to a bridge, grabbing the railings by the nick of her teeth. Just like the stunt she tried in the flashback!
The police are on the scene and they surround Cluemaster, as Stephanie taunts him and says she set him up. Cluemaster says he’ll escape, because he owns the GCPD – prompting the police to point out that their chase actually took them six miles OUTSIDE of Gotham… so he’s got no way of escaping this one. Pretty smart, actually, and it’s nice to finally see Stephanie Brown get a win. Does this mean the traffic lights of Gotham are finally safe? Fingers crossed!
28 issues to go!
Steve Morris runs this site! Having previously written for sites including The Beat, ComicsAlliance, CBR and The MNT, he can be found on Twitter here. He’s a bunny.
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