|Batman Eternal #52|
|April 1, 2015|
|Written by||James Tynion IV, story by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, consulting writers Ray Fawkes, Kyle Higgins, Tim Seeley|
|Cover by||Jae Lee, June Chung, variant by Andy Kubert, Brad Anderson|
|Interior Art by||Eduardo Pansica, Julio Ferreira, Robson Rocha, Guillermo Ortego, David Lafuente, Tim Seeley, Ray Fawkes|
|Colored by||Allen Passalaqua, Gabe Eltaeb, John Kalisz, John Rauch|
|Lettering by||Steve Wands|
|Edited by||Dave Wielgosz, Chris Conroy, Mark Doyle|
|Previous Issue||Batman Eternal #51|
|Next Issue||Detective Comics: Endgame #1|
Summary of Stephness: Flashing back to many months ago during the Night of Owls, Arthur Brown is on the phone with Stephanie who insists she is fine by herself, as she is a teenager. She also comments on how Batman will save her, just like he saved Arthur in BATMAN ETERNAL 11. He is angry that his own child admires the man who frustrated his career of crime, and hangs up as he searches for the Court of Owls.
In the present time: After uncharacteristically giving up like a punk in the last issue, Steph is leaving on her bike when she looks up and sees Gordon's huge array of Batsignals crossing the sky, and hears his call for everyone to be Batman. She dismounts and looks around, and is saved from being hit by a car by a young African-American guy. The guy says that she must be one of Them, and They've done so much already that it's the people's turn to save the city.
Bruce is close to death as Lincoln March stands over him, but a bucket of water hits Lincoln in the head. Disoriented, he asks, "Who?", and Steph reminds him that he should remember her. She then punches him mightily with a cry of, "I'M BATMAN." March growls that he should have killed Steph back in her father's kitchen, and Steph responds that he's probably right, as a huge array of citizens and vigilantes have come to capture or kill him.
One week later, in the Narrows, Steph is living with Cullen and Harper. Cullen is playing with her mask, and she beats him down. Harper is amused and goes into her own room, where Red Robin slips in through the window. She complains that Steph tried to set up a chore wheel, and that Steph already has Cullen on her side. Red Robin asks about Steph's emotional state, and Harper tells him that Steph just got back from the morgue to identify her father's body, and her mother has skipped town. Even though Harper had been afraid of losing Cullen, she admires Steph for standing up and fighting even though she did lose her mother and father. Tim says she must be coming around on Steph, and Harper agrees.
As they hug, Steph pokes her head in and jokes that Harper has been hiding the Batkids in her room. Harper introduces Red Robin, and threatens Steph's face if she doesn't learn to knock. Steph and Tim shake hands, and share a moment of smiles. As Steph glances down a bit bashfully, Harper coughs meaningfully, and Tim awkwardly makes excuses to escape. Harper teases him some more, and Tim whispers "Shutup. Shutup. Shutup." Steph interrupts and asks if the Batfamily has found the man who killed her father, and Tim responds that they found his suit, but someone else must have gotten him.
Behind the scenes: At Baltimore Comic Con 2016, James Tynion told our intrepid reporter that there was at least one cut epilogue from this issue, in which Crystal Brown takes on the mask of the Cluemaster. He didn't know if he'd be able to use that plot thread anytime soon in Detective Comics, but did mention that Batman's comment about Steph being raised by two verifiable geniuses in #934 was referring to this concept.
Dave Lafuente provided the art for Stephanie's scenes in the epilogue, which makes him one of the most prominent Steph artists in the n52 era, having drawn Steph in Batman Eternal #43, this issue, and Batgirl Annual #3. He posted the layouts and pencils for the pages on his twitter, including the panel where Steph and Tim stare at each other with a tiny Batman and heart between them that didn't make it into the final page. :)