SPOILER ALERT: The following article details many of the key moments in "Batman" #28, on sale today. Do not proceed unless you want to spoil the issue.
When "Batman" writer Scott Snyder promised a spoiler-filled issue for "Batman" #28 that took place six months in the future back in December, it was impossible to predict what kind of surprises the writer had in store. Well, the wait is over, and true to his word, Snyder -- along with co-writer James Tynion IV and artists Dustin Nguyen and Derek Fridolfs -- delivered with an issue so packed full of answers that the biggest mysteries were the questions it raised.
"'Batman' #28 is essentially intermission, and instead of coming back to the present with issue #28 and showing you what's happening right now currently in 'Forever Evil,' we thought we'd show you all the fun stuff that's coming up later in the year in 2014 in 'Batman.' #28 is like a complete spoiler issue because it goes so far ahead and sort of gives away so much of some of the bigger surprises coming in the year," Snyder said in this week's installment of DC All Access. "If it had been an issue in 'Batman Eternal,' it would be issue #39.5. It really is what's going to happen and we know how it's going to happen and what's coming after it, I promise."
Check out the biggest surprises from the the New Gotham world order below, and the head over to the forums to help us speculate, ask questions and try to get some answers from the future-shifted issue.
DON'T CALL HER NIGHTWING
When Snyder introduced Harper Row in the pages of "Batman," fans were pretty sure that she'd play a larger role in Batman's world -- especially given the death of Damian Wayne, and Batman's need for a new sidekick. Indeed, fans' suspicions were confirmed in the pages of "Batman" #28 as Harper is working with Batman in the fallout of "Batman Eternal" -- but not as Robin, nor as Nightwing as many hypothesized based on Dustin Nguyen's character design in December. No, Harper has her own identity: Bluebird, whose costume seems to be equal homage to Nightwing and Robin with Harper's own style thrown in. Plus, she's got guns.
THE NEW ALFRED OR THE NEW ORACLE?
Someone's manning the Batcave computer during "Batman" #28, and it's not Alfred. In fact, it doesn't look like anyone that usually spends time in the Batcave -- not Tim Drake, Dick Grayson or Barbara Gordon. Plus, they're clearly unfamiliar with the tech. Who else has Batman recruited for his current mission in "Batman Eternal?" Where's the rest of the family.
That said, my money's on the recently-introduced Carrie Kelly as Batman's new tech specialist. The silhouette seems to fit, and there's always room for another red-headed tech specialist on the Bat-team. New Oracle, anybody?
SELINA KYLE, QUEEN OF GOTHAM
The Gotham Underworld apparently collapses sometime during "Batman Eternal," and one person steps up to pick up the pieces: Selina Kyle. She's the Kingpin of Gotham now, running the last nightclub in New Gotham. Plus, something happened to drive a wedge between her and Batman -- either way, this is a much more villainous and cold Selina than her current incarnation. It's anybody's guess whose side she's actually on, but given the power she seems to wield in New Gotham, whichever side she's on is likely the one that's winning.
THE GREATEST SPOILER OF ALL
Snyder wasn't kidding in his initial announcement of "Batman" #28 that it would be a "Spoiler" issue. Intentional or not, Snyder's words clearly had a double meaning, as the writer gave fans what they've been asking for since the New 52 began: the final page of the issue featured Stephanie Brown -- AKA Spoiler -- as the treasure in Selina Kyle's vault. Best of all, she's clearly the Stephanie that fans remember and love, clad in her classic Spoiler suit -- and she's apparently the key to the whole situation Gotham is in.