One down, fifty-one more to go.
The all-new weekly series Batman Eternal by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Ray Fawkes, John Layman, Tim Seeley, Jason Fabok, and other talented creators begins in big, blockbuster fashion with an action-packed issue that devotes more time toward the GCPD than the titular Dark Knight. Fans of last year’s Detective Comics will be especially pleased by the return of artist Jason Fabok, who gets the opportunity to draw some spectacular action scenes that make use of a villain who hasn’t become a household name just yet and a suit of armor that’s only as new as the New 52.
While it’s fun to see 2012’s Owl Buster Armor (I’ve always called it that and am livid that it hasn’t caught on) and that the writers have finally honed in on the voice of the deranged Professor Pyg, the big hero vs. villain confrontation isn’t what most fans will likely be talking about when their through with issue #1. While we have been teased about Batman Eternal’s storyline since the New York Comic Con, again on Thanksgiving (or “Batsgiving” as it was called), and once more in Batman #28, Batman Eternal #1 itself feels like yet another teaser for what’s to come from the weekly series. When I finished the book, I still didn’t feel like we ever really got started yet and I think a big part of that is all of the over-hype for this series and I was left with all the same questions I had weeks ago. The publisher pretty much spoiled all of the main plot elements of this chapter either through the “Channel 52 News” segment at the back of each comic released last Wednesday or the several-page long preview that was released a few weeks before that. After issue #1, the main topics of discussion will be “Who is the big bad?” Who is the person who sets Gotham on fire in page one’s flashback? And “What will become of Jim Gordon?”
While issue #1 won’t hold many surprises for fans who eat-up every bit of Batman comic news they can get their hands on, it does offer fantastic action and serve as a great issue for Gordon, the GCPD, and a nice New 52 debut for Jason Bard. However, the opening voice over didn’t sit right with me. The writers tried to work in some description of the city into Bard’s phone conversation where he described some advice that (I assume) Gordon gave him before being recruited to the GCPD which distills down to “Gotham is bright so wear your sunglasses at night.” What? Even stranger, the night-time shades were supposedly the first thing he was told about before being asked if he was sure he was ready to move to the most dangerous city in the land. Those two pages were the most clunky and odd, but everything that followed flowed well.
In the end I think this was a solid start for Batman Eternal and I’m looking forward to next week, but I was hoping for at least some sort of curveball to be thrown my way, but instead the previews and barrage of publicity already gave away everything issue #1 had to offer. If you sheltered yourself from all of that then I think you’re in for a thrilling ride with chapter 01.
More notes can be found in the spoiler tags below:
- You’re in it for the long-haul. This is a big storyline that will have a new chapter every week!
- Jason Fabok is one of your favorite Batman artists
- Jim Gordon and the GCPD getting some attention sounds like a step in the right direction
- Professor Pyg is an entertaining villain in your book. The writers actually did a fairly decent job of capturing his deranged, nonsensical speech in this issue
- Action is what you’re in the market for. Batman Eternal hits the ground running
- You didn’t already read the preview pages or the “Channel 52 News” segment included with every DC comic last week. If you read those then every single major story element has already been spoiled for you and you could probably save $3 bucks and wait until next week if your wallet is already feeling light
It’s a good first issue with more than enough action and Jim Gordon to satisfy many, but if you already read the preview pages that DC put out a few weeks ago and the “Channel 52 News” segment at the back of every comic published last week then Batman Eternal #1 will hold no surprises for you. However, if the series as a whole can maintain this level of quality from week-to-week it will definitely be a must for every Batman fan’s pull list.