This issue is quite a shock both in it’s tone and visual style.  In the industry it is as common as it is uncommon for a cover artist to also contribute to the inside of an issue.  While there is nothing wrong with having different artists doing different duties it can be quite a shock picking up an issue with a certain kind of art on the front and being presented with something completely different on the inside.  This is not to say that one is better than the other just that the cover raises expectations that are not met.  It’s like picking up a quart of oil for your car only to find it filled with mouthwash!  Both are useful products in their own right but hardly interchangeable.

The art is somehow reminiscent of the work done by Frank Quitely.  Perhaps a better move would have been for him to have done the cover.  Then it would not have been such a departure.  Cover aside, the art also does not fit well with what we have been presented with throughout the rest of Eternal.  We have been shown art that is attempting to replicate a realistic world.  The work of Ian Bertram is anything but that.  His work seems to be aware of the fact that it is a cartoon and embraces it, one image actually shows someone sitting on the base line of one of the panels.  The pencil work is very dense so even though it has a cartoony feeling to it there is plenty of textural detail that is usually absent from typical superhero comic art.  The body types that he uses also vary from character to character and it is nice to see this.  Most characters in comics tend to have a stereotypical perfect body.  Bertram has on display here, body types that are much closer in proximity to what you actually find in the real world.  Perhaps a woman might have a small waist line but thicker thighs or a man with a well developed upper body but dinky calves.

The fact that the art is not realistic is not a failing of the artist.  It is a conscious choice that he is making.  Choosing to be symbolic at times rather than realistic.  This is the kind of work that I would expect to find in an independent comic.  Pieces that are actively trying to break the mold and not conform to the format that has been adapted by the majority of publishers.  While it seems out of place in the bigger picture that Eternal has painted for us it is by no means bad in and of itself.

The visual style of the artist may be influencing the writers here for this is also a tonal departure from Eternal as well.  There is a great bit of humor present.  Almost as if we had been watching an action/drama up till now and were suddenly thrust into a comedy, for the Batgirl portion at least.  Perhaps it might be more apropo to say that these sections are soap operaesque instead.  If anyone has seen a clip of a Spanish soap opera they tend to be even more outlandish than the American ones.  The exposition that Gonzolo and others spout would usually be mocked in a regular story but it is practically expected in a Spanish soap.

This particular installment of Eternal features four different story lines.  Batgirl’s taking up half the issue and the other three taking up the rest.  This is unfortunate as the other arcs were more interesting than what we were presented with in the Batgirl portion.  The other three had some great character interactions with real emotional weight.  It is a real shift within the comic itself when we are shown moments of frivolity intercut with bleak introspection.  Both Alfred and Stephanie have some great moments and their characters feel very well defined.  There is a comment made about Batgirl being hot headed because of what is going on with her dad but I would have to disagree and say that Barbara has been hot headed since the New52 started and she stopped being Oracle.

Cameo Counter: 4

El Gaucho, Starfire, Scorpiana, and Red Hood.  Three of them only show up in one panel each.

Interesting Facts

  • An all persons fictitious disclaimer is a disclaimer in which a work of media states that all persons portrayed in it are fictitious. This is done to reduce the possibility of legal action for libel from any person who believes that he or she has been libeled via their portrayal in the work.  This disclaimer usually appears like this:All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Why do I bring this up.  Dr. Mangaritvite is a real plastic surgeon from South America.  Don’t believe me, look it up.

  • All four story lines in this issue are about Fathers and we just celebrated Father’s Day 3 days ago.

Recommended If…

  • Your a fan of Alfred Pennyworth and Stephanie Brown.
  • Your open to some good but unusual art.
  • You feel that Batman Eternal has been lacking in the humor department.

Overall

You can’t judge this book by it’s cover so your just going to have to check this one out and decide for your self.  I can see some people loving it and others hating it.

SCORE: 6.5/10