When presenting a story to an audience there are several routes one can utilize in order to deliver it. The route I prefer is through the eyes of the main character. When applying this method to Batman it works strongest in conjunction with a mystery tale. You follow the Dark Knight as he makes his discoveries, so they become your discoveries likewise. You live the tale through him. This is not one of those tales. Since there are several perspectives and we are shown some, even if not all, of what the bad guys are doing it loses its sense of wonder when we see Batman make connections, connections that as the reader we have already been privileged to. We aren’t waiting to see whodunnit, merely waiting to see how Batman will figure it out what we already know.
This particular issue has two scenes in it that are nothing but reiteration through dialogue of events that have already occurred. This is not, in truth, such an odd scenario for comics to resort to as they are most accustomed to their tales having month long gaps between issues. Seeing as how this particular series is weekly we are not in need of a refresher to keep us up to date with current goings on. We don’t have a months worth of activities competing with our remembrance of what occurred in the last issue of Batman. So, not only is it strange to see Batman trying to figure out what we already know but it is also annoying that the issue is wasting pages trying to remind us of where we left off when we don’t need it to.
One of the more enjoyable elements of this particular issue is Batman as the intimidator. Seeing him laying pressure on the criminal underworld and threatening low life thugs is actually quite a delight. While Forbes is unwilling to arrest individuals Batman has bundled up for him, there is a temporary solution to the problem that Batman could appropriate. It would be slightly more brutal than Batman’s usual response to henchmen but if he broke a few limbs and put more people in the hospital for longer then it wouldn’t matter that they weren’t in jail cause they would still be out of commission. Such an act might also make these criminals think twice about “going back to work”.
We find out that in his absence from Gotham, Falcone had a successful organization in Hong Kong. Makes one wonder why he would bother coming back to Gotham where he was bound to meet so much opposition. I understand that he has a score to settle and that he is arrogant in his belief that he can beat Batman this time but his pride is going to get the better of him. Should have been happy with what he had! I’m sure being the crime boss of Hong Kong is nothing to look down on.
- Tiger Shark has been a Batman character since May of 1949. While not seeing much action in the actual comics it is noteworthy that he also appeared on Batman: The Brave and The Bold three years ago. In both of these incarnations he was depicted wearing a wetsuit with orange and black stripes on it to mimic the appearance of a jungle tiger. To my knowledge his first appearance in the New52 was in Batman # 12. Both in Batman and in the last issue of Eternal we see him with a tiger, to remind us of his villainous colors, as opposed to seeing him wear the wetsuit. We also see him sticking with his criminal motif in that in both issues his involvement is in some way associated with water.
- I find two oddities in the fact that Tiger Shark is working for Falcone. First, while it would make sense to see him working for Falcone as a weapon supplier since one of his criminal activities is smuggling, that is not what we are presented with: we see him doing odd jobs for Falcone which is more Henchmen work. Tiger Shark has his own henchmen and criminal gang so it is weird to see him acting as a henchmen. Second, Tiger Shark may look respectable now but he was once and still is a “mask”, and a smart mask to boot. Seeing as how Falcone already screwed over one mask (Professor Pyg), blew up another one’s house (Penguin), and totally hates masks for taking Gotham from him; I wouldn’t imagine it too hard for Shark to believe that he might be next.
- A few months ago Andrew Asberry kindly asked DC to leave the Bat-Signal alone. I’m sorry to be the one to have to tell you this but, they didn’t listen. Although the way in which they did it was a nice nod to The Dark Knight. Interesting too is the inclusion of Hong Kong, which was also from that movie. Another element of this issue which reminded me of something else was the rooftop fight. For those that have read The Dark Knight Returns Book Three, Hunt the Dark Knight by Frank Miller you know what I am talking about. For those who haven’t, consider this your homework.
- At one point Batman tells Alfred that a handful of allies is not enough. That’s funny because I recall a point in the Caped Crusader’s career when he was going it alone and he was doing just fine. Eventually he included Gordon among his allies and that was just one guy on the GCPD. Certainly a handful could be more useful than just one. Batman, always the pessimist.
- You like seeing Batman make low life thugs wet themselves out of fear.
- You like watching Batman make fools out of the GCPD.
- Montages of Batman beating down random thugs appeals to you.
Batman is intimidating as hell in this issue and that is always fun to see. Remember criminals are a superstitious and cowardly lot. Emphasis on the cowardly in this instance.