Personally, I’ve always felt that Jason delivered his most worthwhile contribution upon dying.  His death sent ripples through the DC Universe that are still felt to this day.  While I was worried that bringing him back from the dead might make the relevance of his death less impactful, I figured that if it was handled well, it might be worth it. In my opinion, there have been few instances that have justified his resurrection, but I am happy to say that this is one of them.

I was ecstatic to see that the Jason/Batgirl confrontation didn’t devolve into your typical hero vs hero fight, but instead the writers found a way to turn it into so much more ( Jason backpedaling while trying to reach her emotionally).  Going into this, I was expecting a very Batgirl centric story and was surprised to find out that it revolved quite heavily around Jason.  And while Jason would occasionally do the “wrong” thing, he was always doing it with good intentions.  This story highlights that, deep down, Jason is actually a very good person and it made me feel slightly guilty for always giving his character such a hard time.  I felt even worse for him upon discovering that one of his cherished memories involves personal belittlement: it says a lot about his character and helps you empathize with him.  Aside from that, we are treated to the typical Jason quips that have made the character endearing to so many, along with a healthy dose of action.

We get less of Batman this time, as the issue focuses on the aforementioned Batgirl/Red Hood confrontation, but the scenes with Bard, Bats, and Croc are just as enjoyable as those delivered last time around.  I was also happy to see that the mystical elements of the story are getting explained through science… made up comic book science… but science nonetheless.  Elsewhere in the story, we also receive a potential explanation on the gun that landed Gordon in jail (for those of you who are only satisfied when things get figured out).

When I first opened the issue, I was sad to see that Andy Clarke was already gone.  It didn’t take me to0 long to adjust, however, because Emanuel Simeoni is a very good artist in his own right and I found several of his page layouts to be quite nice, especially the one on page 2 and 3.  The way it was setup really helped guide your eye through the scene.  I also liked the quiet tension he added in the scene where Bard discovers the abandoned vests; the way he started to draw his gun in uncertainty and replaces it when he discovers it isn’t called for.  In the Barbara scenes, whenever we see her POV, we get a nice blood splatter effect in the gutters around the panels.  It was a nice visual cue that what we are seeing isn’t real and that it is part of her hallucination.  In addition, the red color highlights the rage that she is feeling in this issue (which isn’t that far removed from the fiery attitude she has had since the start of the New52).  Simeoni’s attention to detail in the prison riot scene was noteworthy as well, specifically on Warden Zorbatos:  you could see all the cuts, bruises, and blood splatters that had resulted from her encounter and even though we don’t get to see it on panel, the detail that is rendered on her, shows just how crazy it must have been.  The only negative critique I had were some occasions of excessive shadowing.  At times it was so heavy and the strokes so large that it felt like it was placed with a piece of charcoal.

I’m bringing this one to the attention of the editors, Matt Humphreys and Chris Conroy:  there is an ad between page 4 and 5 that throws off the flow of the rest of the comic.  If it had been moved elsewhere, then pages that dealt with each other would have been across from one another as opposed to being on the next page from each other.  Also there is a typo on page 13.  I’m guessing they meant, “Handsome as a baboon’s ass.”  Not, “Handsome a a baboon’s ass.”

Spoiler

  • At what point did Batman get the info he is referring to from Batwing and Corrigan?  Was it off panel or am I forgetting something?
  • On page 4, panel 4 I got the impression that Bard was running off to be sick from the way he was covering his face.  Like, he went over there to do it away from the other guys so he didn’t seem weak in front of them and that is when he found the vests.
  • Dead inmates huh?  Sounds like that issue Warden Zorbatos was having with overcrowding is taking care of itself.
  • The last time we saw Red Robin, he didn’t trust Sergei, now they are chatting with each other about Harper’s training as if they are old chums and he needs sagely advice about the matter?  Plus, she is kind of a jerk to him, why would he choose to train her?
  • Just a minor gripe, last issue ended with Batgirl attacking Red Hood and Batwoman.  This issue begins with them just standing around and Batgirl even lets them chat to each other for a moment before attacking.  Once she gets started she is pretty relentless but I expected her to be all gung-ho from the start.
  • Bee Gee.  I kinda like that as a nickname for Batgirl.  I may start using it.

Interesting Facts:

  • Jason Todd first appeared in Batman #357 (1983).  Why does that seem familiar, because I have mentioned that issue in two other reviews last week. Turns out this issue is very important when you consider that it introduced not only Todd, but Croc and The Squid.  At the time Richard was growing up and moving on in the world so the writers needed a new Robin.  This version of the character ended up being very similar to Richard in most respects (the writers were probably nervous about rocking the boat and all).  He came from the circus and his parents ended up being killed by Killer Croc (He was also blonde!).  After the Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985) his backstory was changed to the one we know today, when, he was re-introduced in Batman #408 (1987) as a kid living on the mean streets.  A year later he met his end at the hands of the Joker in A Death in the Family (1988).  In a comic book world where death has come to be meaningless, Todd’s actually meant something.  For the longest time there was finality to it, as Todd actually stayed dead for 15 years.
  • Jervis Tetch (The Mad Hatter) first appeared in Batman #49 (1948).  Then, poor Jervis doesn’t appear for 34 years, showing up in Detective Comics #510.  It is yet another year before we finally see him use the mind control device that he is so synonymous with.
  • In case you missed the review and want info on The Ten-Eyed Man (Philip Reardon), it can be found in my Eternal #15 review.
  • Jonathan Crane’s (Scarecrow) past to be explored in an upcoming Eternal review.  I’m not saying when cause that would spoil things.
  • Jack Boone is a character from Batman and Robin #23.4, the Killer Croc #1 from villains month last year.  In the story Croc ended up killing Jack.

Recommended if…

  • You want to hang every one of those Alex Garner covers on your wall.
  • You want to see a heartfelt moment with Red Hood.
  • You enjoyed the Batman sections of last issue and were looking for more of it.

Overall:

Tim Seeley is doing a bang up job on his run of Eternal.  This issue is only slightly less enjoyable than the last outing and we learn quite a few pieces of information that move the plot along.  However, the real surprise of this issue is scene stealer Red Hood.  If you’re a fan of the character you definitely don’t want to pass this one up.

SCORE:  8.5/10