I’ve heard many people say that Mob Boss doesn’t really suit Selina.  But let us not forget that she wasn’t always a cat burglar:  while a thief from her very first appearance, she didn’t rely on the skills she uses today but those of a master of disguise, carrying out her heists through deception and trickery.  In the beginning, she was more of a mastermind than a skilled thief and, when the job called for it, would employ others to carry out her plans.  This gang boss element of her character can be seen as early as Batman #10 (1942).  So, while it has been an element that has been absent from the character for decades, I have seen her play it before and  I, for one, welcome a return to this side of her, and look forward to seeing it again.

Tim Seeley does a fantastic job with this week’s script.  I feel like the entire gamut of emotions were set forth for us to dive into.  Humor, loss, fear, anger…they all make an appearance and each seem quite genuine in their portrayal.   I especially enjoyed the humor!  While not all the jokes will necessarily be funny to everyone involved, they were still there, along with situations that, while on the surface aren’t amusing, would be amusing to hear in a recounted tale once out of the situation.  My favorite was Catwoman pulling a reverse Andy Dufresne.  Catwoman also ends up having a conversation that not only sheds some light on past scenes and where the future might lead us, but also manages to be heartfelt, even if she won’t recognize it as such at the moment.

I was also quite pleased with how well he balanced the numerous story lines that can turn Eternal into a juggling act.  Even though we had four “check-ins” in this issue, they ended up being not much more than a panel or half a page for one of them.  Keeping them so short allowed for the majority of the book to focus on two story arcs alone.  In addition to that, three of those “check-in” scenes flowed much more naturally here than in the past due to the fact that they were being explained to someone in the story as opposed to cutting away from the story at hand to go somewhere else.  There was really only one small issue I had with the writing this week and it is in regards to the way Tiger Shark was introduced:  while he is being introduced to the people in the room with him, I felt like the speech was direct more towards the reader as we were being told all of the things he had done that would cause Catwoman to hate him.  It felt to me like a set up for when the two would eventually clash in a future issue, so we would have a better sense of why this would be a greater victory for Catwoman: not only would she be taking out a fellow competitor, she would actually be defeating something that she holds to be personally important.  It seemed a little telegraphed in its’ delivery.

We’re back to Dustin Nguyen for art, but instead of going into detail about how accomplished Dustin is and making you read a bunch of stuff that would just be reiterations from previous articles about his talent, I’ll just point out my nitpicks this time.  I think Dustin draws animals in a peculiar way.  Having just reread Heart of Hush (where he renders a somewhat questionable lion) and now with this issue’s animals a plenty, I’m even more sure of it.  It’s not that I can’t tell what he is drawing, they just look more like caricatures of themselves than actual animals.  I’m not saying they don’t look good but they don’t really follow suit with the manner in which the rest of his work is presented.  I also don’t think that the shot of Catwoman on the splash page is all that flattering, but that might just be me.

The cover of this issue was done by Fabok and Anderson, and while very simple, there is something about the composition that I find very pleasing to the eye.  On first view, I thought she was just falling upside down.  My eye was drawn to Catwoman and I didn’t notice the guns as they are more stylized than realistically depicted, so I mistook the bullet lines for motion lines of her speed as she fell.  Now I can see her doing a back flip to avoid gunfire.  Or perhaps diving backwards off a roof as the gunmen try to shoot her as she falls.  The lines playing double duty as bullet and motion lines.  Either way, every time I look at it I see it in a different way and I find that very engaging.

Spoiler

  • Hey!…it’s Croc.  I really thought we had seen the last of him.
  • Did Jade just make a prison rape joke?
  • Yay!  They are drawing Leslie with grayer hair instead of jet black.  That’s right!  She is supposed to be old….remember DC.
  • hmmm…the dread pirate…Roberts?
  • That was too easy for the Architect to escape…why didn’t Batman just snag him with his grapple gun or something?
  • I feel sorry for that guy that Hush decided to yell at.  The man just survived an earthquake and then some freak in a trench coat and bandages starts yelling at him for no reason.  Although, if he hadn’t just been desensitized by the quake, the encounter with Hush would probably have been even more freaky for him.
  • So, we have earthquakes and martial law.  Let us welcome Cataclysm and No Man’s Land to Batman Eternal.

Interesting Facts:

  • Two weeks ago I recommended everyone to read Gates of Gotham, but last week I didn’t bring it up again in the interesting facts section.  This section is for calling attention to things that people might not be aware of and I realized, after telling you to read the comic, that there was nothing left to say about Zachary Gates since everything about the character is contained in that book and I had no desire to be redundant.  I do, however, have some interesting facts that relate to Gates of Gotham. 
  • In Gates of Gotham, the father of Alan Wayne (Judge Solomon Zebediah Wayne) and Cyrus Pinkney (the architect who Nicholas Anders is emulating) are mentioned, but nothing in depth is ever brought up about them.  The reason for that is because their backgrounds were featured in a 3 part Batman story from 1992 called Destroyer (Batman #474, Legends of the Dark Knight #27, Detective Comics #641).  In it, The Destroyer (Andre Sinclair) has become obsessed with Pinkney’s work and demolishes 4 building so that the “boring” buildings no longer block the view of the master works that Pinkney created.  What I found interesting is that Sinclair and Zachary Gate had two completely different approaches in their stories: Sinclair wanting to show off the art of these old structures while Gate, being deprived of the fame and fortune that was robbed from his ancestor, chose to destroy them, and steal from the people of Gotham these architectural beauties which they were not worthy of.  While I loved Gates of Gotham, I didn’t necessarily feel that Zachary was all that interesting of a character (even Batman says he is nothing without his family name).  The real star of that story, in my opinion, was Nicholas Anders and the tale that unfolded with him and the 4 founding fathers of Gotham (Alan Wayne, Edward Elliot, Theodore Cobblepot, and Cameron Kane).
  • Another interesting piece that came out of Destroyer was the collaboration with Anton Furst.  Furst was the production designer for a little movie from 1989 called Batman.  So now, not only did he design the Gothic architecture for the movie but was also responsible for designing several areas and buildings for use in Destroyer.  His work was so influential that 22 years later I am still seeing his designs and buildings implemented in the comics.  I guess when you have an Academy Award winner design you some stuff, it would be silly to get rid of it in exchange for something lesser.

Just for Fun:

  • Two weeks ago I visited Austin, Texas.  That’s nice Brandon, but what does that have to do with Batman?  Well…did you know that there is a colony of 1.5 million bats that make their home under the Congress Avenue Bridge?  Every night at dusk the entire colony wakes and goes out to hunt.  It is quite a sight!  Since it is such a tourist attraction, people coming out nightly to watch the event, the surrounding area is filled with bat related stuff.  Like the Bat Bar on 6th street (pic on my twitter).  I was going to post video of the Bats but mine didn’t turn out so good.  If you want to see other footage of it just check YouTube and search for Congress Avenue bats.  Or… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWTx3wl1XMc and this one shows a huge swarm https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F6GlUhK9hSs .

Recommended if…

  • You want to know what is up between Catwoman and Rex…or if you just want to see how, what you already figured out, plays out.
  • You’ve been wondering about some of the other story lines we haven’t seen in a while and would be happy for a check in.
  • You’re a fan of the Feline Fatale.

Overall:

We’re given another “set-up” episode, but unlike some of the previous ones, this issue still manages to be entertaining at the same time.  We also get treated to a surprise, or not, depending on how close you’ve been paying attention and potentially the inclusion of some repurposed pre-New52 stories!

SCORE: 8/10