In my opinion, the Arkham issues are the red headed stepchild of Batman Eternal, and I wish I could kick his teeth in…  I usually try and find something positive to discuss, even in issues that I don’t appreciate as much, and I can usually put my personal feelings aside and review strictly from a technical aspect.  Sometimes I tackle my review by sharing, not necessarily what happened in a given story, but by how it made me feel or the related thoughts it generated.  Today is not one of those occasions.  This issue is not deserving of an in depth analysis; it deserves a synopsis…at best.  The rest of this “review” is nothing but spoilers so don’t read anymore if you want to go into the issue spoiler free.

Hush:  His brief appearance may be the only relevant thing to happen in this whole story.  We only see him for three panels but those panels speak loads.  Apparently Batman has hidden safes/vaults around Gotham where he keeps extra supplies, just in case he runs out and needs someplace to restock in an emergency situation.  Hush is seen booby trapping one of them with explosives, which leads me to believe he is doing it to others as well.

Batman:   GCPD is about to mow down some Gotham citizens who are rioting in the streets when Batman intervenes and takes out two police helicopters like it was nothing.  This is the one other element of the issue that is actually descent.  However, the scene involves Batman having an epiphany about the fact that everything that has been happening  is all connected:  the dirty cops, street riots, nano swarms in the narrows, and the Arkham stuff all are connected somehow with Hush….. Wait?! HOW…WHY!?!?!  Didn’t he literally learned about the Arkham stuff only seconds ago!  That isn’t detective work, that is just guessing.  There have been a couple other instances recently, where Batman just figures stuff out without including us in his train of thought.  That is fine and all, Batman is definitely smarter than any of us, but isn’t part of the enjoyment of reading Batman, being able to see Batman connects dots that the reader could not connect himself. I love how smart Batman is! I love seeing him do the detective work and whenever they show that I’m always super ecstatic about how he deduces stuff from clues. In this issue: I FELT CHEATED!  Even Julia thinks it is a rather peculiar jump in logic to make and says as much.  If Batman really has any reason for making this kind of deduction it would have been nice if he would have explained it to Julia who was questioning him so that we would have been able to understand it in the process, and if he’s just guessing… well, this is just cheap!

Batwing:  Gets in a fight with a bunch of demons, transmits the Riddler’s code to Julia, and then gets knocked away from Blackfire by a magic explosion.

Julia Pennyworth:  Well… about that Riddler code!!!  Think that was worth the wait??? …Think again!!  It doesn’t tell us anything.  Sure, it is very Riddler like to just give you another riddle, but it doesn’t even seem like another riddle!!! It just says that if you are smart enough to decode this you should be smart enough to figure out who the bad guy is.  I truly hope that there is a hidden message in the text, because as it stands, if the sole purpose of the encrypted message was to do nothing more than imply the involvement of a villain we already knew was involved, then that is totally weak sauce!

Blackfire:  Most of his dialogue ends up being meaningless mystical rant stuff.  At one point he tells Corrigan to hush, and I suppose that was to tip him off about Hush’s involvement, but after that goofy bit from a previous issue where the tower vibrated Hussshhhhhh, which clued Batman on to Hush’s involvement, I wasn’t looking forward to getting another little cutsie way of informing us of the involvement of a villain we already knew was involved!  When the writer keeps the audience in the dark and then we discover what is going on, along with the characters, it is genuinely shocking, but this is like the third time we have had characters stumble upon shocking information that we already knew about.  It just reads as very hollow.

Joker’s Daughter:  Here entire involvement in this story is meaningless.  She is seen torturing some cabbie for unknown reasons and then called back to Arkham where she smacks around a demon.  That’s it!  The only explanation that I have for her actions is that, in a previous issue, she was seen headed out with a swarm of demons to reek havoc on Gotham.  I initially concluded that this issue picked up at her forementioned reeking havoc, but then remembered that she had that one appearance between then and now where she was antagonizing Alfred.  So what happened? Was she on her way out, came back to freak Alfred out, and then went back out?  Even if that is the case, what happened to all the demons that were supposed to be with her? Did I miss something? Feel free to comment below.

The issue ends with what looks like Arkham about to explode…which leads right into the first page of this weeks Batman: Arkham Manor #1.  I happened to read Arkham Manor first (curiosity and all), so… yeah.  Thanks for the spoiler DC!  Couldn’t you wait 1 week?!

I’d like to take a moment to apologize to regular readers.  This review is not reminiscent of what I typically deliver for your reading pleasure, but I really hated this issue.  If I am this disappointed by next week’s Eternal, I’ll try and find a way to make the review more entertaining.

Recommended if…

  • You’re collecting all the issues of Batman Eternal.
  • You are a glutton for punishment…..

Overall:

This is, hands down, the worst issue of Eternal in my opinion.  Believe me, I take no pleasure in saying it either!  I wish I could give glowing reviews for everything.  I want to read good stories, but if they aren’t putting out worthwhile material, I’m not going to lie about it.

SCORE: 2/10