What is the worst thing about this issue?  You’re on the last page before you realize it!  I usually take notes as I read, for the sake of these reviews, but I found myself on the last page without having written anything down.  I was so engrossed in the story, that I just read it with no mind to anything else. So maybe the worst thing is actually a good thing! Granted, we don’t get much progression of the story this time around, and I was a little surprised that Batman didn’t meet with more heavy opposition from the police, but this was still a highly entertaining story brought to us by Kyle Higgins, with absolutely beautiful art by Jason Fabok.

After Batman was implicated in the bombing from last issue, I was surprised not to see more police assigned to taking him down.  I’m not sure if it was Bard intentionally running interference with Hush’s plan, or if the force is just stretched that thin with all that has been going on in Gotham, but it just struck me as slightly odd.  We’re talking about the guy who escaped from 30 cops back at the Arkham disaster a couple of issues ago, and now you think 3 guys are going to take him down?  Good luck with that!

Some people may not like Julia, but I’m really starting to warm up to her.  I’m not sure if her character is evolving, or if it is just the way that Kyle Higgins is writing her here, but I find her highly more competent and believable as an appropriate sidekick for Batman than the likes of Spoiler or Harper Row.  She comes to the table, already a highly trained S.A.S field officer, so I’m not left in shock by any of the accomplishments she ends up performing.  Not that running the Batcomputer is any small feat, or any less important than running around the rooftops of Gotham, but I was happy to see her be able to contribute in a more hands-on way at last.

Not only do we have some really great interactions between Batman and Julia, but Alfred and Bard also have their moments to shine.  I’m not going to talk about Alfred, since we all know that anything that comes out of the man’s mouth is Oscar worthy, but I will take a moment to discuss Bard.  Throughout Eternal, I have gone back and forth multiple times about the motivations and alignment that Bard adheres to.  After all this time, it is kind of nice to still be in the dark about the character and left wondering what is up with him.  His actions, this time, have yet again thrown a wrench in the works as to what I thought was a locked down judgement on my part about his character.  For me, he has become the biggest secret that Eternal is keeping from me and I genuinely look forward to finding out what makes him tick.  Here is to hoping that he lives up to the expectations that I am building up in my mind.

Jason Fabok handles art again this week, and this would usually be where I would discuss that art, but I’m just going to let these pictures do the talking for me this time around!

Batman1

Get those word balloons out of the way, I’m trying to look at the art!

Batman2

With art like this, does anything else really matter?  (Yes, it does, I’m just being facetious)

Batwing

Spoiler

  • Ok….I’ll go along with the idea that Julia is more skilled than Dick, Jason, and Tim were when Bruce first took them in, but you’re stretching my willing suspension of disbelief a tad much when you try and tell me that Julia is more skilled than Damian!  The kid showed up at the cave already a super assassin!
  • Julia suggests that Batman “needs to make a public statement”, implicating that Hush is framing him for the explosion.  That might be the most hilarious thing I’ve heard in months.  Her heart is in the right place , but she still has no clue about how thing operate around here.
  • That dude just jumped out of a helicopter with no regard for how he was going to land!  Look how high he jumped from!  I wish he had had repealing gear on.  While I am fine with Batman and family doing crazy stuff like that, I can’t believe some random cop would have the skill or the desire to put himself in unnecessary danger by leaping like that, with all that heavy gear on, from such a height.
  • That fight would have been infinitely more awesome if Batman had not uttered a word to Gilpatrick.  If I were the cop facing down Batman all on my own, I would already be unsettled, forget about it if he had been staring me down and not saying anything at all.
  • I don’t think Julia will be able to take Hush out, but I sure as hell hope that she puts up a better fight than Spoiler did.  Seeing as how Julia is a trained S.A.S. officer, I’m hoping she surprises Hush with a little more opposition than he expects and makes him eat his words about Batman having a lower standard for sidekicks.

Interesting Facts:

  • I know that most people reading this review are probably aware of what Batman Incorporated is, but for those who are new to Batman, I just want to fill you in on the details that are relevant to this issue.  Several years ago, Bruce Wayne came out and publicly acknowledged the fact that he had been funding Batman for years.  In the real world, if a person admitted to this kind of thing, they would be an accessory to Batman’s infractions of vigilantism and be subject to punishment by the law.  In the comic book world however, this was an interesting way to bypass the problem of anyone figuring out that Bruce Wayne was Batman by tracing his equipment and funding back to Wayne Enterprises, since he now openly admitted to it.  It was a plausible scenario that Wayne, having lost his family, would support someone like Batman, who would fight the criminal element that he, as a billionaire playboy, would not be able to do.

Recommended if…

  • You love Jason Fabok’s work…or at least like it.  I can’t imagine there is someone out there who hates it!
  • You have been waiting for Julia to do something, other than run the Batcomputer.
  • ….did I mention that Jason Fabok drew this issue?
  • You’d be happy to see that Bard may not be as bad a guy as we were led to believe.
  • …JASON FABOK!

Overall:

This is a super fast read that makes me happy that Batman Eternal is a weekly book.  While beautifully illustrated and well scripted, I’d be more hard on it if I had to wait a month to get to the next issue as opposed to just a week, since the story doesn’t progress that much.  While the content is somewhat sparse and spread out, it is nonetheless, engaging.  Filled with action and several wonderful character moments.  If for nothing else, buy it for the art.  Jason Fabok kills it!

SCORE: 8.5/10