Happy Batgivings Everyone!
Many of you have expressed interest in seeing a little summary of what has happened in Eternal thus far. Where have we been, where are we now, and where are we going? This isn’t in any way going to be an all encompassing synopsis, just a brief overview of major plot points. Kind of like, we’re sitting around the fireplace after a nice Thanksgiving dinner, drinking some eggnog, and discussing the contribution of each character to Eternal.
Commissioner James Gordon
Eternal Starts off with Gordon causing a subway derailment when he open fires on an unarmed fleeing suspect; the derailment caused the death of dozens of people. Gordon gets convicted of the crime and sentenced to prison even though he swears the individual had a gun. Batman, realizing Gordon is being framed, begins looking into things. While in prison, a riot breaks out between two rival gangs, Gordon saves the day with the help of former Gotham mob boss: Rex Calabrese. Also while in prison, Gordon is visited by his son who offers him an escape route. That was back in issue 12 and we have not seen or heard from the son since, still might be worth keeping in mind. At the time it was established that James Jr. didn’t have the connections to arrange such a breakout himself, so it is highly likely that the offering he was making to Gordon was from another source, one that has yet to be revealed.
Falcone returns to Gotham and almost immediately things fall back into place, as if he had never left: the Mayor co-tows to Falcone and after Gordon is sentenced to prison, Forbes, an officer willing to work for Falcone, is promoted to Commissioner. The police department turns on Batman, but other than not arresting individuals Batman has apprehended, their efforts to capture Batman fail. Batman rushes to Hong Kong to learn what Falcone has been up to in the years he was away from Gotham. He discovers that Falcone wasn’t driven out of Hong Kong by the other mobs, but in actuality was still in charge and controlling everything from afar. In Hong Kong, Batman meets Julia, an S.A.S. agent and daughter to Alfred Pennyworth, who was injured by the mob. Batman takes her with him back to Wayne Manor in order for her to recover from her wounds.
Upon returning to Gotham, the gang war between Falcone and Penguin that had, up till now, only been minor skirmishes, literally explodes when Falcone’s men sink the Iceberg Lounge. Falcone sees to it that Professor Pyg was causing havok elsewhere in Gotham so that Batman would be busy and not able to respond to the attack on the Iceberg. After his success, Falcone decides to settle an old score and has Selina Kyle captured and brought before him. Pyg discovers that Falcone has been using him and leads an assault against him right when Falcone is about to kill Selina. Batman appears, to lend a hand, and ultimately it was a stalemate as the cops, controlled by Falcone, show up on scene and everyone is forced to vacate the area. This occurred in issue 10 and was an important point in the story because during this incident, Falcone let slip that he had been invited back to Gotham, having been told that events were about to transpire that would facilitate his taking over.
Penguin, finally having enough of Falcone, goes nuts and raids the building where Falcone is hiding out, killing all of his men and almost killing Falcone himself had Bard not burst onto the scene to arrest both men. Falcone is taken to prison but is eventually released in order to return to Hong Kong. Before he leaves, Batman snatches him up for one last conversation. Falcone reveals that he received an invitation to return to Gotham for it’s demise, and that the fun would start with the fall of Gordon (issue 21).
When Gordon gets sent to prison, Batgirl goes off the deep end. She starts investigating the subway accident by viewing surveillance footage of the event and decides that one guy stands out as someone who should not have been there, so she runs off to South America to see how he might be involved. Turns out the guy is just a soap opera star but participated in some kind of experiment that gave another guy his face. Red Hood shows up to make sure Batgirl stays out of trouble and they head off to find the plastic surgeon that performed the operation. They end up finding the plastic surgeon… and Batwoman who is there for reasons of her own. The three team up to take down the guy who was given the soap opera star’s face: a man by the name of Falsario. Turns out he has hypnotic powers and makes Batgirl fight against her friends. Once Batgirl gains control of herself, she pursues Falsario into the jungle and finds him dead by means of a very strange blade. Turns out the blade was owned by Falcone who claimed it was stolen a year ago. With Falsario dead they have no living witness to tie to the event. They do not come back empty handed as they do find computer data indicating Gordon was set up by Falsario’s hypnotic powers. The data is eventually delivered to Jason Bard… who destroys it!
Bard comes to Gotham upon receiving a job from Commissioner Gordon. On his first day, he has to arrest Gordon for the catastrophe at the subway. Bard ends up leading several assaults against the Falcone crime family and is eventually the officer responsible for arresting both Falcone and Penguin with the help of Reporter Vicki Vale, a VERY close friend of his (wink, wink). For his efforts, Bard is promoted to Commissioner. A few issues later, as he is walking the streets trying to generate some good will between the police force and the everyday citizens of Gotham, he sees someone being taken into the sewers; he and Batman pursue. In the sewer, they come across Killer Croc who is also looking for the individual that was snagged off the streets: an orphan by the name of Jade. They eventually free her from the clutches of some breakouts from Arkham Asylum.
After Bard is given the data from South America, he goes to visit the prison… and we assume he is about to release Gordon with the evidence, but he ends up destroying the data and releasing the Architect from prison instead!!!!! Not such a good guy anymore, is he? Issue 21 is also where we discover his involvement with Hush!
Hush’s involvement kicks off with him breaking into Wayne Manor, poisoning Alfred with fear toxin, and stealing information from the Batcomputer. The stolen information contains all the locations of the weapon caches that Batman has hidden throughout Gotham; Hush breaks into them and starts using them against the police. In parallel, Hush employs several villains to assist him in starting riots in Gotham: Cluemaster, Architect, Lock-up, Signalman, Rat catcher, and Prankster all contribute, and in the end the desired riots occur. Several of Bard’s men end up getting injured in one of Hush’s explosions and Bard ends up having a dispute with Hush over the loss of life. After being lead to believe Bard was bad, it seems like he might have some redeemable qualities yet… the plot thickens!
Batman finally corners Hush (issue 34) and upon defeating him, learns that Hush also received an invite to Gotham, the same one Falcone received! Looks like Hush didn’t invite Falcone back, and there is someone even higher up than these two pulling the strings.
Stephanie Brown…The Spoiler
When we first meet Steph, she is walking in on her father, The Cluemaster, as he is planning the riots for Hush. Daddy is not happy and tries to kill her! She gets away and attempts to reveal his plot to Gotham on her blog (yeah… her blog!) but nobody takes her seriously. She eventually tricks her father into chasing her outside the city limits so he can get arrested by officers outside of Gotham -hence not corrupt-. Considering she has the potential to ruin the plan, a bounty is put out on her, but she ends up escaping with Batman’s help. When all else failed, Hush finally attacked her himself but was chased off by Batman. All the way back in issue 4, we discovered that Steph’s mom is also a villain, so I am curious if we will see anything from her again.
Jim Corrigan and Batwing
Turns out that some creepy stuff has been going on at Arkham Asylum, so Jim and Luke head out to see what is going on. Deacon Blackfire has come back from the dead and is in control of some inter-dimensional monsters. The Spectre makes short work of Blackfire and his cohorts, but not before Arkham gets blown up and collapses into a giant hole in the ground. Batman makes an appearance and takes out any of the Arkham inmates, not pancaked by the collapse, who are trying to escape. So far, this is one of the only plot line in Eternal that has not tied in with the others. I find it hard to believe that our mystery villain had one of his invitations delivered to Blackfire from beyond the grave, asking him to join the party. Is it just an unfortunate coincidence that it is occurring at the same time as all this other terrible stuff, or is there a connection yet to be revealed?
Catwoman makes several brief appearances throughout Eternal. At the collapse of the Iceberg Lounge, when Falcone captures her, and again when she interferes with some underworld animal fight. It isn’t until Jade (Killer Croc’s friend who was in the sewer) comes to see her and takes her to meet Rex Calabrese that things start getting real! We discover that she is his daughter! This is the setup for her rise to crime boss as opposed to cat burglar. Later on in the story, she joins Batman in order to help him find Hush, but was really just tagging along in order to steal all the money from the mob guys Batman was beating up. By this time in Eternal, Falcone has left Gotham, so we need another mob boss to step in and take Falcone’s place. Enter The Ferryman, Bone; Bone captures Selina because, he too, has a grudge to settle with her. Meanwhile, Jade is captured by another mob boss who wants to make nice with Bone. Jade is a nice prize since it turns out that she is actually one of the McKillen sisters from a rival mob. Jade is delivered to Bone just in time to see Selina get killed. In the meantime, Croc has been hunting for Jade since his encounter with Batman and Bard. He ends up finding her right when Catwoman is about to get killed, causing a distraction. Catwoman gets away but not before Jade is killed. Catwoman decides to become a mob boss to stop all the violence.
Robin and Harper
There are some nanobots in the narrows that are taking over people’s minds. Robin is investigating the disturbance and ends up bumping into Harper whose brother has been taken over by the nanobots. Upon investigating the nanobots, Robin discovers that they were made by a scientist who currently resides in Japan. Robin travels to Japan, but not before Harper hides out in his plane. The two find Sergei Alexandrov and he admits that they were his nanobots, but were stolen about a year ago. Robin and Harper return to Gotham. None of that really matter in my opinion… but who knows if that will become relevant later on?
Some of you may have noticed that there is no section for Batman. To be honest, I don’t feel like he has had his own story in Eternal thus far. He is merely a facet of everyone else’s.
Of all the story lines presented in Eternal, the last three in my list seem to be the most distant from the central through line. It also seems odd to me that the Catwoman and Arkham stories were included at all. What I am talking about is the fact that Eternal won’t be a self contained story. If someone picks up a trade of Eternal 10 years from now, it won’t include the stuff from Catwoman or Arkham Manor, nor would I imagine they would know to even look there. Future readers will wonder what happened to certain plot lines that just disappeared. There is a part of me that also feels like their inclusion was just to advertise another book. I think with some alterations, the Catwoman story could have been easily told within the pages of her own book, ushering in the current story arc.
Since it is Thanksgiving, I wanted to take a moment to recognize the things I am thankful for. My wife, my family, and good health all fall to mind. I also wanted to say how thankful I am to be writing for Batman-News. 3 years ago I moved to a new state, loosing the comic community I grew up with. Fortunately I found Batman-News, and I was able to join a new comic community: reading Andrew’s reviews and chatting with the community filled the void! Little did I know that this would lead to me being part of the team one day! Much in the way that Andrew’s articles were there for me, I hope mine can give someone else that same sense of thankfulness.