We are now entering the third act of Eternal, and despite the fact that this story has been going on for 35 issues, there is something about this installment that feels fresh and invigorating.  Perhaps it is Vicki’s investigation into Bards’s past, or maybe it is the idea that (being robbed of his money) we might get some old school Batmaning going on!  Whatever it is, I found the story both engaging and full of potential.

For those of you who have been dying to know what is really up with Bard, it looks like your questions might finally get answered.  While nothing gets openly explained in this specific issue, I found we are given enough information for conjecture.  My take on it:  Some crazy costumed vigilante back in Detroit killed Bard’s partner, and now he distrusts all costumed vigilantes. What do you guys think?  The answer that I have extrapolated seems slightly less inspired than what I had been hoping for, but still raises some interesting ideas.  If this turns out to be true, it turns Bard into a mirror for Bruce:  Bruce lost his parents to crime, and swore vengeance on all criminals; Bard loses someone to a “superhero”, hence swears vengeance against all superheroes.  At first, it seems like a strange jump for Bard to make: one vigilante is bad, so they must all be? But it might not be such an uninspired idea after all: the fact that our heroes are seldom held accountable for all the collateral damage they cause in their conflicts with super-villains is rarely examined.  Some also argue that the worst supervillains either exist because of Batman or were drawn to Gotham to test themselves against such a worthy foe.  How many innocents have been indirect casualties of Batman’s war against crime?  Does Batman create more problems than he solves?  It is an interesting question to ponder.

Continuing from last week’s story, we see that all of Bruce’s accounts have been frozen and that his properties have been seized.  While this adds additional difficulties for our hero to overcome, I still don’t understand how Gotham or the Federal Government can just do something like this.  Isn’t there some sort of trial or due process that needs to occur for them to justify such extremes?  None of the comments addressed my question last week, so I am going to ask again: Is this a real thing, or just some made up comic book stuff?  What are the actual laws, if any, that govern this sort of action? I know we’ve got some pretty well informed readers out-there… please share your knowledge with us all!  My confusion in this regards aside, I am looking forward to seeing a Bruce more apt to rely on his smarts and skills than his technology.  However, the thing about Bruce’s money is that it is a status quo of the character, so we all know that it is only a matter of time before it returns, but in the meantime it should provide a fresh approach to the character that I am totally looking forward to.

In Arkham Manor #1, Batman muses about the fact that he once considered permanently housing some of the more dangerous inmates in the bowls of the cave.  Last month when I read that, I thought it was a great idea but was sad when it seemed more like a passing-thought than something that we would actually get to see.  How happy was I, this week, to open the pages of Eternal and find Hush being kept in a glass cell in the Batcave!  It instantly put me in a Silence of the Lambs state of mind, and  propelled my enjoyment of the cave scenes with Julia and Hush to new heights.

This week art was brought to us by Fernando Blanco, and while he did a nice job, it seemed to me that the colors by Marcelo Maiolo actually stole the show more than the pencils did.  Maiolo’s use of contrasting colors, and in some cases just highly vibrant colors, really set the visual tone of this book apart from your normal comic flare.  His use of red, yellow, and blue really helped to guide your eyes across the page and highlighted moments of emotional intensity.  So as not to ignore Blanco for his visual contributions, I will say that several of his page layouts were very nice.  In particular, there was a really awesome two-page spread which depicted the Batmobile smashing through a building and coming out the other side, with panels depicted within the framework of the building showing the action that was occurring within.

building

Spoiler

  • It looks to me like the cover of this issue is presenting us with the resolution to the cliffhanger???
  • Why did Bard blowing up those buildings  call the Batman into action?  What was Batman planning on doing?  Just show up and beat on Bard?  Isn’t that something he could have done anytime before now?  I’m just not sure what he was doing and hoping that next issue we will see what conclusion he was speeding off toward.
  • Wayne tech made all of Batman’s stuff…….This is one of the influences from Batman Begins that I wish wouldn’t have influenced the current writing staff of the comics.  In the old days, Batman made his own stuff.  He might get parts from Wayne Enterprises and assemble them himself, but he never had Wayne Enterprises make his stuff outright.  The element of old school Batman being an inventor and creator was as much a part of the character as his stealth and combat abilities.  I miss that guy!
  • So what?  No objection from any of the other officers about how crazy Bard is being?

Interesting Facts:

  • The idea of Bruce having no money, loosing his tech, and having to resort to old school means was an idea recently visited in a two part story from Legends of the Dark Knight, #12 and 13 from last year.
  • Jeremiah Arkham first appeared in Batman: Shadow of the Bat #1 (1992).  If this sounds familiar it is because I have mentioned it before.  The fact that I am mentioning it again should be a strong enough indication that anyone who has not read The Last Arkham really needs to go out and pick themselves up a copy.  Seriously, you won’t be disappointed.
  • Bard taking control of the Batmobile reminded me of this….Batman Returns (1992) The Penguin, as played by Danny Devito, takes control of the Batmobile.
  • Which in turn made me think of this….Batman/ The Animated Series , episode 55, The Penguin takes control of the Batmobile.
  • ***BATMAN ETERNAL: THE STORY SO FAR…   for those of you who missed it or for those of you who never knew it even existed, I threw together a little summary of the last 34 issues of Eternal for your reading pleasure.***

Recommended if…

  • You have been waiting to see Bard’s past revealed.
  • The thought of Batman fighting crime without all his fancy toys peaks your interest.

Overall:

The best thing about this installment of Eternal is all the potential it has for the future.  With the opening of the third act we are entering fresh new grounds where anything can happen, and I am hoping for an awe inspiring home stretch to the finish line.

SCORE: 8/10