Nano-Bots.  Nano-Bots everywhere!

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This is probably the most straightforward issue of Eternal we have had in quite awhile, spending almost all of its time on a single story line, with only a quick check in on Spoiler. The story is primarily allocated to a rooftop conversation and the pursuing warehouse raid and while we don’t cover a lot of ground, it still manages to deliver plenty of action, wit, and a surprisingly moving theme.

My favorite part of this issue was the theme.  It starts off with an unknown narrator speaking over a bunch of  nano-bot infected kids causing a ruckus: “I wish we could have stayed children, and not whatever it is we are now”.  It’s interesting how the words of the narrator both parallel their problem along with the fate that has befallen the infected.  In the end, these same words are uttered again, but this time over a different scenario.  In my mind, it brought up thoughts of Harper Row, Barbara Gordon, Tim Drake, and Jason Todd.  About how, if they had been given different lots in life, they would still be children, and not the heroes they are now.  There is a little piece halfway through the story that also solidifies my feelings toward this being the intention of the writer.  I’ll let Tim tell it to you straight.

Tim

As readers, I am sure a lot of us look up to these characters and want to be them, or like them.  We fantasize about living their lives, but this book suggests that they probably fantasize about living our normal lives.  They do what they do because of tragedies and to make sure others don’t suffer like they did.  We might not get to soar through the night sky on the end of a bat rope and trounce the bad guy at the end of the day, but we should never take for granted all the things we have in our lives that our heroes can only dream of.

Joe Quinones handles art this issue, and while it has a cartoony feel to it that might not best represent the tone of the material, or have been the best choice for Eternal in general, it is hard to knock the art in and of itself.  The thing I found most enjoying was his face work.  Personally, I like an artist who takes a risk and renders people with expressions, as opposed to those who opt for the mannequin like look.  I don’t want the characters to all look like super models posing for their next shoot in GQ.  I like when they have an air about them that indicates they are just normal people.  I know that some individuals think it looks silly to have characters captured in an unflattering moment, but for me, it just makes it more real.  Now, let us bring on the parade of faces!  I think Batgirl takes the cake here.

collage

Is it just me, or does Batgirl look super pissed in every single panel of this issue?

That cover is really unnerving!  I can’t help but think that everybody out there who is even remotely hypochondriacal would be flipping out about that cover; replacing all those nano-bots with germs, and imagining them all seeping in through every orifice of your body.  It’s pretty messed up.  The more I looked at it, the more I realized it also feeds into other fears; being covered in ants, drowning, or even claustrophobia.  That cover really captures some type of primal discomfort that I can’t quite explain.

The thought boxes in this issue were somewhat unusual.  I am used to seeing those boxes highlighted with the given character’s colors or symbol in the background, so you know who is talking.  I’m not saying it was a huge inconvenience in this issue, as I was still able to pick up on the character delivering the dialogue through context and sequential layout, but it did stand out to me as slightly unusual.  I’m guessing the primary reason was to keep the introductory narrator a secret till the end of the story.

Spoiler

  • This has nothing to do with this issue, but when are we going to get back to Bard releasing Gordon from prison?
  • What is up with the comings and goings of Red Hood?  The guy is all over the place and seems to show up whenever he is needed.  Doesn’t he have his own stuff to be doing?  Whatever happened to him telling Barbara that he was leaving Gotham?  Now he is back.  Ultimately, it doesn’t matter, I just wish I could get a little cohesiveness in regards to his whereabouts.
  • First we had Penny-One along with Bat-One, then Penny-Two, and now we have Row-One.  I know I am in the minority here, and it has been a while since I mentioned it, but these code names are sooooo goofy to me.
  • Is Mad Hatter just a really popular Villain at the moment, or will the events of Eternal fill us in at all on the background story behind what is occurring at the beginning of Detective Comics #37?
  • Is that bounty hunter who took down Spoiler somebody from the DC Universe or just a character generated for this one appearance?  My OC demands an answer!
  • Last time Batgirl slugged Red Hood, it was because she was under hypnosis.  This time it is because he is under hypnosis.  I guess no matter what the circumstances, Red Hood always gets the short end of the straw.

Interesting Facts:

  • For anyone out there who is only reading Eternal and wasn’t aware, Batman #28 from last year was a sneak peak into the events of Eternal before it began.  I’m mentioning it because it looks like the story from Batman and the events of Eternal are about to intersect.  In #28, Batman and Bluebird team up to infiltrate the Egyptian Club and rescue Spoiler, who supposedly has the key to saving all of Gotham.  (I was under the impression that Steph only knew about her father’s plans with Hush, but it looks like she may have been privy to other information that we, as the reader, were not informed of.)

Recommended if…

  • You appreciate when stories are more concise.
  • You’re a fan of Harper Row.
  • You like your art leaning more toward cartoony than realistic.

Overall:

While not much happens, in the hands of Kyle Higgins, an issue such as this can still be entertaining.  Joe Quinones also chips in, bringing some life to the page with his highly animated antics.

SCORE: 7 / 10

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