Only 8 issues left with Batman Eternal, and the creative team decides that THIS is the best use of their ink? This issue is all about Professor Milo on the run because of his involvement with the Arkham incident; personally, I thought the Arkham plot was finished when the Spectre intervened. I did not need any follow-up: I’ve already read through 43 comics, I don’t expect to be given a filler issue this late in the game. Isn’t it time to start wrapping things up?
Filler issue? Yes! The whole thing is basically one giant action sequence that doesn’t matter and doesn’t really take us anywhere. Instead of running after Professor Milo, why don’t we check in with Gordon or Clayface? Where is Gordon? We haven’t seen anything from him since #38 when he told Bard to get him out of prison. And in #40, Clayface was shown flying around in a Batplane blowing up Gotham! It seems to me that catching Milo shouldn’t take priority over dealing with these two plot points. I haven’t brought it up before, because I presumed we would reconvene with Gordon and Clayface when resuming the Batman related portion of the story. Batman showed up briefly in the last 3 issues, but only when he was absolutely needed, because he was otherwise occupied (with Clayface I thought): he didn’t help with the Hatter thing because he was busy elsewhere, and he had Red Robin deliver Harper’s message about infiltrating the Egyptian Casino because he was likewise, too busy. I assumed that after we were done seeing what Harper and Red Robin were up to, we would jump back to Batman and see what he was doing during their Hatter section. I speculated that he was dealing with Clayface and the other Arkham escapees. Guess I was wrong! Then what was he doing that whole time? Flying the Riddler back from their ski trip? Come on!
I believe that this book highlights a larger problem that I have been having with Batman Eternal in general: the inconsistency in the editing. On the whole, the editing is very choppy. A lot of times, one story pops up right in the middle of another and completely shatters the momentum and connection to the ongoing story we were in the middle of. Remember the cliffhanger to issue 6, where Corrigan and Batwing are standing outside Arkham: it’s all menacing and spooky and we are wondering what is going to happen in there. Then we wait almost 10 issue before we get back to them! This excursion to go grab Milo feels like one of those intrusions in the bigger story. I just feel like we need to be so far past this by now. If this were a movie, we would be entering the last 15 minutes. It is time for the climax to begin, not to focus on the C plot. Maybe I’m just being impatient here, but it is time to get this thing going!
With all that ranting, it may seem like I totally hated everything! But there were definitely some enjoyable moments. I greatly enjoyed the numerous Batmanesque moments in this book: Batman smashing through windows, Batman grappling people to the ceiling, Batman taking down a bunch of people in a billowing cloud of smoke. That was all great! But it could have been so much more!
The last time I saw the artist ACO was last year when I reviewed Batman: Futures End. At the time, I commented on the fact that while there is nothing bad about the art, there is also nothing about it that makes you stand up and take notice. While my feelings regarding the art are relatively the same, there is one element that has changed: this particular story is nowhere near as mentally stimulating as the one from Batman: Futures End. Taking that into consideration, I needed something extra stunning in the visual department to compensate for the lack of the stories strength, and I just didn’t get it. The only visual element that really stood out to me is this shot of Batman disappearing into an illuminated cloud of gas.
I will say that Ethan Van Sciver and Marcelo Maiolo did an excellent job on that cover. That cover is great. That cover is a ten. I’d rather just look at that cover than read the issue.
Just a quick aside about Ray Fawkes, the writer for this issue. I’m not sure whether Fawkes is being given story elements I just don’t like or if I don’t like his sections of Eternal because he is writing them. While I liked his Batman: Futures End issue, I have not been a fan of his Eternal contributions.
I believe this is the first time in Eternal that it has been verbally confirmed that the gentleman, named Maxie, that Deacon Blackfire was attempting to possess is actually Maxie Zeus. Hence, it’s time for a Maxie Zeus fact!
- Maximilian “Maxie” Zeus first appeared in Detective Comics #483 (1979). Maxie believes he is Zeus, reincarnated. When engaged in his criminal pursuits, he wears a Greek toga and carries with him a staff in the shape of a lighting bolt that fires off electrical charges.
- Professor Achilles Milo first appeared in Detective Comics #247 (1957). He took a page out of the Scarecrow’s book and developed a chemical that made Batman afraid of bats, or anything bat shaped for that matter. Edit: I actually remembered this incorrectly and a reader was kind enough to point it out. Milo actually develops a chemical fear inducer before the Scarecrow. So Scarecrow took a page out of Milo’s book.
- You love action!
- Nope….that is it….just action.
- That cover is pretty good too.
This issue felt like total filler to me, which was a huge disappointment, being so close to the finish line. This chapter of Eternal has forgettable written all over it. It’s only saving graces were the “classic Batman” moments that got mixed into the plethora of action. But that is everything this issue has to offer. It has no substance beyond the flair.
SCORE: 5.5 / 10