You know when you’re driving in a 55mph speed limit zone but everyone around you insists on going 45. That’s how I’ve felt for the last 2 months in regards to the Batman Eternal storyline. “Just go already!”
This weeks chapter meanders through 9 different stories! And only 2 of them were able to hold my attention beyond the initial reading. The majority of this issue is spent setting up what our hoard of villains have been up to. And to be perfectly frank, it is boring as hell! Other than the Scarecrow, it appears that none of the other villains have spent any time at all engaged in scheming up atrocities to inflict upon Gotham City. Instead of using the resources that the “Party Planner” gave them to make trouble for Gotham and Batman, they have all just sat back on their laurels and invested themselves in completely egotistical idleness. It makes one wonder why Julia even decided to rally the Batfamily to take them down in Batman’s absence. Like I said, only the Scarecrow was doing anything that warranted any intervention. The rest were just living out their own fantasies in a wonderland of their own making. I get that they are escaped inmates so they do need to be brought in, but it was hardly a priority.
Of the 5 escapee stories presented, the one that actually caught my attention was the one involving Joker’s Daughter. Not that it should be attributed to her in any way, but in the fact that Batgirl is the Batfamily member that has been chosen to take her down. JD happens to be held up in the same amusement park from The Killing Joke, so I’m very curious to see how this engagement will play out. While the other conflicts will most likely boil down to nothing more fisticuffs, the Batgirl portion of the story has the potential to touch on some very poignant memories that could make the encounter with JD far more intriguing. (There was an error that I noted in the dialogue. In The Killing Joke, after Joker shot Barbara through the spine, he leaves her in her apartment. In the dialogue from this issue, Barbara mentions that this is the same amusement park the Joker brought her to after shooting her. Can someone confirm, is this indeed an error by the writer or was this altered in a retelling and I am just not remembering it?)
The one character who actually helped tie this issue together and give it some kind of cohesion was Julia. While she did seem to overstep her bounds once or twice, I have to give her kudos for her level of decisiveness. Of all the characters that Eternal has introduced, and in some cases reintroduced, I actually find Julia more to my taste than any of the others. While she can be a little snippy at times, I don’t get the same feeling of pompousness from her as I do from other characters like Harper. She is a tenacious individual and I have never found myself doubting in her ability to handle herself or the situations she has been subjected to. The other character that helped to make this issue halfway decent for me was Hush. He is rather adept at finding people’s soft spots and exploiting them.
Juan Ferreyra handles art this time around, and I have to say, I really loved it! I don’t want to imply that it was perfect, some of the faces seemed slightly off and a couple of the angles/perspectives felt odd, but I really enjoyed his particular style. Especially this 2 page spread.
The layout, the silhouettes, the detailing, and the atmosphere are all just completely beautiful. I found Ferreyra’s cross-sectional work delightfully nostalgic and completely unexpected: you can see all the inner workings: pipes, wires, etc of the Batplane and below you can see the Batcave/Wayne Manor in all its glory:
Maybe it’s just me, but it took me back to a time when I was a little kid and didn’t understand perspective, and all my drawings of castles and underground strongholds were drawn in 2 dimensions. Good times…
This close to the end, it is time to place your final bets. My money is still on Lincoln March/Thomas Wayne Jr. being the “Party Planner”, as I’ve said from the very beginning. While I’d be more than happy to see that be the case, since I have been wishing it from the beginning, there would also be a part of me that would be disappointed with such an outcome. I’ll be missing out on a final surprise, having guessed it so long ago. At this point, either scenario would be equally satisfying. One would bring with it vindication, while the other genuine astonishment.
Did anyone else notice that Alfred calls Julia by her name during his communication with Batman. I’ve had my problems with the code names in the past, and I’ve gotten over it. But if the point of the names was so that people eavesdropping wouldn’t be able garner any real info on them, didn’t Alfred just defeat that purpose?
- Check out this old cross-sectional of the Batcave from Batman #48 (1948).
- You want to see some beautiful artwork done by Juan Ferreyra.
- You’re a fan of Julia.
The third act of Eternal has been paltry compared with the opening and mid salvo, and this issue does nothing to change that. I can’t help but feel like DC is just milking us at this point. By now, they know they have us hooked. We aren’t going to abandon ship this close to the finish line, so they can do whatever they want and we will keep buying it. At least the art was nice to look at in this issue.
SCORE: 6 / 10