I’d like to tell you all that this issue is awesome and that things are finally kicking into high gear, but that just isn’t the case. At this point, Eternal doesn’t feel like it has any gas left, and instead of speeding over that finish line, it’s just coasting to the end. A lot of the other books I read this week from DC were pretty lousy (Detective Comics: Endgame #1 and Suicide Squad #8). While Eternal isn’t plummeting in quality, it also isn’t getting any better. Maybe DC figured that surrounding it with a bunch of worthless books would make it look better by comparison.
There is a pretty cool moment in this book, oh heck, I’m just going to say it: Alfred gets out of his cage and saves the day! Pretty cool, indeed, but unfortunately that was just my knee jerk reaction. After taking a moment to consider the implications of this, it started to unravel the narrative that the book has been setting up. We have essentially been getting fed false suspense this whole time: Alfred could have escaped whenever he wanted to! Why was he waiting to spring himself? Someone could have gotten hurt! It just doesn’t make any logical sense. There was NO reason at all for Alfred not to have freed himself last issue! All this solidifies the fact that everything we have been seeing for the last couple issues was definitely filler. Given how easily it was wrapped up and how it could have ended long before, means that the story was not being prolonged for an in-world reason, but merely to string us along and give DC something to fill up their pages with. I’ll say it again. If they didn’t have enough engaging material to make it all the way to the arbitrarily chosen 52, I would not have held it against them. I would have much rather had 35 really strong issues than 52 wishy washy ones.
There are several other scenes that I believe were ineffectual; for instance, Julia rushing off to some location to save the day ends up being irrelevant because her attempt fails.; the Batfamily fighting with the Arkham escapees is definitely extraneous in the bigger scheme of things and the false tension of Hush messing with them aside, the book only devotes 9 panels to them. Whatever they have going on is definitely getting pushed to the background, which makes me feel that, not only is it not that important now, but it never really was. It’s just all filler. I get that the creative team is trying to up the tension, but it just isn’t coming across as genuine to me.
In regards to the Gordon section of this issue, I was personally picking up a Watchmen vibe from it. The scene where Rorschach is in prison and says, “None of you understand. I’m not locked up in here with you. You’re locked up in here with me.” Gordon basically says the tail end of this quote. It was an ominous realization when Rorschach said it, and even doubly so for Jim, since it isn’t necessarily in character for him to say something like that.
Surprisingly, my favorite scene in this whole book was the one involving Spoiler. It was thought provoking, had some emotional poignancy, and displayed a fairly impressive action sequence. Oddly enough, Spoiler is turning out to be one of the more competent superheroes that this book has to offer and I found a piece of her dialogue to be the most intriguing element this issue had to offer: “Nobody’s paying attention to the real story, are they? Even when it’s right in front of their noses. When it’s been there right from the very beginning.” Obviously she is talking about the characters in the book, but I think it could also be interpreted as the writers challenging the audience to figure out the surprise. She also mentions that it is pretty obvious. Maybe there won’t be some jaw dropping moment at the end of all this. Maybe it will be exactly who we think it should be with no surprises at all. I’m not sure I like that. I want to be surprised. I don’t want to read a story where everyone in it is acting all surprised at the reveal but I’m sitting back and shacking my head and wondering why nobody figured it out 30 issues ago….
Fernando Blanco returns to handle art duties yet again. As I said last time, he is competent and is getting the job done, but I don’t really have anything specific I wish to elaborate on for this particular issue. So let’s all just check out this two page layout of Spoiler escaping Cluemaster.
That city scape is absolutely beautiful.
By the way, what is up with that cover? On a cursory glance I found nothing wrong with it, but then logic kicked in and a glaring problem presented itself. That isn’t the Batplane, so I am guessing it doesn’t have some fancy automatic piloting function, nor would I imagine it has the ability to hover. That would mean the cover is depicting it in a nose dive without a pilot to pull it out of said dive. Batman is essentially jumping out of a plane that is headed on a crash course for the very spot he is jumping to. I seriously don’t understand how these things slip through. You can’t tell me that at least one person at DC didn’t think of this when they saw that cover and reconsider it.
- You want to see Gordon being a boss.
- You want to see Alfred belatedly saving the day.
While this issue has it’s fair dose of action and suspense, it just ends up feeling disingenuous to me. After devoting this much time to a story line, I want to be wowed, and I am seriously afraid that Eternal just doesn’t have any fight left in it. I also can’t believe that there are only 3 issues left. This had better end on a proper note, and not as a lead-in to some other story. I…WILL…BE…LIVID… if that is what ends up happening. After 52 issues, we had better get a real ending!
SCORE: 5.5 / 10