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The feeling of a summer blockbuster, but with actual heart and character growth.

In case you haven’t been following Eternal, Mother is trying to take control of Spyral’s orbiting satellite in order to broadcast her hypnotic signal world wide.  This will enslave Earth’s children to her bidding and cement her as supreme ruler over the entire human race.

During the course of the story, we follow 3 different groups of characters.  As things begin to quickly unfold, we even transition to 5 fairly distinct through-lines.  With juggling that many narratives, I pessimistically assumed that the structural integrity of the story was about to collapse under it’s own weight, but that didn’t happen.  Seeley really managed to impress me with the number of scenes he was able to pack into a mere 20 pages without it feeling overcrowded or rushed.  The pacing is still accelerated, but I never got the feeling that I was being overloaded and expected to invest in more than I could handle.

But it’s more than just being able to successful cram all that material in.  Whether it was a straight physical confrontation, overcoming emotional odds, or hacking into a computer mainframe; everyone had something relevant to do (Well, not so much Red Hood, but whatever).  While not all of them were extensively long in nature; they all had a beginning, a middle, and an end that allowed each character to go on little mini adventure that supported worthwhile character growth.   I’m dropping my favorite one in the spoiler tag because it’s too good not to talk about, but it’s also the biggest “whoa” moment in my opinion, so I’m sure that some of you will want to discover it for yourselves.

Just click it.  You know you want to.

Spoiler

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If you take nothing else away from this issue, at least take away the implications of this scene.

Really great scenes are usually designed to simultaneously impress upon the audience multiple facets of the characters and their world.  Here, we aren’t just given an information dump about the satellite, but also how that satellite factors into the deep personal relationship that Dick and Helena have with one another.  It’s really great stuff.

The other thing that is obviously worth discussing from this scene is the significance that Dick could become Nightwing again.  Technically, there was never really anything stopping him from still being Nightwing, just being Dick Grayson.  To be perfectly honest, I was originally against the idea of Dick becoming a spy back when it was first announced.  But the truth of the matter is, changing his outfit and job title has not changed the character at all.  Unlike some characters who’s secret identity and hero identity are two different personas, Dick was himself whether in or out of costume.  Because Seeley and King have always stuck so close to the heart of who Dick is, it never really mattered to me what he was doing.  At this stage in the game, I’m perfectly happy with Dick as Nightwing or Agent 37.  I will be fine with whatever they choose to do, just so long as they keep true to the character.

While we are in the spoiler tag, I might as well just say it….DAMIAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Art for this issue is handled by Roge Antonio and Geraldo Borges.  While I think both artists did a great job, Antonio is my clear favorite.  Antonio’s work just has a lot more fluidity and lightness to it.  When looking at it, I’m not focusing on the fact that I am staring at art so much as just getting immersed in the story through the visuals.  In a way, I think if the visuals call too much attention to themselves, it can really take you out of the moment.  They are essentially there to help guide you through the story, not demand that you check out how awesome they are.

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I also think that Antonio captures action much more smoothly than Borges does.  Not only am I more aware of Borges’ line-work when compared with Antonio’s, but many of Borges’ shots seem a lot less natural and more staged/posed to me.  Another way to look at it is the difference between trying to act cool, and just being cool.  Antonio has cool down.  Meanwhile, Borges is trying a little too hard.  Don’t try.  Just be.

Recommended if…

  • You’re a Nightwing fan.  There are some pretty big implications unveiled in this issue.
  • You like a story with heart.
  • You like getting a lot of bang for your buck.
  • You’re a fan of Roge Antonio’s art.

Overall:

This felt a lot more like the climax to a major summer blockbuster than the prelude to the finishing stretch of a comic maxi-series.  While the story is still rather top heavy in the action department, I felt that Seeley was able to add a lot more heart and relevancy to the character interactions than last week’s installment.

SCORE: 8.5 / 10  

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