Batman and Robin Eternal #20 review

BR Eternal 20

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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.

SHOW SPOILER ▼

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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