EDITOR’S NOTES: Kevin’s Batman Eternal #18 post was accidentally deleted while doing some site maintenance. It is reposted here for posterity.
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Batgirl, Red Hood and Batwoman kick some butt in Brazil. GCPD’s Lt. Bard and Batman head into the sewers and an unlikely team-up ensues. Jim Gordon looks somber on a Blackgate bunk before things get crazy in jail.
Once again, Batman follows Bard around. Even though he confronted him a few issues ago, he continues to wonder if he’s a good guy. (He’s not. We know that. Let’s move on.) Anyway, while that happens, he sees someone get sucked down into the sewers. Cue Killer Croc!
The fight with Bard, Croc and Bats is simply beautiful. Orderly, rectangular panels turn to skewed, smashed panels when the punches fly. (Once again, this book introduces me to a new artist I dig. Kudos, Andy Clarke.)
Batgirl, Batwoman and Red Hood all have a completely different dynamic and it’s played out so well here. In the end, a mystery man turns Batgirl against her friends right after Red Hood describes her perfectly.
Over in Blackgate, Gordon and his cellmate are walked through a day at the prison, and if you’re paying attention, the background cameos from thugs and villains (including Carmine Falcone and Penguin) are more than cameos. Something is up, and it comes to a head in the final pages of this issue.
Scott Snyder, James Tynion and Clarke do a great job of weaving together dialogue and imagery that seem more like a “day in the life in Blackgate,” but really plot out something more sinister if you’re paying close attention.
“Batman: Eternal” has been hitting its stride the last few weeks. I’m hoping it continues.
Next Issue: Now that all the members of the Gotham gang war (including leaders Penguin and Falcone) are locked up, we’re gonna have a riot on our hands. Batwing comes face to face with death. Harper Row and Robin head back to Gotham. Batman has to make a choice between saving Bard or saving himself.
Next week’s cameo: Catwoman makes a play for power.
Was I right?
Last time, I predicted, “Alfred gives a tour of the Batcave. Batwing suffers some more system failures. We find out if Joker’s Daughter is talking to herself or there’s really someone there. Stephanie Brown strikes back against her father, Cluemaster.” I also predicted that Killer Croc would splash around.
Croc was a major part of the issue, and one of my favorite aspects of this book. (The hulking way he’s drawn by Clarke is pretty great, too.) Alfred declines a tour of the cave, but his daughter heads out for “tea.” Joker’s Daughter and Stephanie Brown aren’t in this issue, but they’ll be back soon.
I’m late. I know. No excuses. Let’s dive into this double-sized “Batman Forever” spectacular.
Batgirl is hallucinating (and kicking the crap out of Red Hood). Croc, Batman and Bard are teaming up beneath Gotham. Blackgate is on lockdown. Harper and Robin fiddle with tech in Japan.
As Croc and Batman spelunk under the sewers of Gotham City, it’s becoming more and more apparent that the heart of this tale has little to do with a gang war (regular Gotham stuff) and much more to do with mysterious things like interdimensional aliens and mystical things.
During the Batgirl and Red Hood fight, Batwoman begins to get to the heart of who tricked Jim Gordon into causing the train derailment from the first issue of “Eternal.”
Speaking of Gordon, as Blackgate erupts in a prison riot, the former police commisioner does what he does best: Gets in the action to save some lives. It’s why his story in “Eternal” is compelling. Armed with only a mop bucket and a fire extinguisher, Gordon gives a seriously awesome beat down.
In another world-spanning issue, Batgirl tracks down the man who messed with her dad. Batman goes after the Ten-Eyed Man (with the help of Killer Croc) and his interdimensional portal. Gordon keeps taking down prison thugs.
Batman fights with the Ten-Eyed Man and saves one of Croc’s friends as the ceiling comes down on them.
Over in Brazil, Batgirl keeps tracking Dr. Falsario (Worst name ever? Worst name ever.) only to find him deceased at the end of it. (That sword looks very familiar.) Turns out, they may have cleared Jim Gordon’s name (though whether that will happen is yet to be determined).
Over in Blackgate, Gordon keeps taking down prisoners with liquid nitrogen (where in the hell did he get that?) and his fists. Meanwhile, his grizzled prison pal Leo reveals himself to be someone else entirely. Rex Calabrese, the Lion, was the mobster who lost his Gotham criminal empire to Carmine Falcone after he was “killed.” Apparently not.
Also, he apparently likes to rip people’s throats out with sharp dentures. (What?!)
And then Stephanie Brown (who we haven’t seen in awhile) reveals herself as Spoiler. It’s a fine moment, but it maybe would have been best held for another issue that had at least mentioned her at some point. Also, the rant she delivers about movie reviews and spoilers was a little bit dumb.
This issue was a complete trainwreck. There were a bunch of storylines that had little to do with each other wrapped in a neat little bow except for the fact that there was a bunch of little inconsistencies. Looks like they’re leading into a middle or final story arc for this series, but this was a very strange way to transition into that.
Next Issue: Spoiler gets her hands dirty in the bad parts of Gotham. Batman returns to Wayne Manor for a shower. All of Bats’ family returns to Gotham from far-flung places to have a little sit-down.
Next week’s cameo: Ra’s al Ghul and his League of Assassins are in the mix.
Was I right?
Last time, I predicted, “Now that all the members of the Gotham gang war (including leaders Penguin and Falcone) are locked up, we’re gonna have a riot on our hands. Batwing comes face to face with death. Harper Row and Robin head back to Gotham. Batman has to make a choice between saving Bard or saving himself.” I also predicted Catwoman would make a power play.
There was a massive riot at Blackgate. Batman had a choice but it was between saving a girl and not saving a girl. Also, Bard is an idiot. (Just saying.) Harper and Robin are still hanging in Japan, but they’ll be back soon. No Batwing or Catwoman, but they gotta come back to it soon.
By night, Kevin Coffey fights crime as a masked vigilante. By day, he’s the music critic for the Omaha World-Herald, Dungeon Master, lover of the Muppets, husband and father. He also enjoys making snide comments during movies (his wife has asked that he stop, but he refuses). Read his musings on Twitter (@owhmusicguy), music reviews and previews at Omaha.com, and bloggy stuff at his blog, Rock Candy.