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Batwing and Jim Corrigan/The Spectre venture into Arkham. (Finally.) Robin and Harper prowl around seeking answers. Yet another new villain appears. The Riddler has escaped. Scarecrow is in peril.
This issue dives deep into the supernatural aspects of this story, and I really dig that. Something messed up is happening underneath Gotham, and I personally think this is the thing that’s going to bring Batman down. It seems so much bigger than the Falcone/Penguin gang war. Also, supernatural element seem to be the only thing that were at play in Jim Gordon’s fate.
On the whole, this was a fun issue that continues a few parts of the story. But there is some weirdness with this issue that highlights some of the problems with the series so far.
No. 15 exemplifies the problems that I have with this series. (And they’re the kind of problems most weekly series run into.)
– An issue after Lt. Bard and Batman have a bit of a verbal standoff (and it’s pretty clear Batman doesn’t like the shady officer), Batman more or less congratulates him and then shakes his hand.
– A full NINE issues after we last saw Batwing and Corrigan, the finally venture into Arkham Asylum. (Yep, it was in issue six, and though events in the last several issues seem to have unfolded over a week or so, the duo marches into the place like it was the next day.)
– The comic introduces yet another villain in Joker’s Daughter. (My hate of that character notwithstanding, do we really need another villain in this comic?) And then the final panel reveals another villain. Sheesh.
It almost makes me wonder if this book was meant to be issue No. 7 but was held back. “Batman: Eternal” needs a better editor or at least a script supervisor sort of position to make sure everything lines up correctly. That or they think they’re building in a lot of mystery that’s actually kind of confusing.
It also makes me wonder if shotgunning this series several issues at a time would make it flow better.
We’re 15 issues in. What say you, readers?
Next Issue: We learn who Mr. Bygone is. Batwing beats up Joker’s Daughter, but he’s left hurting. Batman ignores what’s going on at Arkham. Corrigan is finally able to summon The Spectre. Batman and Bard continue to butt heads. Batgirl does more digging in South America.
Next week’s cameo: Another riddle from The Riddler, perhaps?
Was I right?
Last time, I said, “Now that we’ve revisited Arkham Asylum, I predict we see more of the Spectre and the mysterious stuff going on there. Both Arkham and Blackgate are gonna get dangerous. Harper and Robin tussle in Japan. Bard crosses another line. Gordon sits in front of a judge.”
I also predicted a cameo from The Batman of Japan, Jiro Osamu.
We did indeed get a look into Arkham and the mysteries happening there. Blackgate wasn’t mentioned, but I suspect it will continue to play into the Gordon story. He hasn’t seen a judge yet, but that has to come soon. Harper and Robin do indeed visit Japan, but no Jiro was seen. Bard and Batman seem to be getting along. (What?!) We’ll see where that goes.
BZZZZZZ ZZZZZ ZZZZZ ZZZZZZZZZZ WHOK ZZZZZZZZZZZ WHAK ZZZZZZZZZZZZ!
Jim Corrigan (The Spectre) and Batwing get more than they bargained for underneath Arkham Asylum. Lt. Bard and Vicki Vale share a moment. Professor Pyg gets admitted. Robin and Harper get into some trouble in Tokyo. Batwing fights a human automaton named Maxie.
This is kind of a filler issue mostly focusing on Corrigan and Batwing. The big bad villains facing them in the end of the last issue are handled in an almost stupidly easy way. Also, Joker’s Daughter continues to annoy me with her “daddy” schtick.
Robin and Harper’s story continues incrementally when they run into tech mastermind Sergei (and his monkey, Maxwell). Is he behind the nanovirus running through Gotham’s poorest neighborhoods?
Meanwhile Batman follows around Lt. Bard and his crackdown on Gotham’s gangs, and Professor Pyg sees something that either delights or terrifies him (it’s hard to tell because it’s Pyg and the art isn’t very clear).
Nothing really happens in this issue. Batwing and Corrigan find Deacon Blackfire at the heart of all the bad mojo happening at Arkham, which we already knew. It’s so incremental that you could skip it and still be caught up.
Next Issue: Deacon Blackfire shows off some of his power. Batman is finally drawn to Arkham and, while he’s not watching, Bard crosses a major line. Sergei isn’t responsible for the nanovirus, but he knows who is. Vicki Vale teases Bard. Gordon has a tough choice to make. Falcone flexes his power from within Blackgate.
Next week’s cameo: The Spectre. (The full, unbridled Spectre.)
Was I right?
Last time, I predicted, “We learn who Mr. Bygone is. Batwing beats up Joker’s Daughter, but he’s left hurting. Batman ignores what’s going on at Arkham. Corrigan is finally able to summon The Spectre. Batman and Bard continue to butt heads. Batgirl does more digging in South America.”
I also predicted another riddle from the Riddler would appear.
We don’t really know who Mr. Bygone is even though he talks about his wife. Batwing does indeed take down Joker’s Daughter and her crazed automaton man, Maxie, and his suit is indeed busted up. Corrigan prefers a fist to the head over bringing full power of The Spectre, but I suspect we’ll see the spirit of vengeance soon. No Batgirl this issue, and Batman merely follows Bard (and watches him shoot a guy). No riddles this issue, but Batwing vows to solve the last one we saw.
CRACK WHACK THOK KKKRNNCH!
Now this is a great issue. Jim Corrigan and Batwing throw down with some zombie people beneath Arkham. We learn about Deacon Blackfire. In a flashback, we see Batman show another one of his unbeatable plans. Alfred answers some tough questions. Joker’s Daughter stands around like an idiot. Robin and Harper uncover some enticing information. Bat-people!
Start-to-finish, this is the best issue yet of “Batman: Eternal” yet. Ray Fawkes’ script intersperses a lot of action with flashbacks that show us just how dangerous Deacon Blackfire is going to be. This issue is pushing us toward the complete chaos that’s about to erupt in Gotham (and Batman is completely unprepared for it.)
While Batwing and Corrigan fight a bunch of mindless zombie-like people beneath Arkham, we get a look at Deacon Blackfire’s origins, which involve chaining up Batman and then getting his ass kicked.
Meanwhile in Tokyo, Robin and Harper question Sergei Alexandrov about the nanotech that’s ravaging the poorest parts of Gotham. (Love the panel of Harper taking a selfie with Sergei’s monkey, Maxwell.)
It all builds toward a climactic ending that shows Blackfire raising a team of Bat-people who most assuredly are heading for the surface, but it also leaves our heroes in danger and readers wanting for more.
I wish every comic was this good.
Next Issue: 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..
Next week’s cameo: Killer Croc splashes around.
Was I right?
Last time, I predicted, “Deacon Blackfire shows off some of his power. Batman is finally drawn to Arkham and, while he’s not watching, Bard crosses a major line. Sergei isn’t responsible for the nanovirus, but he knows who is. Vicki Vale teases Bard. Gordon has a tough choice to make. Falcone flexes his power from within Blackgate.” I also predicted an appearance of the full power of The Spectre.
We got a full dose of Deacon Blackfire this time. Since the issue mostly focused on Arkham, we didn’t see much of Batman, Bard, Vicki Vale, Gordon or Falcone, but I bet we’ll get back to them next issue or the one after. (I’m beginning to realize this series is going to jump around a lot, and I’m trying to make myself be OK with that.) Sergei isn’t responsible for the nanovirus, but it was stolen from him. We didn’t see The Spectre rise up, but Corrigan sure wanted him to. Mabe sometime 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.