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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Tales from the $2.99 Bin! - Batman Eternal #1-#4

Well, it’s back to the present for this post. One thing I can say about the Batman comics franchise is that there are a crapton of books out there. It seems like it's still growing especially with the whole “New 52” craze still going on. Is “New 52” even a thing now? Would it be “Old 52” or “Not-So-New 52?” It’s kind of confusing. On Batman’s side of things, you can’t go wrong with Scott Snyder’s Batman book. I’m not looking at that today, but I just needed to say that right now. It’s one of the books that has stayed consistently good throughout DC's “New 52” phase.

Today, I’ll be looking at the first four issues of Batman Eternal, a recent weekly series. It’s done in the same way as series like 52, Countdown to Final Crisis, and Trinity. It centers on Batman and his entire gallery of allies and villains. Like those series, you have a lot of folk on the book. Scott Snyder provides the overall story while others like James Tynion IV, Ray Fawkes, John Layman, and Tim Seeley provide the script or are consulting writers. The book also has rotating artists. The pencillers for these four issues are Jason Fabok and Dustin Nguyen.

Batman Eternal #1-#4
Story: Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV
Consulting Writers: John Layman, Ray Fawkes, and Tim Seeley
Pencils: Jason Fabok (#1-#3) and Dustin Nyugen (#4)
Inks: Jason Fabok (#1-#3) and Derek Fridolfs (#4)
Colors: Brad Anderson (#1-#3) and John Kalisz (#4)

After we get an ominous first page with Gotham City burning, we jump back to the present and get introduced to Jason Bard, a new lieutenant for the GCPD. While he’s getting introduced to the department, Comm. Gordon and Batman are trying to take down the sick villain known as Professor Pyg. Batman shows off the latest Iron Man suit and gets the villain and his gang on the run. While Batman apprehends Pyg, Gordon chases one of Pyg’s henchmen into a subway. Gordon shoots at the supposedly armed man and hits a control box that explodes and kills the man. This also causes a massive train wreck. When it’s revealed to Gordon that the man was actually unarmed, he gets arrested by the police.
Man, Bruce is still trying to compete with Tony Stark!

The media releases info on the accidents and all of Batman’s allies find out about what happened to Gordon. At GCPD, Batman and Gordon talk about what happened. Batman thinks there’s foul play involved but Gordon’s not so sure. Meanwhile, a certain spirit of vengeance (The Spectre) wants to know what happened with the accident and there’s stuff going down at Arkham. There’s always stuff going down at Arkham. While being pestered by Catwoman, Batman finds out that Pyg’s henchman used to work for a notorious gangster called Carmine Falcone. It’s revealed that Falcone is back in Gotham and is making plans to take over again.
Batman: The Caped Crusader, The Dark Knight, and The Absolute Woman Magnet! It's has to be the car.

In the third issue, we get more of Falcone’s plans to take back Gotham. He plans to start a gang war with the Penguin who took a lot of his power in Gotham. He’s also in league with the mayor and the new commissioner as they will turn their eyes away from the gang war and instead focus on Batman. Also, another villain plot is kicking up. Stephanie Brown goes to her dad’s house and finds out her dad (the Cluemaster) is a part of a cabal of villains. He tries to kill her but she’s able to escape the house. Meanwhile, Batman is trying to find out more about Falcone’s return and this new gang war.
 I bet people are glad that Stephanie Brown is back. I'm kind of one of them.

The fourth issue shows the arraignment of Gordon. He ends up being sent to Blackgate Prison which riles up his daughter, Barbara. She does her own investigative work but Batman disapproves since she’s too invested in it. Meanwhile, the GCPD get used to Comm. Forbes’ corrupted butt. Also, Stephanie contacts her mother and tells her about her father. Unbeknownst  to Stephanie, her mother’s in with her villainous father. As Batman has a confrontation with Falcone, Gordon gets taken to Blackgate Prison. The issue ends with Gordon being locked up.
Dang. 

……………………………………………………………

These were some nice issues. I think it was the third issue that got me to add this book to my pull list. At least it’s only $2.99 because there’s no way I’d buy a $3.99 weekly book. We get a lot of things set up for the series. I like that we get to see the overall feel of Gotham City. We get gangsters, corrupt politicians, crazy villains, and costumed vigilantes. It's so immersed in Batman's world.

We also get a mystery that is pretty interesting. I'm interested in seeing how all of these subplots tie together.We get reintroduced to existing characters like Jason Bard and Stephanie Brown. I also like the characterization of everybody. I especially lie the interactions between Batman and Gordon. The artwork is pretty good. Fabok delivers on all fronts with those first three issues. The action is quite nice and the slower moments are interesting too. Nyugen’s artwork is a little more stylized than Fabok’s but it works as well. His action beats and quiet moments are also good. I really don’t have any problems with the four issues.

Right now, the series is about to be at #15 and it’s been a good ride. I will say that some artwork on later issues isn’t as good, but that happens when you have a lot of rotating artists. Well, I think it’s time to go back to the 1980’s and see a story that redefined the Batman for a long time. Peace and God Bless.

NEXT TIME: IT’S MILLER TIME!!!

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