Wednesday, April 23, 2014

SPOILERS: Batman Eternal #3

Because Stephanie Brown has all of the best luck in the world, when she goes back to her dad's house (despite her mother pleading with her not to) she comes to find that her father is a criminal by the name of Cluemaster, and is currently meeting with the likes of Firefly, Lockup, Signal Man and a mysterious fourth man, who knocks her out form the shadows.

Back at the GCPD, the rookie officer Strode is speaking with Bullock, feeling like everything is about to get a whole lot worse, which he agrees to. Bullock and Major Dickhead Forbes go at it verbally a bit, until Maggie walks in to tell Forbes the Mayor wants to see him. Elsewhere, Jason Bard speaks with Gordon, telling him they'll figure it all out, and if not them, asking if Batman will, but Gordon can't assure Bard of anything.

With Carmine Falcone back in town, Batman takes a visit to the Gotham underworld, specifically to say hello to The Penguin, asking if he knows anything. It's clear Penguin doesn't know a thing, and given the history of what happened between him and Falcone five years ago, the only thing Falcone would come to him for now would be to put a bullet between his eyes.

Speaking of Falcone, he's present with Mayor Hady and meets with Forbes, who is very aware of who Carmine Falcone is, telling the mobster that he was a fan of how Gotham was run when the Falcone family was in power. So, with Gotham in need of a new commissioner... yeah, you get where this is going.

Back int he Batcave, Bruce is stilt trying to figure everything out about the train accident, but with nothing showing up in Gordon's blood tests, the question of how he seemed to have seen a gun on the man he shot at is still a big question mark. But that's going to have to wait, as Falcone's men start moving in one The Penguin's territory around the city, setting off alarms all over the place.

Back to Stephanie, as she starts to come to, the fifth villain still lurking in the shadows speaks of their plans and how deep they go, and the only person who knows of them other than those seated at the table is Cluemaster's daughter, so that's going to be a problem. An act of dedication is asked to be shown by Cluemaster, and being father of the year, it doesn't take much to convince him to put a gun to his daughter's head, telling her she's always been a disappointment. But, fearing for her life, Steph quickly pulls the pin on one of the gas canisters around her father's belt and makes a break for it.

After Batman beats up the thugs torching Penguin's territories, he finds that they were expecting to be caught, as they've got a message to deliver to him on behalf of Falcone: "We're the law now."

Penguin gets word of the Falcones moving in on his territory, but it's not just one, they're moving in on all of it, much quicker than anyone could expect, leading Penguin to realize the city just went to war.

With the city going to shit (again), Maggie walks into the GCPD to tell everyone to suit up, but Forbes stops them all. Followed by the Mayor, he's introduced to his fellow policemen as the new interim Commissioner, and what he says goes from now on. So instead of dealing with the gangs, Forbes refocuses all their attention on bringing down the real threat (in his mind)... Batman!

And as we saw in Batman #28, Steph knows everything, but now everyone wants to kill her, and her mom won't pick up the phone. Welcome back, Steph.


The Good:

I liked how things escalated with the gang war this issue, specifically the scene where Penguin realizes that he's getting attacked on all fronts. It just felt very cinematic in a way, and I could see that specific element of the issue as a scene or two in a movie. Then of course we have the reintroduction of Stephanie Brown, who despite everyone wanting dead already, it's good to see her back in comics.

The Bad:

Where last issue started to show the scale of everything else going on from creepy shit going down in Arkham to the friggen Spectre showing up in Gotham, this issue dials things back quite a bit. I imagine this is going to be the M.O. of the series going forward, some issues are sort of crazy followed by another that's focused on the small scale stuff. It's just a roller coaster of expectations, and I was a little bummed to see things scale back bit this issue.

The Bottom Line:

Three weeks in, and Eternal continues to develop into what is sure to be a great story. New characters and developments continue to be introduced all while teasing that the surface has barely begun to be scratched. While there's a lot to be excited about, I feel like the end of this third issue, which was supposed to be the initial "arc" to set up the series, having everything span out from here, fell just a bit flat. Sure Gordon being locked up, Carmine Falcone taking control of the GCPD and Steph knowing something are all big developments, but as of right now they're just big in their potential. Basically, the snowball has only begun to roll down the hill. I feel like this issue could have ended on a more exciting note to really kick off the series, as if these three issues were a pre-title card sequence that ended on a  big crazy moment, followed by a cut to black and the "Batman Eternal" title fading up. Yeah yeah, movie jargon and this is comics, blah blah blah, but all I'm saying is that I think this issue could have benefited from a bit more crazy excitement to really kick-start the series as a whole.



  1. Any clues on who the mystery man in Cluemaster's group may be?

  2. You're right there hasn't been any real hook at the end of this intro arc, which is why I consider these three issues more like those prologue comic books they sometimes release ahead of comic book movies... Just set up for the really good stuff.

  3. We see Mr. Combustible in this issue. Didn't he died in Arkham War #4?