Wednesday, April 30, 2014

SPOILERS: Batman Eternal #4

Things aren't going well for James Gordon, and by day, he gets his parole request denied and sentenced to be placed in Blackgate until his trial, by night, Batgirl takes it upon herself to figure out who set up her father by beating the shit out of Pyg's men, and Batman when he tries to stop her.

Elsewhere in Gotham, Stephanie Brown is staying on the move, knowing too much of her father's plans to essentially to burn down Gotham, as well as the police being in on it. She finally gets in contact with her mom who seems to have a hard time believing her, but offers to pick her up... After Steph's mother hangs up the phone, SURPRISE! NEW 52, SUCKAS! She's in on everything with Cluemaster, and contacts her ex-husband to tell him he has a problem.

Back at the GCPD, Dickhead Forbes is all high and mighty after getting Gordon sent away, and checks in on Jason Bard, who wants to assemble a task force to try and stop the impending gang-war before it happens... But after learning that Batman had been the one to capture Pyg's men the night before, he denies the request, and reminds everyone that they're focused on finding and taking down Batman.

Knowing his old BFF is in town, Batman decides to pay Carmine Falcone a visit to basically say "Look motherfucker, I know what you're up to, I can't prove it, but I'm watching you." then of course Falcone plays dumb, saying he's just in town to make Gotham right again... and wrap up some unfinished business, making a note of the scratch scars on his face.

Bruce returns tot he cave to find Barbara at the computer recreating a holoprojection of the train station's security cameras, having noticed one man who spent three hours at the station, not doing anything or talking to anyone, only to leave right before the crash. She determines the man, Gonzolo Dominguez, a brazillian soap opera star, with Interpol red flags connecting him to the drug trade, to be the man who set her father up, or have something to do with it at least. Bruce points out she has no way of knowing that, but it doesn't matter to Babs, as she leaves the cave, determined to prove her father's innocence... hey, remember that cover that had her fighting with Scorpiana?

And finally, Gordon is welcomed into Blackgate, by the Warden he discharged from the force, and many of the criminals he had put there to begin with. As his cellmate Mr. Leone obviously points out... cops in Blackgate are pretty much there on a death sentence.


The Good:

DUSTIN NGUYEN! Always good to have him back in Gotham. His and Dini's stuff was among the first Batman work I read when I started picking up individual issues, so he's always got a special place in my heart in terms of Batman artists. 

Like last week, there weren't many crazy developments or reveals on the Spectre level, but you can definitely see where things may start to branch off, with Falcone's hinting at a conflict between Catwoman and himself, Batgirl and a meeting with Scorpiana given the Brazilian connection, and so on. I will say that the twist surrounding Crystal Brown was generally surprising though.

The Bad:

But that doesn't mean I necessarily enjoyed the twist. Steph's got enough problems, always has, but if there was one thing I liked about her pre-New 52, it's that she had at least one parent who cared... Now... Oh look, more fucking angst in the New 52. Maybe I'm judging things to early... but her contacting her ex-husband, who is in full costume, and telling him he's got a problem seems pretty crystal clear.

Finally, John Layman took lead on this issue, and I don't know if it's just the nature of working off the outline that was given to him, or maybe he had already begun to shift focus back to his other priorities, but this issue just seemed sort of plain for him. His Tec stuff had a bunch of weird (enjoyable) elements, and I didn't really get a sense of his individual voice this issue. I mean, it was good, but I couldn't really tell that Layman wrote it.

The Bottom Line:

With the initial setup out of the way, we are now starting to see where Batman Eternal's various plots will begin to separate and go their own way, all while continuing to develop and add or hint at larger additions to the big picture. The only drawback I can really find this week is the fact that I couldn't really tell this issue, which was scripted by Layman, apart from the first three that were scripted by Snyder and Tynion. Going forward, I hope that the individual issues/arcs will have more noticeable differences in styles between the writers. That said, through it's first month, Batman Eternal has had an incredibly strong debut and doesn't seem to be slowing down anytime soon.



  1. Yeah, seemed like a ho-hum issue. Pretty standard tension between bat-family members. I concur on the silliness of having Steph's mother in on the conspiracy -- it does smack of New 52 contrived angst.

    That said, I imagine this is sort of what Eternal's going to be like; issues with reveals (#2), issues with action (#3), and then slower, "fallout"/table-setting issues like this. It's hard to judge the individual issues because it's going to be such a long-form story. Will be interesting to finally get the full "arcs" by each writer.

    1. I actually chuckled a little with the mother's reveal. Nothing says EVIL PLOTTING like video conferencing!