Wednesday, May 7, 2014

SPOILERS: Batman Eternal #5

Something is up with the kids Pyg supposedly infected, and Tim Drake knows it. Doing scans on all the kids who were kidnapped by Pyg, Tim figures out that they were all showing odd flue like symptoms before they were brought to the museum, and it's all connected to where they live, a projects building in the Narrows... the same one Harper and Cullen row live in, and uh oh, Cullen feels sick!

Elsewhere in Gotham, at the Gazette, Vicki Vale berates the newest young hire at the paper for getting an easy in at the paper, where she had to work for everything. Warren, the guy who broke the story on the Joker, calms her down and gives her some leads to a story he's received tips on, offering  her a chance to cover something other than the Gordon case. Naturally, Vicki takes the scoop, but is forced to bring along the new kid Joey, for the ride.

In the Narrows project complex, Tim is scanning another kid he believes to be infected by... whatever, and knows Batman is watching him. Things are tense between the two, Tim mentioning how messed up things have been since Joker, Damian and now Nightwing, but nevertheless, reveals his findings that these kids are infected with some crazy form of nanobots, for some unknown reason. Bruce seems to recognize them, but doesn't say anything, telling Tim that any weirdness from him at the moment is about the city, not what's happened between them recently, and leaves.

On the streets, Vicki brings Joey into the Narrows to follow up on some leads... then find the biggest, scariest looking motherfucker, and starts asking him about Carmine Falcone, seemingly fully knowing how dumb she's being, but who cares... Well, maybe she'll care when all the thugs she's "interviewing" pull knives on her. Before anything bad can happen, Harper shows up and tasers the thugs, telling Vicki and Joey to follow to her apartment, where they'll be safe.

Inside Harper's apartment, she berates Vicki for being so stupid, which Vicki doesn't seem to care about. Long story short, the thugs kick down the wall, but a story above, the nanobots in that kid activate, attack Tim, and have him crashing down through the ceiling. Shit goes bad, Nanobots attack the thugs after they attack first, Tim finally finds a way to shut the bots down, but they find their way into Cullen. Yeah, things are crazy! You know what else is crazy? Remember the Batman #22 back-up with the guy who trained Bruce Wayne with all sorts of technology? He's responsible for the nanobots! Why? I don't know!


The Good:

Love Andy Clarke's art this issue. I wasn't wild about how he drew Harper in the back third or so of  Batman #12, but this time around, everything looks great, and he's one again matched with Blond's vibrant colors.

Always nice to see Tim actually involved with Gotham, and not that shit show going by the name "Teen Titans."

The Bad:

While there's been a lot of weird stuff introduced in Eternal, most of it has been weird and seemingly out of no where in a good way... The nanobot stuff? Eh... not so much. It just doesn't make a good first impression, and there doesn't even seem to be a hint as to how this is all tied together. The stuff with the nanobots just seemed truly random.

Vicki Vale's characterization seemed really weird. I'm not sure what's she's supposed to be, you know? She just seemed reckless this issue, and not in the badass Lois Lane reckless way, but just the generally fucking stupid reckless. Her stupidity in how she acts is brought up, but she doesn't seem to really care, and again, not in the badass independent way... just plain stupid. 

Also, how does Harper instantly know what a swarm of nanobots are, not thinking it to be a real big deal or anything?

The Bottom Line:

While I thought this issue was generally pretty good, it's probably my least favorite of the series so far. There's a lot going on in Eternal, and while some things seem random, you can sort of make a guess as to why they're happening. Spectre showing up in Gotham? Weird? Yes. Explainable? Sure, we saw some spooky shit going down at Arkham. These nanobots? Just completely random. Like I said above, the elements introduced in this issue just made a bad first impression with me... and Vicki Vale was kind of annoying. That said, let's not play down the great art and solid Tim Drake in Gotham action. There certainly was plenty of that.



  1. I'm increasingly finding this with Tynion's writing. Characterisation seems to be off. Almost like he knows what he wants in his head but has a hard time getting it down on paper.

  2. I'm willing to give Tynion a bit of a pass on the choppiness of the story. The bad characterization of Vicki Vale is galling (I agree, worst part of the issue). I'm also not a huge fan of the "nanobots." If that turns out to be the "plague" previewed in Batman #28, then I guess it is a little more original than just another Legacy Contagion, but it's also a little sci-fi for Batman. So, I dunno. A mixed bag, IMO. 3/5 seems about right.

    (Only other silly thing is Harper straight giving away her identity when she eventually becomes Blue Bird. Just another little weird wrinkle.)