Wednesday, May 14, 2014

SPOILERS: Batman Eternal #6

Gotham is a weird place at the moment, as heroes like Batwing are going up against villains like Gentleman Ghost. Why? Who knows! But when Batman shows up with a Nth Metal batarang, he pretty much goes "Man, this place is weird!" too! But beneath them, Doctor Phosphorus is out, and up to something below Gotham.

Bruce returns to the cave to find Alfred a little uncomfortable, turns out they have a guest, and Alfred doesn't even have to say a name, just how the guest makes him feel, and Bruce knows who it is... Jim Corrigan, host of the Spectre.

Corrigan waits in the library, pleased to see Bruce, and goes on to tell them that there's something wrong at Arkham Asylum, in a spiritual sense. Bruce can't really be bothered with Arkham at the moment, as Falcone is keeping him occupied, but Corrigan wasn't looking for help, just giving him a heads up. Nevertheless, Bruce decides to send one of his allies into Arkham with Corrigan.

At Arkham, some poor sap blabbering about a dream he had, where he was walking through a maze with tons of handprints on the walls, is being lead into the depths of the asylum by his doctor... Eventually, the walls start to show a bunch of handprints on them, and things start getting creepy (along with a Maxie Zeus cameo). Turns out this doctor has a boss at the Asylum who isn't exactly employed there... Instead, she's preforming some sort of ritual summoning deep beneath the Asylum in order to "bring the man back." Who is this I'm talking about? Joker's Daughter... and congrats for her first mentioning here at Gotham Spoilers that isn't followed by sarcasm!

Elsewhere in Gotham, Luke is hanging out with a friend while an explosion, attached to the gangway, goes off across town. It doesn't take long for Luke to get a call from Batman, but instead of heading towards the explosion, he's told to head to Arkham to meet Jim Corrigan. Batwing eventually does meet up with Corrigan, who casts a protection spell on Luke. The two prepare to brave the asylum, with Luke's only advice from Batman being that if Jim's eyes and mouth begin to pour smoke, run away.

But what about the explosion? Well, that's for Batman to deal with. He rushes towards the scene, looking to put out the fire (so to speak) before Penguin has time to retaliate, but seems like it's all a big setup. Remember Phosphorus? Well someone is leading him along the sewers, telling him it's go time, and as soon as Bruce turns a corner in the bat mobile, an 18 wheeler pulls out in front of him, and is caught in manhole explosion set off by Phosphorus.


The Good:

I wasn't really aware of what to expect from Corrigan, I thought maybe we'd get that typical stoic intimidating mystic sort of characterization, but I was quite pleasantly surprised to see him a bit more light-hearted, all things considered. His familiarness with Bruce almost seemed friendly, and he had a certain bit of wit to him. It was just really different than what I predicted and I thought it was cool to see that there's a distinct different between Corrigan and Corrigan as the Spectre. Then of course the Spectre's presence in Gotham is just curious in general, and I'm really interested in seeing how this mystic stuff that Fawkes is cooking up is going to be tied to everything else. 

On the subject of the art, once again, Eternal has another strong visual issue with Trevor McCarthy illustrating this one, and it's becoming clear that of the three weekly series DC has, Eternal definitely has the best art talent. 

The Bad:

While Trevor McCarthy's art is great, my only problem with it was that it seemed a little standard next to his Batwoman work, which had much more wild and interesting layouts. Of course, Batwoman had a pretty high bar set in terms of visuals, so it's hard to compare the two titles, I'd just like to see McCarthy given some room to stretch if he draws anymore Eternal issues in the future.

Like the other single issues, things seemed a bit disconnected from the story as a whole, and the issue ends on a somewhat abrupt, lackluster moment. 

The Bottom Line:

As with the most recent issues Batman Eternal #6 sets up another path for this series to eventually go down, but due to the structure of these single individual issues from the different writers, everything feels a bit disconnected and not as cohesive as one such as myself might like. This will probably be fixed once we start getting solid arcs from each writer, but as of right now, going from low-level criminals, to nanobots, and now to supernatural stuff, Eternal just seems choppy at the moment. Despite the flow form issue to issue being a bit disrupted, what is set up here could very well be the most interesting part of Eternal due to the wildcard nature of supernatural elements, especially within a story about corruption, organized crime, etc. Eternal is definitely cooking up something good, but I'm ready for things to start getting a bit more consistent from issue to issue.



  1. Haven't read any of Joker's Daughter's other appearances, so I'm glad my first exposure actually made me interested in the character.

  2. Looking at the doctor who brought that patient to Joker's Daughter, he looks familiar. He has a similar haircut to Professor Milo. You think its him?

    1. Eh, maybe? There was so little actual focus given to him, I sort of just wrote the character off as being inconsequential.

  3. Not going to be negative, but a bit critical:

    There's so much random stuff happening in Eternal. I feel like a lot of it is being used just to introduce New 52 iterations of various obscure, forgotten, or tangential characters. It also sort of feels like the "cameos" are being forced -- "Hey, look, we're working in the Falcones, and Penguin, and Joker's Daughter, and so on..."

    Another problem I kind of have is that, like a lot of Snyder stories, the details to this have been spilled in advance -- namely by that Thanksgiving teaser picture, but also with Batman #28. As the solicits are coming, it's confirming everything we suspected: Gordon's framed and in prison, Alfred gets injected with fear toxin and goes to the nuthouse, there's a (nanobug?) plague in Gotham...

    Anyway, I realize it's still very early in the story, but I'm kind of underwhelmed so far. I realize not every "event" Batman story has to tell an entirely original tale, and there's only so much you can do with a character that's 70 years old, but I'm having a hard time seeing how this is supposed to be some sort of game-changing Batman story that it's being sold as. Honestly, I'm worried that it's suffering not so much from being weekly, but from being a story by committee.

    That said, I'm going to continue to give it some more time. I just hope we start to get an idea of what the heck the long-game and/or payoff could be here.

    (Also, $12 a month is a lot to shell out for one story, especially for an entire year.)

    1. It seems random because it's a weekly series, and because it's a weekly series, there's a lot to cover, because there just has to be a lot of content… because it's a weekly series. It's a snake eating it's own tail basically. Endless cycle. We're still in the setup phase, and yeah, the way they're doing it is a bit rough, having each writer setup their own corners of the stories, but I expected it to tighten up with #8 and on.