Wednesday, May 28, 2014

SPOILERS: Batman Eternal #8

Batman is having a one man Falcone Family punching party all through Gotham, and though he's working hard, it's all for nothing, Commissioner Forbes doesn't accept any criminals turned in by Batman. Speaking of Forbes, once Carmine Falcone gets the message Batman aimed to deliver (You know, a "This is MY city" sort of deal), Falcone phones his good buddy Forbes to tell him that enough is enough, take the Batman down.

Back in the cave, Bruce is digging up some dirt on Falcone, who set up a pretty extensive criminal empire in Hong Kong after fleeing Gotham, the only question is why he came back to Gotham, and why now? Bruce wants to do some cross reference on Falcone's Hong Kong associates and the men he turned into the GCPD, but surprise, none of them were booked!

Elsewhere, Jason Bard is showing up to a murder scene a couple of days after the fact, and is instantly ambushed by Vicki Vale, looking for info on the GCPD's stance on the gang war that has seemed to break out, and why the response on this murder came so late... What about that murder?

Well, two days ago, Stephanie Brown was in another phone booth trying to call her mother, who didn't pick up, and was talking to her ex-husband Cluemaster about their problems with her instead. As Steph is on the phone, some dude kicks her out of it before she can hang up, and lucky for her, because a drive by set for the exact phone booth she was in happens just seconds later, thus, the dead guy Bard is laying "fresh eyes" on. After all that, Bard stops Vicki in her tracks and points out that he's one, not going to just hand out off the record info, and two wouldn't even think of doing that, regardless of protocol, with a reporter he doesn't have a relationship with. HINT HINT... probably. But hey! Forbes is on the phone, and it's Batman setup time.

So the signal goes off, Bard making it known how uncomfortable he is with this plan. Batman shows up and tries to reason with Forbes, but Dickhead isn't having it. All the sudden, Bard tells the D-Team of SWAT officers to fire, and D-Team consists of smoke ammunition, which Bruce uses to get away, making note of Bard potentially being on his side.

So with the knowledge that he has at least some allies in the GCPD left, Bruce figures it's time to do some direct research on Carmine Falcone and heads off to Hong Kong. On his arrival in the Batplane, a woman (who is confirmed to be a new character) who is in some Splinter Cell looking gear, repels down a skyscraper, notices the Batplane, and seems familiar, but not too pleased with Batman's presence in the city.


The Good:

Like I predicted, now that the one-shot issues from each writer are out of the way, the book has seemingly gotten back to pretty solid short arcs which will flow better from issue to issue. This one didn't go off in a whole bunch of new tangents, but instead started to really develop the plots that had already been introduced, most of which were from John Layman's issue #4. 

Of those plots, I'm interested to see what goes down in Hong Kong, and who that lady is. Apparently she's of some big consequence, as both Scott Snyder and James Tynion have been saying the character introduced in this arc is pretty big. But besides that mystery lady, I always enjoy when Batman gets out of Gotham, but there's also so much going back in the city, you know we'll also get our fill of it with cutaways for the next couple of issues, or for however long Bruce is in Hong Kong. Visually speaking, Hong Kong does create the potential of some beautiful imagery.

Speaking of visuals! GUILLEM MARCH! This guy has been one of my favorite artists at DC since Gotham City Sirens, and I'm glad to once again have him back in Gotham, with colorist Tomeu Morey, who does an excellent job of complimenting his work. March gets stereotyped too much as a cheese-cake guy, and yeah, he draws a lot of it, but so do a lot of other artists from Spain or South America, and if I'm being honest? I don't mind cheesecake every now and then, and love me some pinups, fucking sue me. But I digress, because the point is, there's not a bit of cheesecake in this issue, nothing but badass looking Batman, so the haters can go suck it as far as I'm concerned. 

The Bad:

This marks the beginning of the end for John Layman in Gotham! Sad.

Also, I thought it was a bit silly and naive of Batman not to realize that Forbes was on the take from Falcone and turning the GCPD against him.

The Steph Brown mom thing still bums me out.

The Bottom Line:

Focus is what I said Eternal needed the last couple of issues, and focus is what it got. The series has moved past the constant introduction of new players and concepts, and has finally started to really develop some of those early plot lines that were promised. That's not to say we're done getting new characters and concepts, the final page is proof enough we're far from done, but for awhile there, Etenral was like walking through the perfume section from hell with sales associates spraying shit in your face left and right, but that time has passed, all the core ingredients are in place, and now it's time for the flavor... METAPHORS! But in all seriousness, solid issue, and I'm glad the core setup seems to be over and everything else is moving forward.


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