Wednesday, February 11, 2015

SPOILERS: Batman Eternal #45

This is one of those issues where a character has some commentary on the current events that just highlights every problem I'm having, then I try and sit and think whether or not the book is just being meta or totally oblivious.

The Spoilers:

So Milo has summoned some ghosts or something that end up starting to kill him, Batman tries to stop them, cops show up, try to arrest him, but Batman is trying to save Milo, so he uses a flash bang and escapes. Meanwhile Batwing is fighting ghosts in his apartment, Jim Corrigan shows up and is all "Sorry, I know your faith is shaken up, but if you need to talk" and all that. Batman calls them about Milo.

Corrigan talks to Milo, finds out he was using some sketchy magic from a book he found (purposely, no doubt) that was meant to fuel all this anger and hate for Blackfire, as part of someone's plan (guess what, he doesn't know who that someone is, shocker). Turns out some bird in a dream told Milo to do this. Corrigan isn't sure what kind of bird... I bet it was an owl.

Back to Steph and Harper, Steph is continuing to make her case, saying that everything and everyone has just been a pawn in this plan in order to make one big glorious mess of Gotham. Pawns... as in the disposable chess pieces, the cannon fodder, the ones that don't really matter... Yeah, everyone so far. 45 issues of pawns. Okay. We'll talk about this later. Blah blah blah, Steph still blames Batman for creating all this, and Bruce Wayne for orchestrating it. Harper points a motion sensor taser at her and tells her to stay put, because she likes her, but she has to go talk to Batman.

Back in the cave Bruce and Julia are looking into how Wayne Enterprises was divided after the sale, and Bruce notices all the companies that "legally" bought Wayne Enterprises have names that reference Arabic demon legends... So, time to find Ra's al'Ghul, because fuck it, why not?


The Opinion:

So, if you were paying attention, it was that scene with Steph and Harper that fueled my frustration for this week. Flat out just saying everything to this point has been pawn after pawn, there's no leader, it's just chaos. In a lot of ways, this story is quite a bit like "Knightfall" where Bane unleashed chaos onto Gotham, and it was just one villain after another... but the key difference there was, Batman didn't know what was behind it all, but the readers did. Very basic use of dramatic irony. So while Batman was subjected to random villain attacking one after another, much like Eternal has presented, the purpose of the whole thing was known to the reader the entire time, yet we've read 45 issues with no real purpose other than "someone wants to fuck with Batman for some reason." And people really question why I'm frustrated to no end with this book? And then, thank god we saw the cover and knew this was coming anyways, the book just decides to randomly throw Ra's into the mix with no subtly at all, it's literally just "SURPRISE! Ra's al'Ghul time!" There's a line about liking to be wined and dined that applies here. Sure, we'll eventually get the reveal, and we'll get a page of exposition where the real bad guy tries to connect the dots of this hazy plot, but is it going to really matter in the end? Spoilers, Batman wins.

This book.


  1. If they revealed the villain in this series like they did with Bane in Knightfall, more of a spotlight would shined on that villain rather than Batman himself and I feel that happens way too often in comics (Batman stories especially). So, I like the fact that this series is so focused on Batman and everything that makes him special that we don't even know the identity of the main villain and not giving that character to steal focus before, like you said, is inevitably defeated by Batman.

    1. "focused on Batman and everything that makes him special" is the most generic thing I've ever heard. Every week it's Batman going to Villain X Y or Z going "WHO SET THIS UP?" rinse and repeat. The book hardly has a focus, what once felt like a giant web early on in the series has just turned into a bunch of random points that no doubt will hastily attempted to be made sense of in the end.

      And back to the "what makes him special" stuff, what exactly is that? Batman the character has hardly been developed any further in this entire run, because like I said, he just goes around every issue without any clue of what's going on. So sorry, maybe the focus should be elsewhere on characters and concepts that can be developed further rather than Batman continuing to tell us he doesn't know anything more than us.

    2. Well it wouldn't be much of a celebration of what makes Batman special if they changed. Him being developed further is being saved for Endgame.
      But the one thing I have liked about this series is that they are stripping every superfluous aspect of Batman's character (ie his company and his gadgets), and leaving him with his skills as a detective and mental fortitude to solve a case on a scale that he's never seen before. Now, how this relates to this particular arc that is especially frustrating you is that by not revealing the main villain's identity, we have the opportunity to compare our own frustration of not knowing to how Batman is able to keep his cool. Also, the rinse and repeat method you mentioned spotlights the type of interaction he has with some of the types of rogues or, in some case like Riddler and Ra's, the rogues he faces and how he is able to mentally maneuver them.
      That being said, I do believe this series has a problem conveying that at times and I didn't mean to make it seem like I think this series is perfect but I have been enjoying it more than some it appears.

  2. That's why Ra's is so overtly probably a red herring, though. I haven't exactly gone back looking for every little clue, but I've breezed through enough times to know there's not actually any proper "Ra's al Ghul" foreshadowing.

    The Hush parallels are pretty obvious though.

    1. There are tons of Lincoln March foreshadowings, though.

    2. I bet the bird in milo's dream was an owl

    3. Ra's is no doubt a red herring, but we're far too late in the game for anymore fucking red herrings. The guy who set it all up looks like Bruce Wayne. Lincoln March done. But the fact that we just haven't gotten there yet is just fucking mind boggling.

      (Hush doesn't look like Bruce in New 52, and was specifically crossed out by Steph this issue)