Wednesday, March 25, 2015

SPOILERS: Batman Eternal #51

Told you... 211 days ago, to be exact.

The Spoilers:

So Cluemaster fancies himself the big mastermind, finds out Batman is Bruce Wayne and just loves his victory while the city burns and all the heroes are occupied elsewhere. He even does the bad guy thing and explains how he set it all up (very poorly, I might add), and hahaha, he won!

Elsewhere, the GCPD is planning to take back the city one district at a time with all the resources Bard managed to gather (through devious means, which no one seems to want to address, but I guess he hasn't been totally exposed yet? But people know he broke out The Architect, right? Fuck, I've lost track). Gordon is ready to hit the streets, but Bard wants him to guide his old men. Gordon refuses, saying Bard's the commissioner now and reminds Bard what he told him about Gotham and why he was hired early on in the series.

Then there's Steph. She totally wants to bail, and I guess tries to convince Harper to do the same. Harper's just like "You don't get it, but whatever, BYE." And Steph rides off into the fiery sunset... But assuming we're to believe the Tec issue of Endgame, she'll be back next week.

Back to Cluemaster, who basically said "I DID THIS ALL" without giving any explanation to the "clues" he had mentioned, but you know, whatever. But there's a problem, someones at the front door and gassed Ratcatcher, Signalman and all those other D-listers. Meanwhile while Cluemaster is all hyped that a nobody like himself beat Batman, Bruce breaks out of his chains and starts beating the shit out of Cluemaster. But Bruce is tired, so Cluemaster manages to take some of the beating and is happy that a mark will be left, or no one would believe him.

You know in all the movies when the bad guys just ramble on and we're all just like "you know, if you just shot the good guy right now, you'd win" well, Cluemaster is smart in that regard, and basically just goes "Okay, I'm just going to shoot you in the head now." OH WAIT, his throat just got slit. Gurgling on his blood, he looks up and says this wasn't part of the plan...



The Opinion:

So, like I said... told you. Whatever, I'm not going to bask in my clairvoyant glory or anything, because while I was right with who the big bad was, this hardly makes up for the insanely decompressed story that this was.

Let's just address Cluemaster first. Last issue he ended it by saying that Bruce just had to follow the clues... But what clues were there to him being the big bad guy? Spoilers: There were none, and that's why I was so fucking angry at the last issue. Like I had said, people had guessed Cluemaster was the bad guy, but their only reasoning was "I don't know, no one would expect that so probably?" and that's Cluemaster's only real reasoning in the book. His explanation was that he put some drugs in Gordon's coffee which caused the train accident, and before that he'd sent out the invitations. No explanation of all that supernatural shit, whoever was talking to Joker's Daughter off panel, etc. That's it. No real clues, no nothing. Meanwhile last week I'm reading some of the professional sites like "This reveal was so well played and we just had to go back and look at all the clues and blah blah blah" and I'm just sitting her like "no it fucking wasn't" and sure enough, no it fucking wasn't. So I mean, because this issue barely justifies Cluemaster, it bothered me, but who cares at this point? Whatever, we got Lincoln March to deal with now.

So why doesn't the guy I said would show up 200+ days ago showing up not fixing everything? Because we get back to the issue of pacing. Unless next week's issue ends with "Don't worry, we'll deal with him for realzies in Batman Eternal 2" which would be infuriating, then we have just one single issue to wrap everything up. Remember in high school english, at some point you were introduced to the plot curve diagram with exposition, rising action, climax, falling action, resolution, and all that? Well, the curve of Batman Eternal is entirely fucked, because we got the true climax of the story 51 issues deep, literally on page 1,020. Now we have to deal with everything in one single (albeit a little oversized) issue next week. After weeks and months of the story not progressing anywhere in any meaningful way, it goes from zero to 100 with a single page and now everything hinges on being wrapped up in a satisfying manner next issue, and I don't believe that's possible. That's why I've been at odds with this book for so long, because there was just so much NOTHING, and it got to the point where you knew everything that was meaningful would be saved for the last issue, and sure enough that was right and I hate that. Like imagine in Endgame, the Joker wasn't actually used until the final issue, that'd be entirely frustrating right? What this book was missing was just a final arc of Bruce and company learning what the deal was, hitting the absolute low point for all of them in the series, and fighting back to ultimately win, in some form or another. But no, it's still just 28 to 30 or so pages to deal with this reveal, hit a low, then fight back to end on a high note, maybe.

But hey... at least I was right in that March call. That was something.


  1. That's the thing, though: Cluemaster, for all his plans, is still completely deluded. Things only worked out because he invited people who are actually GOOD at being villains to his party, like Falcone, Hush, etc. And in the end, he didn't have the control he thought he had, so he was just a big hypocrite preaching at Batman for the things he himself was guilty of. He thought he left a trail of clues to follow, but he was just full of himself, thinking he was clever enough to fool Batman, which he was, but even he was being manipulated.

    But yeah, of course it was Lincoln March, man. Nobody should feel special for figuring that out. I had him pegged since near the beginning. There's that whole undercurrent of "the forgotten and ignored" in Eternal that March fits perfectly in. Who was standing in the shadows wringing his hands while Bruce was supposedly stealing his life? Thomas Wayne Jr, Lincoln March.

  2. Interesting take on the reveal - my sense of the big reveal was that Cluemaster was saying "All the clues were red herrings." I'm not sure if that's a brilliant take on the character or a completely antithetical misreading, but I'm kind of happy with the idea of someone abusing Batman's "world's greatest detective" status by essentially leading him on a wild goose chase. All the pieces that don't add up seem to be the result of the invited villains doing their own thing, something Cluemaster didn't really care about so long as Batman was kept distracted.

    That said, I wonder if March has been more involved than we thought, maybe cleaning up the pieces Cluemaster left behind. (Maybe he was talking to Joker's Daughter and Hush to try to corral them into his own shady plan?)

  3. After the last issue, I was fully sure it's Cluemaster... I admitted Snyder & Co wanted us to think it's Lincoln just to make the reveal more shocking... and infuriating. Honestly, I wanted badly to the story from Court of Owls to continue... I wanted Lincoln March to be the Big Bad. But now... I don't know what to say, maybe I'll be happy about this tomorrow. Right now I'm confused. Yeah, and Lincoln's face is drawn very bad, and his outer mask looks like stupid hat... Hope he'll look better next issue.

  4. I give you your credit for making the lincoln march call but due to their extremely poor pacing I still feel cheated. to have him for 1 page and 1 issue is a waste of a terrific villain and plot lines. Such as the court of owls is still around (as seen in end game) and they want lincoln march dead more than anyone! So why wouldn't they be involved? Shouldn't they have known he was back in town and have been hunting him down this entire time? Speaking of wasted plot lines the whole supernatural/joker's daughter angle was completely fumbled and dropped. I would like to think that there were grander plans initially than Batwing putting Nth metal on his gloves and punching ghosts in his apartment

  5. Ah March. Even my Hurt-fixation always included March being involved. He was certainly low-hanging fruit, or Captain Obvious, or whatever. The lack of the Court of Owls "in general" was pretty conspicuous.

    I doubt Cluemaster dies perma-death. Be cool if a villainous monologue resulted in a mute villain, though. Want to hedge my bets by saying that Doctor Hurt involvement is in no way disproven and there's still room in the last issue for it (because there's just too damn many connections between Lincoln and Hurt for that many damn writers not to have noticed it.)

    Fun. I hope the ending can pull it off satisfactorily. It's got to essentially do another villain monologue, possibly another shocking twist, pull together the allies for a bat-backup, have a donnybrook between Batman and Talonman, wrap a denouement and set up a pre-Endgame status quo.

  6. Don't care much about the reveal, but I was hoping Lincoln would have a new suit :/

  7. Well that was unnecessary . They wanted it to be clue master but he came off so week and the clear evidence that him and hush were talking to someone else was clear as day, but at least Lincoln's here

  8. Before the preview of issue #51 I was sure it's Cluemaster. But since this "oh, you're Bruce Wayne" I started to suspect... no, not Lincoln March. A serious f*ck up of authors. But now everything is just as it appeared to be. Part of me is unhappy: making Arthur a true mastermind and not some idiot would be a nice move... but even bigger part is happier now, the one that expected since issue #1 to see one of my favourite villains again. The only problem is that Lincoln is not that impressive when drawn by someone other than Greg Capullo. Still have big expectations of #52... FINAL BOSS of Eternal!

  9. You know... whole Eternal story would be a nice plotline for a Batman game. "Batman: Arkham Eternal". All subplots could be resolved in any order (first go to Riddler, then for nano-bots... Arkham Asylum could wait), Cluemaster is a cutscene boss or a quick-time event boss (like Hugo Strange was), and then Lincoln March - the true final enemy - appears. Damn. Eternal would rock as a video game.

  10. So this latest reveal means that, when choosing between the lesser of two narrative evils, i.e. (1) having the mastermind be someone who made no sense, and (2) having the big bad be someone who hadn't shown up or even been mentioned for the first 1000 pages of the story --- DC decided to pick them BOTH. Yikes.

    That said, I liked this issue well enough. Required a whole lot of suspension of disbelief but it was entertaining and built well toward whatever the climax will be next issue.


  12. Everyone make sure to shell out another $156 next year to find out if Batman defeats his evil twin or whatever who cares

    1. Apparently on a podcast Snyder said the next volume will be about half the length.

  13. The one flaw I see in your logic is the fact that you think the Bat Family has to hit a lower point than they are already at. I think they really just have to find a way to all team up and take down Lincoln in order for this ending to satisfy.