Batman: Eternal #1
By Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Ray Fawkes, Tim Seeley, Jason Fabok
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
So here we are, finally arriving at the beginning of what appears to be the end. At least, that is what Snyder and company would have us believe in the opening pages. But if you’ve been reading the Batman books recently, you’re probably not quite falling for it. Yet. If you’re not reading the Bat books, first of all, shame on you, and second of all, here’s a quick primer if you picked this comic up because the weekly gimmick was too much to pass up.
So this issue is a pretty decent setup for things to come. It has a shocking preview of things to come as well as some great action and a twist ending that no one could see coming. That, and the artwork is beautiful. So when we see an unmasked and beaten Bruce Wayne tied to what looks like a broken Bat Signal, Gotham City aflame, and series big bad a-tauntin’, we know that we’re in for some good storytelling at the cost of our hero’s ever-slipping sanity. We are also introduced to the New 52 Jason Bard, a personal favorite of mine from the pre-Flashpoint era of DC Comics. I can’t wait to see the inevitable accident that will cause him to need a cane, corruption that causes him to leave the G. C. P. D., and, of course, tension when he meets Commissioner Gordon’s daughter and falls for her. But they’ve got plenty of time for that. We are treated to some great fight sequences between Professor Pyg and the mecha-suited Batman (last seen, I believe, in the pages of the now infamous Night of the Owls crossover event). We also get to see Gordon kicking some ass and taking some names alongside Bats. But after the two split up and we see Bard getting introduced to his new partners, Gordon makes the first blunder of his career… He not only shoots an unarmed man, but kills him and somehow manages to mess up the subway tracks in the process, causing a massive accident that presumably kills hundreds, if not more, of innocent Gothamites. It ends with the newest member of the force, Bard, arresting the man who hired him. And, of course, some villainous onlooking banter referring to Batman, from the shadows, by his real name.
So it was a fast-paced fun read that raises all of the necessary questions and hooks just enough as to not come off as cliched or trite. Tynion’s efforts are a very welcome addition to the brain trust plotting and driving this book. Him and Snyder really shine when they work alongside one another. And the additional help from the various other writers is also fun. It reminds me of a more down-to-Earth version of the now seminal classic, 52. Like said classic, it’s premiere issue raises a buttload of questions. So… Here we go: What happened with Gordon down in the subway? Is it mind control? An illusion? Or did he really just mess up bad? Is Jason Bard going to be a good guy? A bad guy? An indifferent and unimportant one? And, of course, who is the man narrating the beginning (the end) and the end (the beginning) of the issue? I have several theories, but my hope is that it’s either Harvey Dent post-”death” or one of my other personal favorite Bat villains, Hush. Who has yet to make his New 52 appearance.
My Rating: 5/5