Another day another ‘Batman Eternal‘ review and another stunning cover by Dustin Nguyen who really amplifies the ensemble nature of the story. The colour scheme of the cover fits in nicely with the previous week to create a nice flow and where last week (reviewed here) Batman was a prominent feature this week he steps aside to allow the wider Bat-family to take centre stage.
Ironically one person missing from this cover is Batgirl who features quite heavily on the inside pages.
Correct me if I’m wrong but this issue marks the debut of several characters to the ‘Eternal‘ book: Batwoman, Batwing and Jim Corrigan.
Following on from last weeks creepy tease about Arkham Asylum it’s Corrigan and Batwing who feature most heavily this week as they venture in to the depths of the asylum in search of the paranormal. The events in Arkham are in stark contract to Red Robin and Harper Row searching Japan for the technological and also Batgirl and Red Hood in Rio searching for a way to help former-Commissioner Gordon.
Back at the ranch there is still time to feature a scene between Batman and Lt. Bard who seem to have come to some mutual recognition and with it the sparks of friendship.
It’s all going on in this issue but again the writers, this week with added Ray Fawkes, are still able to give enough of each storyline to keep the reader hooked. At this stage it’s difficult to decide between the story in Japan or Arkham as the most interesting as the mob war begins to scale back. This is the first time in several weeks of ‘Eternal‘ that I’ve felt that I’ve wanted more from a story but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Where Harper and Red Robin are exceeding expectations Batgirl and Red Hood are lagging behind at the moment as there hasn’t been a huge amount of development for them but with the inclusion of Batwoman this may change in the coming weeks. Harper is one of the most interesting characters to enter the Bat-world in recent years but I do hope her black and blue appearance on the cover is not a nod to a new Nightwing.
This issue is the first foray in to the paranormal world for ‘Eternal‘ and it does so with two characters with whom I’m not overly familiar. For those not in the know here’s the description of The New 52 Jim Corrigan from Wikipedia:
In The New 52, Jim Corrigan is a Gotham City Police Detective whose fiance was kidnapped. He is guided by the Phantom Stranger on the instructions of The Voice. He leads Jim Corrigan to the abandoned warehouse where she’s been kept, but this turns out to be a trap. Jim Corrigan and his girlfriend are killed by the kidnappers and he is then transformed into The Spectre who accuses the Phantom Stranger of betraying him. As The Spectre is about to attack the Phantom Stranger, The Voice intervenes and sends Spectre off to inflict his wrath on those who are more deserving of Spectre’s wrath.
The interplay between the two is solid and for me was a good break from characters that I know inside-out.
This is an all round different feeling issue to previous weeks but it’s pulled together well with Nguyen giving each storyline a slightly different style or art to help the reader differentiate between them, I was worried this would be jarring to the eye but as with the script the stories mix together well.
Another solid issue.