Batman: Eternal #1 (Comics Review)

When it comes to Batman in the New 52, DC is all about jumping up and down like crazy puppet. The New 52 launched with multiple books featuring Batman or Batman-related heroes and over the two and a half years of the new continuity, the entire line has been among DC’s top books, with an occasional dip here and there for some of the lower tier books. And now, with the character’s 75th anniversary in sights and to fill-out its 52 books a month roster, DC is adding a new weekly series to the mix, which will be anthology-styled and feature no less than four different creative teams.

Batman: Eternal #1 came out today and it kickstarts the whole deal. Written by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV, with the other writers involved credited as consultants, and drawn by Jason Fabok, this first issue lays the groundwork for some pretty big changes in the status quo as the Bat-world moves on. Scott and James introduce a couple new characters into the mix, highlight some of the older ones, and bring about a pretty major twist into the story. Fabok, who has previous experience working on Detective Comics in the New 52, does a stellar job of showing the dark and seedy side of the city and the Bat-world.

Batman Eternal 01Batman: Eternal is a series that is going to seemingly touch on every aspect of the Bat-world and draw in all the villains and heroes who are related to the Dark Knight, the greatest detective in the world, the silent guardian of America’s greatest and worst city, Gotham. As Scott and James launch into the series with the first issue and kick off the entire anniversary event, we see a new character being added into the mix from the get-go, Lieutenant Jason Bard from Detroit, on transfer from DPD to GCPD. And on the very first night, the new guy gets the shock of his life, having to arrest one of the city’s biggest icons. Not an easy start to the new job, that’s for sure.

The writers start off the issue by showing us “The End”, with the city burning and a bloody Batman tied to the GCPD’s Bat-signal flood-light as someone gloats about the city’s destruction and the fall of its various heroes, costumed and non-costumed alike. Pretty interesting. This all for only a page, and then we launch into the story in “The Now” as it happens and we meet Commissioner Gordon and Batman as they stop Professor Pyg from completing another one of his hare-brained schemes.

Under Scott’s helm, Batman has consistently been one of DC’s top titles, often THE top title of a month, and the credit also goes as much to his fellow creator Greg Capullo who has done some truly amazing art for the series in the last two and a half years. And with James, who started off doing backup stories in Batman and then has eventually gone on to be a writer on his own books, Batman: Eternal is in good hands I feel. While there are a lot of open questions in this issue, the two of them nevertheless manage to get the right note for every character involved, whether we talk about Gordon or Bullock, Sawyer or Batman himself.

The big twist, when it happens, leaves a pretty big knot in the stomach and the story definitely has a strong emotional feel to it, because of what happens as a result. Good things are not happening in Gotham that’s for sure. One thing I’m unclear on though is what is the timeline for this story and how it ties into Batman #28, which was an issue that went ahead in time and showed off a Gotham six months ahead, if I remember correctly. That’s the biggest weakness of this issue story-wise, the lack of clarity in that regard. Would have done the editors/writers well to have made that clear.

For art duties we have Jason Fabok on pencils with colours by Brad Anderson and letters by Nick J. Napolitano. Jason Fabok and Tomey Morey have the enviable job of turning out that fantastic looking cover to this issue. Jason’s work on Detective Comics is one of the reasons that I love that book so much, although I’ve only read the second arc by John Layman on the title, and the big anniversary issue from last year, #19, which celebrated the 700th issue of the series from its first ever issue. His characterwork is very strong, especially when it comes his muscled and kickass Batman, and that was certainly in play here as well. Brad’s colours definitely make this issue too, because his work compliments Jason’s very well and this truly felt like a perfect Batman comic in that regard.

Overall, Batman: Eternal is off to a great start, and I’m definitely looking forward to the next issue next week. Should be fun!

Rating: 8.5/10


Posted on April 9, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.

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