I review the third instalment in the Batman Eternal weekly series from DC Comics, written by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV, with consulting writers Ray Fawkes, John Layman and Tim Seeley. Jason Fabok handles the pencilling whilst Brad Anderson does the colours.
This series has gotten off to an incredibly strong start with the last two issues, which saw Jim Gordon arrested, and is already shaping up to be a great move for DC Comics. Fans have been long awaiting the return of Stephanie Brown, aka Spoiler from the pre-New 52 and this is the issue where she makes her full debut, having been teased in Batman #28. As a newcomer to her character it was good to see her origin and has certainly got me interested in going back and reading some comics featuring Spoiler – but for now it looks like Batman Eternal is going to be my best bet.
Written again by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV, Batman Eternal continues the strong quality set by the previous issues. This book is shaping up to be fun and has already become one of the better Bat-Books in the New 52, although saying that, Detective Comics and Batman are also incredibly strong at the moment even if the former does have a new creative team. It’s certainly going to be a book that I’m looking forward to week in, week out – because the utilisation of the cast has been strong so far.
There are three separate stories handled in this third issue, each satisfying and engaging. The first sees Stephanie Brown arrive at her father’s house unannounced and walks in on him and his friends dressed like supervillains, which is certainly an... interesting origin for the character that reminds me of Brian K. Vaughan’s Runaways, of which I read the first issue recently. How Stephanie adjusts to her new life following this should be great to see, because I’ll welcome any new addition to the Batfamily in the New 52 as long as it’s handled well and that seems to be the case with this character so far.
The second thread looks at the GCPD following the arrest of Commissioner Gordon, and as expected, it’s chaos. Already there are power struggles for the top job as certain characters want to get things back to the way they were before Batman’s appearance, and that unfortunately for the people of Gotham means that the Police take a backseat in the war against crime, redirecting their attention to taking down Batman and the vigilantes. It puts Batman once again back at square one with his only ally in jail, and it should be interesting to see how the fallout is dealt in future issues.
The third storyline of course touches on Batman himself. He’s learnt that Carmine Falcone is back, and that leads him to Cobblepot, which couldn’t have come at a worse timing, because a gang war has just erupted on the streets of the City – Falcone vs. Penguin. How this affects Batman Eternal going forward will be very interesting to see, because all three threads will have a significant effect on the storyline going forward.
The artwork is handled by Jason Fabok and he does it very well. Fabok, along with Capullo is one of the better artists at DC Comics right now, not just the Batbooks, and he proves it very well indeed with amazing panels that really help capture the mood and atmosphere for the book especially with Brad Anderson’s colours. His cover is also great as well, picturing the Batmobile in action, and it’ll be interesting to see what he can bring to the table going forward even if he won’t be around for every issue.