Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Batman Eternal #1 - A Review

I will say this for the writing team of Batman Eternal - they do not do things by halves.  There was a hint of this in the preview for this series, which depicted Harper Row (a supporting character from Scott Snyder's Batman) as a masked crime-fighter working alongside Batman, Selina Kyle as the new kingpin of the Gotham underworld and - in a shocking twist that saw fans across the Internet cheering - Stephanie Brown as The Spoiler.  And then we have this first issue, which opens with Gotham City in flames and Bruce Wayne all but crucified on the broken remains of the Bat-Signal.

Okay, book.  You have my attention.

We move past this scene set in a vague future, heading back to "Now".  It is here that we are introduced to Jason Bard - a good cop hired into Gotham by Commissioner Jim Gordon, who is unable to meet Bard for his first day at work as he is busily chasing down the mad scientist Professor Pyg alongside the Batman.  The action sequences there are thrilling but the true focus of the story is upon Bard, who is quickly introduced to just how bad Gotham City is and why Jim Gordon was so anxious to get an honest man like Bard into a command position in the GCPD.  By issue's end, we see a major change to the status quo of things in Gotham City and our first sign that someone is out to bring down Batman, one ally at a time.

Jason Fabok's artwork is as enthralling as the script.  I greatly enjoyed his work on Batman Annual #1 and the pencils and inks here are of similar high quality.  The figures are all clear and uniquely designed, with even the scenes of characters just talking to one another being well-blocked and far from static scenes of talking heads.

This book is a promising first issue.  I'm not sure yet if I'll stick around for the whole year-long saga, but it has my attention.  For now.

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