Batman: Eternal Vol. 1 Review

DC

Jan 30, 2015 Issue #52 - January/February 2015 - St. Vincent Bookmark and Share


Gotham is no stranger to imminent razing. When the city faces compounded threats, doom looms in a major way. James Gordon behind bars for causing a subway train accident that resulted in the deaths of over a hundred people. A mob war between Carmine Falcone and The Penguin, which has the entire city on the brink of annihilation. Mysterious, paranormal activity originating at Arkham Asylum more ominous than anyone knows. In Batman: Eternal Vol. 1, the mega threats are three-fold, and it doesn't help that the interim police commissioner has declared Batman Gotham's most wanted criminal.

The latest in a long line of catastrophic Gotham sagas and a follow-up to Forever Evil: Arkham War, Eternal is as much an ensemble piece in terms of the creative team behind it as it is in story. Scott Snyder and James T. Tynion IV oversaw the plotting, while various other talents contributed individual issues. The end result is a unified, thrilling epic that re-introduces multiple characters to the Bat-universe. Carmine Falcone returns to Gotham for the first time in years; James Gordon Jr. turns up alive, and Cluemaster sets out to take down his own daughter, Stephanie Brown.

The weakest link in the story is the supernatural Arkham subplot. Batwing and Jim Corrigan-aka The Spectre-team up to unearth the truth behind cryptic events at the city's infamous home for the criminally insane. While their quest (which does tie into the main story) draws out lesser-used villains in exciting ways, it can't help but feel like a tangent. Even as everything between Falcone and Penguin is wrapping up, the Arkham madness continues, a less engaging afterthought.

Even where Eternal is "weak," it's still strong. Too often, Gotham epics are bogged down by the oversaturation of villains, subplots, and unending gang warfare. How many times have opposing factions threatened to tear Gotham apart? Whenever more than two villains appear in a story arc together, citywide fighting seems to break out in Gotham. But Snyder and his team handle Eternal adroitly. Bat-fans will breeze through the nearly 500 page volume, and those tired of the Gotham gang war trope will find new life breathed into Batman: Eternal Volume 1. (http://www.dccomics.com/graphic-novels/batman-eternal-vol-1)

Author rating: 7/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10



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