Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Batman Eternal #41-44 Review

Innocence lost.

We finally reach the point in time Batman Eternal has been teasing since Batman #28 – and as always hype goes before a fall.

Batman takes a backseat as Harper and Spoiler come into play…but it’s an uneven tapestry that refuses to allow you to settle down and enjoy this.

Thankfully, the artwork makes up for it as the crew of artists they employ this quarter do a good job.


Cullen’s disappearance forces Harper to reunite with Red Robin as they track him, and other missing children, to a factory with the Mad Hatter lording over them.

Harper is told to stay out of it, but when Red Robin, Batgirl and Red Hood are all immobilized – she has to step up and save them.

Batman is forced by circumstances to take Harper with him on Red Robin’s recommendations.

Meanwhile, Stephanie is targeted by yet another hitman – only this time it’s her mom who wants her back home. After some mother-daughter time, Selina interrupts their reunion to take Spoiler.

Learning this, Batman and Harper, now going by the moniker Bluebird, crash one of Selina’s casinos – and an all too willing Selina lets Bruce take her.

While conversing with Stephanie, Harper finally learns who she saw that night – Bruce Wayne.

After coming up empty on the Mad Hatter, Batman sets his sights on Dr Milo – whom all the Arkham escapees claim was the go-between for whatever was going on at the Asylum.

Milo tries to distract Batman by using mind-altering drugs on the airport security, but is unable to escape a remote controlled Batwing which destroys his supply – but not before both him and Batman are caught in a sea of mystical hands.

One of the clear faults on this weekly series has been the inability to keep the story flowing smoothly. One day we’re jumping here, the other day we’re jumping elsewhere. There is no gradual transition that 52 did so well.

And Harper is becoming a major plot device for this story. When she was first introduced, I thought she had the capacity to be the everyman perspective, fulfilling an Oracle type role. With her advent as a superhero, Harper looses her uniqueness.

That quote at the start of issue #41 is good but is used very badly narrative-wise and that symbolizes Harper well – especially Batman being okay with her becoming a costumed vigilante, teaming up with her one issue after she put on the mask.

So, no proper training regime or anything?

Stephanie didn’t fare that well. By the end, you can understand her paranoia but her scenes with her mother felt very tonally off – especially what role her mother plays in Cluemaster’s equations.

Selina had some standout moments though, and came out as the shining light of this quarter. The fact that she still cannot escape her feelings yet makes good business judgement shows her well.

Finally, we go to a form of Arkham Hell aftermath. I wonder how this would have been as an event, with a 12 book main series and multiple tie-ins like Arkham Hell, Harper’s Ascension and so on….Batwing has been so marginalized that his few panels are very badly written (more effort, people!) and come across as filler.


With Batman Eternal coming to a close, this isn’t how it should be doing – trying to find it’s way back and introducing new arcs at the drop of a hat.

The art salvages some of it, but mostly this was something that shouldn’t have any business appearing at the fag end of this title.

So, I give it 6.0 out of 10.

+Selina Kyle’s new status quo
+The Spoiler reveal
+Great artwork

-Harper is becoming a plot device
-Uneven shifting from story to story

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