Thursday, October 23, 2014

Batman Eternal by Snyder and Fawkes issue #11

Ian Bertram's art style strongly reminded me of Frank Quitely's who illustrated Morrison's Batman Reborn. Bertram's style was more lavishly cartoonish and edgy in an indie sort of way, but this actually made me really enjoy looking at the pages for this issue entitled Day of the Dads. True to the title, this issue was thematically about fathers. A large portion of the pages are dominated by Batgirl as she goes to Argentina to follow a lead about the train massacre that could hopefully clear up her father's name from the manslaughter charges. We get guest appearances of El Gaucho and Scorpiana (whom I have first encountered in Batman Incorporated two months ago). Something unmistakably soap-operaish is happening in the pages and I was endlessly entertained. I can practically hear prolonged and hard-hitting guitar strings in the background while Batgirl gets increasingly aggressive.

We also have Red Hood and Starfire to help her out (in the last issue, Batsy asked Jason to follow Batgirl to Argentina). I was fine with Batgirl taking the center stage in this issue although I'm still having problems about her characterization. Since when did she get so reckless and hot-headed all of a sudden? It's not like I haven't seen her in a dark mood before (in her tie-ins for Death of the Family, she seriously wanted to kill the Joker but that was an understandable progression for her character, considering what the Clown Prince of Crime has done to her). And while one may argue that she's got every right to tear the world apart to save her dad, I just don't buy someone as smart as Babs could be so blinded by her fury and pursuit for swift justice. It's just not the Batgirl I remember. Red Hood even had to point it out and I think it's time for Barbara to listen and calm her tits.

The two other stories centered around fathers are more intriguing and heartfelt than that of Barbara's search for evidence/suspect to save her father from public disgrace and condemnation. First, we have Julia and Alfred Pennyworth. In the ninth issue, we see Batman whisking Julia away from Hong Kong where she sustained a fatal samurai wound to the stomach. Surprisingly enough, Julia had the gull to take the self-righteous ground and accuse her old man for turning into some lowly servant to a spoiled rich kid (she has no idea that Bruce Wayne and Batman are the same person which is terribly puzzling for an espionage agent who should at least have suspicions concerning the billionaire playboy taking such keen interest and funding Batman's global recruit of heroes for Batman Inc.). Anyway, she takes an issue with her father abandoning his job as a combat surgeon where he actually helps people who do important work in service of their country. I get why Julia would be pissed about this but it's pretty close-minded of her to assume the worst about her father just because he has made a choice she couldn't support. It's grating and insensitive especially after he patched her up and tried to take care of her even if all she did was pout and insult him every step of the way. We see her leaving the Wayne Manor shortly after she felt that she sufficiently recovered yet obviously she's wrong. She's fucking bleeding in the stomach, for Loki's sake! Honestly, if she collapsed somewhere, I would only feel bad for Alfred because it's his daughter, but I wouldn't shed a tear for Julia because she was needlessly whiny.

The same thing can't be said about Stephanie Brown who has been staying/sleeping in the her school library since she stumbled upon a shocking discovery that her father is the costumed villain Cluemaster, and they are making plans to take over Gotham (or something along those lines). Clearly not going to be wining the Father of the Year award, Arthur Brown has since then tried to find ways to dispose of his daughter, including a botched assassination attempt. Brown had done some research about her father's past in this issue and it just keeps getting worse the more she uncovered skeletons in his closet. She also remembered that once Batman apprehended her father one night when she was only a little girl. It was quite a heartbreaking scene especially when she realized that her dad simply used her as an alibi to make Batman believe that he will forever quit a life of crime because of her. I feel really horrible for Steph and I wish she and Julia know about each other. If Julia thinks her father is a let-down just because he chose to become a butler then she's not going to be crazy about Arthur Brown, and may feel ashamed for being so hard toward Alfred to begin with. At least your dad isn't trying to get you killed, Julia so stop acting like a teenager which you are not because you're a grown-ass woman who should try to reconcile with your father. Steph is the teenager here, but she's taking the hard truths about her family like a champ.

This was a strong character-driven issue with a thematic scope and I always enjoy those especially when they're accompanied by fantastic illustrations. Sure, this one is also the most vastly different of all the Eternal issues as far as tonality goes but it had been a nice break, considering the issue before this that really rubbed me off in the wrong way. I'm giving this a higher rating then solely because of personal taste and bias.


No comments:

Post a Comment