Thursday, October 23, 2014

Batman Eternal by Snyder and Tynion issue #9

The most overwhelming aspect about Batman Eternal for me is that it's so goddamn polarizing every step of the way. I can never consistently like it or hate it, and I'm both frustrated and intrigued every time I read issue after issue. But there was never a moment while reading them that I absolutely hated the story. If I did, then why am I even bothering right now? Generally, I'm enjoying the plot threads and characters being offered to me so far although I do have problems with the delivery in some aspects because I still feel that the writing is uneven, and it really has a lot to do with the fact that it's released weekly and that it's a collaboration among four to five writers each issue. I can only recall praising the third issue and that was the standard in which I compare the other ones that came after it. The thing about Batman Eternal is that when it's good, it's exemplary in so many ways. When it's bad, it tends to drag in ways that makes me sort of sad. However, when it's in the middle, there are parts that you can just enjoy and not think about much as long as it does work. This installment was exactly that.

I would like to raise the subject of Bixby Rhodes though (a.k.a. Roarunner) who I failed to mention when he appeared in issue #7 of Eternal. He's an original character created by Scott Snyder in The Black Mirror run. He's a criminal who owns a car dealership and who now functions as yet another henchmen of Falcone. We see him finding a bomb that was planted by no other than Professor Pyg to get back at him and Falcone since Pyg's place of horrors was torched in said issue. I wonder why we still see Roadrunner very much alive here. He was so close to that bomb and he at least should sustain serious injuries. Maybe he ran away really fast which is plausible, considering he wears cybernetic legs. Are we going to see a flashback very soon about his escape or not? That still remains to be seen. In the meantime, he appears here to chauffeur Jack Forbes (a character I loathe in a degree I never thought was possible) to meet Falcone. It's interesting to see that this arrogant son of a bitch answers to someone and he could not suck Falcone's dick any harder. I don't understand his motivation for selling out his integrity and the GCPD aside from sheer greed so I really don't have any reason to care about Forbes except for the time I will see him die. And he has to die, okay? I can't stand reading him talk and spew out more bullshit. He IS NOT the Commissioner. And he needs to go.

I think it's time that we talk about the things that did make me happy while reading this. Batman goes to Hong Kong to figure out what happened to Falcone there and why he decided to come back to Gotham. We find out that he had some problems with the Chinese mob led by Fang and that, for some reason, Falcone just gave up his claim to the place and allowed Fang to take over. That is rather suspicious and I'm curious if there is more to that story because I was unconvinced. Anyway, to the fun stuff: Batman beats up ninjas because it's super cool and he was assisted by Jiro, Japan's Batman from Grant Morrison's Batman Incorporated. I was an instant fan of his when I read Bat-Inc. two months ago so I was so happy that Snyder and Tynion utilized him and I wish there's going to be more of him though I won't get my hopes up. And then this woman whom I originally thought was Catwoman from last issu because she was covered in the same dark spandex and she sports the same haircut (minor mistake, sorry) joins them and gets herself stabbed with a samurai sword. Ouch. She survives though which is fortunate for Alfred, seeing as it's no other than her own estranged daughter Julia (who hates his guts, by the way). Batman decides to take her with him as he leaves Hong Kong after he took care of business. Time to have a heart-to-hear conversation with Falcone.

We also hear Fang's side of the story. As it turns out, Falcone agreed to back off and allow everyone to think Fang had won Hong Kong as long as Fang pays him an acceptable fee/commission from the Chinese mob's illegal activities. That's embarrassing and quite dishonorable so Batman asserts that Fang won't be in power for long once the secret is out and he's consequently shamed. We say goodbye to Jiro and it sucked because I wish to read more of him. We get back to Gotham where Catwoman happily steals from Falcone until she gets caught. We'll be reading that confrontation in the next issue.

The visual contrast of the muted colors for Gotham and the more vibrant color palate for Hong Kong scenes and landscape must be commented upon. I really enjoyed looking though the pages because of these combinations and there is also plenty of action to hold together a story that at least made more sense than I expected. I liked the pacing even if there was really not much going on for this issue, but it was not a confusing plot to follow unlike the ones I read from the previous set, so it was great.


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