Thursday, October 23, 2014

Batman Eternal by Snyder and Tynion issue #10

This issue should have mainly focused on the confrontation between Catwoman and Falcone, the return of Professor Pyg, and the timely inclusion of Batman and the GCPD interrupting these three characters while they tried to kill each other. That's all it has to be and we all would have been fine with it. The issue would have easily stood on its own remarkably well because it would have been a decent story with a simple yet elegantly crafted plot with enough action, revelation and character insight to keep everything together. Unfortunately, this supposedly main event gets pushed back to make room for distractions and "updates" from other plot threads of the previous issues. It's overcrowding the pages.

This has to be the greatest sin of Batman Eternal as a series. It tries too hard to accomplish everything at once instead of just following one plot arc to allow the readers to get a better sense of the small details before we get to any big-picture moments. And from the twelve issues I finished since last night, Eternal is a series composed of the small details as oppose to any discernible large-scale moments. It almost feels like the writers are so excited to tell us everything about their arcs and yet they also fail to give us anything nutritional to digest because they hurry along and leave us dry and frustrated. The fact is this reckless information overload is testing my patience and isn't helping me step back and appreciate the events unfolding because I have to be constantly reminded that character A and character B are like this, or plot A and plot B will converge as plot C and so forth. It's highly distracting, okay? Stop undermining my enjoyment!

We all know that Batman Eternal is supposed to be a weekly installment type of series which meant that readers can still remember what was happening between issues so there is no need to keep doing recaps every goddamn time and this issue is the biggest offender of that. I'm also reading this by batch now (four issues per night since Monday) and that should show all of you that the readable quality of this series will never hold up if we get a trade paperback collection in the future. I'm becoming more disappointed whenever I have to call attention to this mishaps and might continue to do so because it's necessary. This is constructive criticism expressed by a fan who really does hope for the best of things from this series. There was a time not long ago when Batman Eternal issue #3 showed me what this series can potentially become; an engrossing, visually striking and character-driven adventure where stakes are raised and nothing is what is always seems. That effect is slowly diluting and I'm reaching a point where it's getting too hard to type a review that doesn't just come off as a grievance piece which this one is unavoidably one. And I hate myself for it just a little bit.

What a wasted potential, this one. The Falcone-Catwoman scenes were anticlimactic. Professor Pyg provided some entertaining sequences but his role was not as strong as I hoped it will be when he eventually caught Falcone and snagged Catwoman while he was at it. Nothing game-changing happened for these three at all so why did we even bother again? Maybe Batman should have delayed his appearance a bit more, I guess. We do find out that Carmine Falcone is not the Big Bad of Eternal after all.

At least that piqued my interest.


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