Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Batman Eternal by Snyder and Tynion issue #7

This is going to be mortifying to admit because Snyder and Tynion wrote this issue but this has to be the very first one of their batch for Eternal that I did not like. Sure, I enjoyed the action (explosions strategically located and timed to go "boom" are always fun), and this issue has thankfully continued the Penguin vs. Falcone main plot, and I was actually glad that they got rid of that stupid Iceberg Lounge/Casino as Penguin's base operation. Still, something feels...lacking.

For all the build-up we established in the first four issues, and then the understandable breaks with the next two, we finally reach this one which should be the turning critical point but it was shockingly so action-oriented as oppose to the usual contemplative and character-driven style that I'm so used to with Snyder's writing. I don't want to believe that this is more of Tynion's speed because this is the work of two writers and I'm sure they both made the decisions together of how this issue should play out. I just...can't like it as much as I did with their other previous collaborations. This upsets me greatly, especially when I see John Layman was presently credited. I'm just beginning to like his writing. Holy Loki, Batman Eternal has been such a mixed bag for me lately and my feelings are now becoming erratic because of the stories this title has been offering me.

The scope of the action sequences in here can make a reader's head spin in a good way if you can adjust your perspective as to how you want this story to go which meant expecting an economy of dialogue in the panels that won't get in the way for some cool effects. There are great scenes for that if it's exactly what you are looking for. As for Falcone--I don't understand him anymore or perhaps I'm far too close to the picture and need to take a hell of a step back RIGHT NOW. So here's what I know so far: The Roman is trying to transform Gotham back to its roots when mobs used to rule the city and the cops are in their pockets. I remember that Gotham very well. Fox's show of the same name is taking the same narrative direction since that one is in a pre-Batman era. But to what extent and just how long does Falcone intend to reign the city with the old ways? At this point, I'm dying to know.

READ THE CONTENTS OF THIS PARAGRAPH OR PROCEED TO THE NEXT: I also don't understand why some old characters from the established continuity pre-New 52 act as if their history is readily given. Do we all require comic book readers now to wiki the hell out of these characters first before they can proceed to read the story they are in? I just worry about those who may have subscribed to DC comics for the first time and are not really familiar with many of the Batman's ensemble of characters. Are they starting to find it tedious by now whenever they have to do a google search of characters before properly settling into the story at hand? From what I've noticed, writers seem to drop supporting yet important characters from the old continuity complete with the history from that timeline, and simply expect the novice reader to just accept it and enjoy the show. But isn't the New 52 launch supposed to be more newbie-friendly? I'm expressing these concerns because I'm relatively new to comics in a way where it was only six years ago when I decided to keep up with major DC stories especially anything about/with Batman. I ensured I had enough knowledge to write reviews and discuss individual releases of New 52's Bat-titles here, and that requires devotion and focus. I know for a fact that I will keep reading more Batman in the future (and the old, I am whittling down a comprehensive list of considered Bat-classics), but I'm afraid that new readers are being alienated and I don't want that happening because DC is at its prime now, and comic books are, in a way, more mainstream that they have ever been, thanks to the shift in pop culture where superheroes do dominate the silver screens and the box office. But I digress. I shouldn't have made this review a grievance piece.

I wasn't sure about the inclusion of Catwoman but I suppose I just need to see more of how this plays out in the next issues so I won't finalize an opinion here. One thing that struck me as odd, though, is the fact that while the sequence with Penguin, Catwoman and Iceberg Lounge was going on, the sidestory with Batman and Pyg manages to be more interesting to see unfold. Professor Pyg becoming an unwitting errand boy for Falcone is hilarious and I knew that he will get his revenge one way or another. He's a very engaging villain and I sure hope they can still fit him somewhere because there are plenty of fun things they could still do with him. I'd give away my limbs for this to happen, if it would also mean we dispose of the Joker's Daughter in place of Pyg. Only one fucked-up cartoonish villain should be a part of Eternal and I'd rather we have Pyg...as long as he doesn't strip-tease while he delivers a villain speech. Heh-heh, sorry. Batman Incorporated inside joke. I just had to say it.

One more issue to review before I can get some deserved rest...


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