Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Batman Eternal by Ray Fawkes issue #31

Last issue ended in a phenomenal cliffhanger and here was where we tie up the Arkham arc (for good, I hope). Speaking of the previous issue: the minute I saw Bane pounding on that glass door across Alfred as Arkham Asylum was collapsing all around them, there was a part of me that knew he was going to be appearing again in the next issue and voila, the cover says it all! I think the most enjoyable part of this one has to be their bizarre pairing. It's really the only interesting part of the story. However, there are still other great moments in the pages. Like the confrontations between Batman and the inmates who survived the destruction. It was great because he easily disposes of them all the while talking to Julia. That was badass. Unfortunately, their conversation was about the fact that it's only now that they're discovering that Alfred was transferred to Arkham and is therefore caught under the rubble. I started feeling bad for Julia at this point.

As much as the Alfred-Bane team-up was tons of fun, the trouble about this issue was the fact that every situation faced by the characters (especially Batman) seem to be resolved by a matter of convenience or coincidence. Trust me, it's quite grating if you read this issue again for the second time (which I tend to do with Eternal before I compose a review, just to make sure I don't miss out or misinterpret anything). It's okay if we have one or two of these conveniences but this issue has a lot of it that it's impossible to ignore when you do read it the second time. I don't want to detail every one of them but I would cite Batman's set here because they are the ones that really annoyed me. First, while he was fighting the inmates, he just randomly thought, "Oh, I wonder how Alfred is doing.." which was just swell because it enabled him and Julia to check the hospital and see for themselves that he had been abducted. Still, this was something I can overlook.

And then we get this fucking satellite gadget that can scan the entire city and find people for Batman. I have never read about this before and now it's just there, ready to be utilized. Now they're going to use it to locate Hush. Again, maybe I can forgive this timely coincidence. I really don't like that Batman's body of detective work is being ignored for this issue. It's like he can solve everything with muscle and the necessary machine/gadget. I don't like it because it dilutes his skills on deductive reasoning and investigative work. But then again you might not notice or care because it moves the plot along. If that's the case then whatever, let's get to the good parts of the issue then. That's mainly Alfred and Bane working together to get out underground which was pleasantly brisk with a great twist at the end. Julia is also becoming a better, more sympathetic character. She's competent enough to handle all the grunt work for Batman even if she was under a lot of emotional pressure after finding out that what happened to her dad. I like her now which is surprising to me when I look back at how much I loathed her in the earlier issues.

The Spoiler-Hush scene at the end was expected though the journey leading to that destination is questionable at best, seeing as it's yet another matter of convenience. But since I read the next issue right after this one, I was happy to see that it was handled well enough so I'm in a pretty good mood as I'm writing this which is probably why I'm rating this more generously than I would have if its follow-up was shitty. I only have one issue to review for Batman Eternal and I think I'll stop reviewing this series for now, and just wait for another five to ten new ones next month before I jump back to it.


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