Monday, November 24, 2014

Batman Eternal by Various Writers Volume #1

There is A HEFTY AMOUNT OF MULTIPLE STORYLINES for New 52's most ambitious collaborative project yet and I have spent six weeks reviewing all the thirty-two issues that were released so far and doing so was mildly panic-attack-inducing if not downright catalystic for a mental fatigue. In spite of a few of my criticisms in specific issues, I can still claim that this is one of the most exciting things I have ever read in New 52's Batman line-up. Written by a roster of talents such as Tim Seeley, John Layman, Ray Fawkes, James T Tynion IV, and Scott Snyder, with a great range of the industry's most sought-after artists (Mikel Janin, Ian Bertram, Riccardo Burchielli, Guillem March, Emanuel Simeoni, Trevor McCarthy, Andy Clarke, Derek Fridolfs, Dustin Nguyen, Jason Fabok), BATMAN ETERNAL was a weekly released series that examines the Forever Evil story arc's aftermath in Gotham City. I don't think I'm overstating it when I say that everywhere you go Gotham City right now is A COLOSSAL FUCKING MESS OF EPIC PROPORTIONS. Hey, I may even be downplaying it with that insufficient description.

Comprising the first twenty issues of the series, this volume is guaranteed to be bulky in width and twice the fun for anyone who wants to re-read everything that happened in one compact collection. I'm honestly not in the mood to do that at this point because I'm still recovering from what I just witnessed in its thirty-two installments, but I think I'll be up for it some time next year, preferably after this series wraps up for good. I read somewhere that this is intended to run for fifty issues so holy fuck, we're only halfway there. As I said, this was released weekly which probably meant there are two or three new ones since I finished #32 and I don't intend to read them yet because I am frankly trying to get away from this series. That's not to say that Batman Eternal is horrible--far from it! I just can't handle multiple servings every week, most especially when there are certain issues that are inferior than others. I can't specify which ones they are in this review but I will try to discuss the PROS and the CONS of this collected volume, starting from the latter so we can get over with the unpleasantness foremost.

CONS: My number one criticism for the series has always been the fact that there is just too much material to chew and digest easily. It's only accessible if you have immersed yourself well enough in the Bat-mythos, particularly the New 52 line-up of Bat-related titles. You also have to be at least aware of how the current DCU works since its re-launch. You don't really need to read Forever Evil first to get on track for Eternal which is a good thing. Now If you have been following this series weekly then there are enough days to mull over the story in between, but if you have read it as a pile which I have (I began reading by the time there are were twenty-six issues available for consumption) then you may have found yourself getting sick of some things which is what worried me mostly about Eternal once the issues were published in a volume such as this one. The reading experience will be exhausting and slightly grating, so I advise readers who will buy this collection to take your time reading it and not try to finish everything in one sitting because you are only hurting yourself if you do that. This volume is meant to be savored so take as much several breaks as you need if you ever find yourself needing a palette cleanse. I only wished I had the same privilege but I was on a tight self-imposed schedule to post reviews so I had no choice but to binge like a Roman noble.

PROS: The good stuff truly outweigh the bad for Batman Eternal. The roster of writers and artists can always offer something fresh and exciting to the buffet even if a few of the contents from this buffet can be taken or not, depending on the  matter of personal taste and preference. With multiple storylines to follow and watch unfold, the issues can have an unevenness in their foci and scopes. Nevertheless, each new issues promises something better than the last which does tend to happen for this series. One moment I'm nerd-raging the fuck out of some narrative/plot decision, the next I'm applauding the unfortunate yet engrossing series of events that were enough to restore my faith which then helped me to jump head to the next installments. My advise in reading this series is to hold on and keep true. Batman Eternal has tons of great action, drama, character interplay, and mystery; these are fantastic and intriguing tales whose writers and artists worked tirelessly over so that they can be conveyed on the pages of each issue. The collaborative effort of these amazing people, especially the range of various narrative and art styles alone, should be enough to make you want to buy this volume and display it in your bookshelf!

Now I recognize that this is a premature review, considering the copy will only be made available two days from now (November 26) but I surely hope that my review has convinced you to check out this one, if not encourage you to spend some money on it.


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