I haven't commented on the artwork of this series yet, as varied as it is. Mostly because, for the most part, it's been pretty good. It started off strong with Jason Fabok, who has done a few issues. Dustin Nguyen's unique style made issue #4 more interesting. Gillieum March has sort of a David Finch-ish quality to his work, which isn't a bad thing. Anybody else who's worked on this weekly has done a fair job, up until this issue.
Until Riccardo Burchielli.
The artwork in this issue is just horrendous. I don't know squat about artwork, but I know what I like, and I don't like this very much. The squinty faces, the overly thick lines, the distorted noses, the oversimplified costumes, the weird use of shadows, it's all just too much for me to handle. It's ugly. Some characters, like Jason Todd, are unrecognizable if you didn't see characters refer to them by name. Did he just get out of bed, or what? And Stephanie Brown doesn't look like any incarnation we've ever seen before, either. Jason Bard looks pretty run through the ringer, too. Maybe it's the long hours.
Oh yeah, that's Jason Todd, all right! You nailed his look, Burchielli!
I know it seems like I'm being mean-spirited, and maybe I am, a little (huge shock, I'm kind of an ass). But I feel Batman Eternal, despite being a weekly, and thus subject to varied art, should really have some of the best artwork out there. If DC really expects us to open this up every week, or even buy the trades (my preferred method, though by then they might touch up some of the artwork), it would help if the reader didn't have to struggle through the art. This is what turned me off to a lot of 90s comics, the artwork of people like Bogdanove and McDaniel.
This story was still great, though.
Maybe I'm concentrating on the artwork because, storywise, there's not a lot to say about this issue. Julia convalesces at Wayne Manor, Professor Pyg brings down the hammer, Stephanie plays spanner, and Selina, while bloodied, still has glamor. But who is it out there with their eyes out on our hero? Who? Who?
Fujiko Mine would probably know (a little hint for you folks).
Far from being his possible bastard child who targets him out of daddy issues, as Jeph Loeb once established, Selina apparently now used to work for Falcone (though I guess that other thing can still be true) and eventually just got fed up with his crap and scratched him hard. Falcone is back, though, and now under the delusion that he is the true protector of Gotham, not Batman.
The frig? Does Falcone have a major artery in his cheek?
What is this with criminals believing they are the true protector of Gotham? Penguin said that same thing to Catwoman a couple of issues ago. Apparently the thought is that by organizing the lowlifes under their control, both Penguin and Falcone believe that they were preventing the criminal element from getting out of hand. Crime was, well, organized. Falcone believes that all Batman does is preserve the "freak-parade status quo". There is something to be said for that as a theory, but of course, it's complete nonsense if you even stop to think about it.
Guys like the Joker, Two-Face, and the like weren't going to fall in line with organized crime no matter what, so Falcone wouldn't have helped when they popped up. The theme villains like Riddler, Poison Ivy, Professor Pyg, et al, they're loud, and colorful, and basically announce their presence wherever they go. And compared with institutionalized corruption and generations of murderers, that's a little easier to tackle in the long run.
Stephanie Brown is squatting at the public library, which is basically what large city libraries are for, besides a toilet for the indigent. Interesting that the best laid plans of criminal masterminds like Signalman and Lock-Up can be foiled by a girl on the internet. But if she knows what's good for her, she might want to shoot an e-mail to, I don't know, Batman's public help page (he should have one). Or at least switch libraries now and then to avoid being tracked. It's kind of amusing, though, that all this hype around Stephanie Brown returning and she's barely had any page time. Not that I'm complaining.
Steph's Tumblr also calls the lack of female villain involvement "problematic".
As stupid as I think Professor Pyg's barnyard gang is as a concept, it was sure fun seeing Batman beat the crap out of him. But I would have "accidentally" punched Falcone a bunch of times during the fracas. Or maybe accidentally arrive late to the proceedings.
As you might imagine, Batman punches the horse head guy the hardest.
Also, it's totally the Court of Owls, guys.
Next: Batgirl and too much exposition dialogue!
Who? Who? Who do you think you're fooling?
- Penguin Truth
Story: Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV
Script: John Layman
Consulting Writers: Ray Fawkes & Tim Seeley
Art By: Riccardo Burchielli
Colors By: Dave McCaig
Lettering By: Taylor Exposito
Cover By: Guillem March & Tomeu Morey
Editor: Katie Kubert
Asst. Editor: Matt Humphreys
Group Editor: Mark Doyle
Batman Created By Bob K--AHAHAHAHA, NO. Batman Created By Bill Finger