It must be Father's Day in Gotham, because while Julia nurses her wounds, Alfred cleans rooms, and Steph watches her daddy fume, Barbara fights off a costumed goon in a country far south of Cancun. This is issue #11 of Batman Eternal and it guest stars little Red not so riding Hood and has bizarre imagery that's eerily reminiscent of Grant Morrison's Bat-run, of which I am not a big fan.
Yes, people talk like this, all right, in convenient exposition.
Let's talk a little bit about Ian Bertram's art. I can see why some people might enjoy the strangely stylized, distorted character designs that emphasize skin and cloth texture, but it doesn't appeal to me whatsoever, and it ends up being about as cringeworthy as Riccardo Burchielli's work in the previous issue. Obviously Bertram graduated from the Frank Quitely/Chris Burnham school of drawing, because most of the characters look like beaten leather bags that have been warped in the heat. It's often very grotesque and off-putting, and not in a good way.
Yeah, like this.
We spend most of this issue in Rio de Janeiro, where Batgirl tracks down telenovela actor Gonzolo Dominguez, who appeared to be in the Gotham subway at the time of the train derailment. Unfortunately for Babs, she has to fight Club of Villains member Scorpiana, who was targeting Dominguez for assassination. It turns out that because the actor owed the Club of Villains money, they allowed him to pay by allowing them to copy his face to make an associate of theirs into a doppelganger. Now that he's outlived his usefulness, the Club wants to get rid of him and the only thing standing in their way is Batgirl.
"And apparently I've been in the pool too long!"
This whole plot seems like it was lifted directly from Morrison's Batman Incorporated, in both art style and storytelling. It's perplexingly awkward with its twists and absurdities, and there's more of those stupid international Batmen with El Gaucho, the Batman of Argentina (Rio is in Brazil, DC), appearing to help defeat Scorpiana, as well as Red Hood and Starfire.
Man, Deadpool really is in every comic these days.
Did they really need all those heroes to take on some lame ass Morrison creation like Scorpiana? Batgirl should have easily beaten this lame-ass one-off character that was barely even an entity in Morrison's own books, let alone this pretend one. This made the issue incredibly weak.
"What's a continent?" - DC
Here we were in a story about this big Gotham City gang war and suddenly we're sidetracked again, this time to South America? DC, if you wanted Batman Inc back, just give Morrison Batman Inc back. I wouldn't read it, but apparently you're desperate for it. Personally, while I do enjoy the occasional international romp for the Bat family (I love O'Neil's Ra's stories, and Tomasi is currently doing something like that over in Batman &), I'd rather this weekly remain in Gotham. Wasn't that the point?
Scorpiana... you, uh, gotta little something... uh...
Apparently Alfred is stuck in some kind of time rift, because his appearance of age seems to change from issue to issue, and Bertram's art makes him look like a giant mass of wrinkles held together with gum. We get a little bit of him and his unusually tanned daughter, offering her a new place to headquarter so she can spend some time with him, I presume dusting tea cozies and cleaning Bruce's shitty underwear. And not a moment too soon, too, because the art makes it look like ol' Al is about to keel over. He looks like's made out of tied together scrotums. Bruce is going to need some new help.
You now you're in trouble when the most compelling thing in your Batman comic is Stephanie Brown talking to Jabba the Hutt's grandmother at the public library and looking at convenient origin-revealing footage of her father, Arthur Brown, as a game show host. Apparently sometime shortly after Zero Year, Bruce Wayne, a talk show host, and some... thing that looks like an extra from The Phantom Menace, were on his show. The... creature made some kind of glib remark and Arthur lost it, which got him shitcanned and turned him down the path of Riddler ripoff.
Hm, wait, I wonder if...
Oh dear, how horrifying.
My question is, why does Bruce Wayne need to be connected at all to Cluemaster's origin? I mean, he just happened to be making the rounds on the game show circuit and was on the very episode of the show that Arthur Brown lost it on? How is that significant at all? Did he happen to be at the pet store the day Catwoman decided she'd be a sultry sexpot based on an animal that hacks up hair balls? Was he at the Cobblepot residence the day Oswald decided a helicopter umbrella was a neat idea?
And finally, it seems like Selina Kyle may in fact have some familial connection to Carmine Falcone after all, just like in the Pre-New 52 universe (though it was really murky whether she was really his daughter not, thanks Loeb). That'll be interesting to see develop.
Batman disagrees, Selina...
He's disagreed since the beginning.
More interesting than this issue was. This issue was just unsettlingly bizarre, and beneath the style of it, not particularly worth reading.
Next: Law and Order and Batman!
- Penguin Truth
Story: Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV
Script: Tim Seeley
Consulting Writers: Ray Fawkes & John Layman
Art By: Ian Bertram
Colors By: Dave Stewart
Lettering By: Dezi Sienty
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