Batman Eternal #39 Review

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Subtle.

 

Riddler drops some hints, Batman might need a splint, and we see the death of print in this thirty-eighth canto in DC's weekly Batman epic. The past few issues have been a really bumpy ride, with some unaddressed avenues in the storyline and some truly disgustingly terrible art. We saw how bastardized Bane could get, spent more time with that loser Jason Bard then I'd care to, and were thrown into the temple of Selina Kyle, who doesn't jump rooftops anymore, preferring to stand around being boring, barking orders to gangland cronies. So, will this issue bring us back to the nanomachine virus, Jim Gordon's situation, and the rise of Harper Row as Bluebird? Well... uh... no. But we do get the glaringly obvious references that should help us decipher the dastardly figure behind all this chaos! Because I totally hadn't figured it out a long time ago, right? Well, at least we get The Riddler. The art's not bad, either. Most of the time.

 

"That's great, Red Robin, but I have tar on my face right now, could you please call back?"

 

Apparently after Cluemaster was taken down by the State Police, thanks to Steph, his loser cohorts were also brought into custody. How and when this happened is anybody's guess, since we didn't see it at all. In fact, we haven't seen hide no hair of that whole group for ten or more issues, and even Spoiler's mostly dropped off the map, but I'll forgive it for the time being in hopes that they'll eventually explain what she's been up to. What's weird is that Bane, Freeze, and the others Batman just took down are now free again thanks to the machinations of some mysterious benefactor. Well, why have Batman take them down at all if they're just going to be freed again in the story? It's wasting time. We know that at least Freeze is recaptured again soon, since he's over in the Arkham Manor book.

 

Aw, look. Joker's Daughter thinks she's better than Signalman. Adorable.

 

I love that this book is making use of several villains, both the big marquee rogues and the smaller time ones, but aren't they just reusing the same ones at this point? Do we really need to see Cluemaster, Firefly, Ratcatcher, Signalman, Lock-Up, Scarecrow, Mr. Freeze, Clayface, Bane, and Joker's Daughter again? Some of them have already had plenty of time, and in the case of Joker's Daughter (who seems to think she's on the same level as Scarecrow and Freeze, when she really belongs with Cluemaster's group), too much time. What about those villains that were on Penguin's payroll? Or what about villains we haven't seen in forever that were referenced or appeared in the book a while back, like The Wrath, or Professor Pyg?

 

But it does seem like I'm being really critical, even though I actually quite enjoyed this issue. Clearly whomever is bringing these villains together intends for them to further tarnish Batman's reputation by using his own weapons to cause further damage to the city. Now that much of our Caped Crusader's weapons have been either seized or destroyed, whoever is in on it has taken them for his or her own and given them to the villains to play with. Which leads me to ask, who is behind this all who hates both Batman and Bruce Wayne so much? Especially now that we can rule out Hush? Perhaps the Riddler can supply a hint or two.

 

A comic that reviews itself, just one of the many new innovations from DC!

 

Riddler's been holed up in a resort on a snowy mountain side, just waiting out this whole ordeal. Ever the snob, he didn't think the plans of the mastermind were worth taking part in, because, as he puts it, "It's beneath me." I might argue to the contrary, since he was mostly fine taking part in Joker's little royal court routine some time ago, which was much smaller, but maybe he's pining way for the days of the Zero Year, when he brought Gotham to its knees. It's kind of hard to follow that act. It's interesting that he's at once supremely arrogant, but not adverse to dropping a clue or two that might help our hero. However, Batman's lost his patience for this.

 

"Echo... Ecco the Dolphin... of course! It's Orca!" 

 

The hint Riddler mentioned "You are Echo" obviously means "Your Echo", and as anybody who's been reading my reviews can attest, it's a short trip to my conclusion. Who is Batman's echo? Or better yet, Bruce Wayne's echo? Striking at the Narrows he rebuilt. At his fortune. At his reputation. And his support. Who stood by years in the shadows disdaining him, growing ever more embittered, feeling denied of his inheritance?

 

I wonder who? Who? WHO?

 

It's not Buchanan February or Johnson April but ____________.

 

Oh, also Vicki Vale might have just been killed.

 

Next Issue: Toys in the Attic!

 

- Penguin Truth
(2014)

 

"Probably shouldn't have brought that yodeling album to the cabin."
 

Story: Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV
Script: Ray Fawkes
Consulting Writers: Kyle Higgins & Tim Seeley
Art: Felix Ruiz
Colors: Dave McCaig
Lettering By: John J. Hill
Cover By: Tommy Lee Edwards
Editor: Chris Conroy
Asst. Editor: Dave Wielgosz
Group Editor: Mark Doyle
Batman Created By Bob K--AHAHAHAHA, NO. Batman Created By Bill Finger