He's been held up by a steel rod.
Is Batman Eternal? Or is it just taking an eternity to get to Lincoln March, the obvious villain behind all this? Lord Death Man mocks, Ra's al Ghul talks, and the villains have stocks in this forty-sixth entry in DC's weekly Batman decompression exercise. Though while my patience is waning, I didn't mind seeing Batman putting the pieces together, even if he got the wrong picture based on recent events. It's always good to see Ra's al Ghul, anyway, who enjoys messing with Batman's head about his legacy, and what villain knows Batman as intimately as Ra's (heh, aside from his daughter!)? And he's not the only immortal in this issue!
"With their chocolate egg creams and sock hops."
The general thrust of the issue is that Batman, seeing that parts of his company are being bought up by Ra's al Ghul puppet companies, decides to pay the leader of the League of Assassins a not-so-friendly visit, stomping his black-garbed killers, encountering the Japanese skeleton man, one of Talia's old lackeys, a lot of illusions, and one bedridden old nemesis. Seems like while Ra's still posses animus towards our cowled chiropteran, he was just being used as a red herring, without his knowledge (he burned his invitation). Much like The Riddler, Ra's feels he's too cool for school, not wanting to participate in the big scheme. He'd prefer to attack Batman when he's a challenge.
And has had a shave and a bath.
Well, that, and he's still recovering from being thrown down a ravine in Hunt for Robin. I can't recall correctly, but apparently Ra's doesn't have access to his Lazarus Pits for some reason. Maybe he doesn't feel his injuries are serious enough to require them. So, continuity-wise, this obviously all takes place after Hunt for Robin, which precipitates the very relevant question of, "Where's Damian during all this? He came back to life by this point!"
While under the influence of hallucinogen gas, Batman sees visions of possible future versions of the Dark Knight. The first is similar to the version that fights Superman in Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns. That story wasn't even in continuity before Flashpoint, so I can only imagine Batman has already planned that armor out. Another version he sees is Dick Grayson in the role, though he's currently playing spy and frankly I'd prefer if Dick returns as Nightwing and be his own man. He also sees Terry from Batman Beyond in that suit, another Batman I don't care much for, though he's growing on me in Future's End. And of course, the Damian Wayne version of Batman with the high popped collar, which seems like the direction DC has been leaning. Ra's wants Batman to think not of the future of Bruce Wayne, but of Batman.
Not pictured: Tim Drake.
Unfortunately, Batman has taken his eyes off the city at a terrible time out of his desire to strike at the heart of the matter, leaving it at the tender mercies of folks like Mr. Freeze, Scarecrow, and... ugh, Joker's Daughter. But hey, shouldn't Red Robin, Red Hood, and Batgirl being handling those guys? It seems like Selina's doing more to help than they are.
"In other words, a lot of gift cards for The Cheesecake Factory."
Next Issue: Alley cats and rooftop runs!
- Penguin Truth
Story: Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV
Script: Tim Seeley
Consulting Writers: Ray Fawkes & Kyle Higgins
Art: Alessandro Vitti, Christian Duce, & Ronan Cliquet
Colors: Romulo Fajardo & Matt Milla
Lettering: Steve Wands
Cover By: Jae Lee & June Chung
Editor: Chris Conroy
Asst. Editor: Dave Wielgosz
Group Editor: Mark Doyle
Batman Created By Bob K--AHAHAHAHA, NO. Batman Created By Bill Finger
No, but I hear he's Forever.