Blackgate erupts, Alfred shuts Hush up, Steph still disrupts, and this book's time is almost up, all in this action-packed, and yet revelation-deprived forty-ninth installment to DC's weekly Batman event. As the Bat family struggle with their various enemies, Stephanie rejects her father's "We can rule the galaxy together!" offer, Jason Bard races to get to Jim Gordon in time to save him, and Batman makes a flashy, dangerous entrance. Meanwhile, the guy from Gotham Spoilers is hemorrhaging over a lack of main villain reveal (I think he's ready to drop it by next week). Lincoln, Lincoln, I've been thinkin', readers' patience is a'shrinkin'! Are you dense? Are you 'tarded? The big reveal has long been charted!
The new prison riot (not to be confused with the previous riot in this same book or the riot during Arkham War, or the weekly riot-and-ice-cream social event they usually hold in Blackgate) sees Penguin trying to regain his power with an attempt on Gordon's life (having exchanged this for the mysterious mastermind's guarantee of his return to glory). Penguins' friends sure seem like a mix of prison toughs, probably congregating over what usually unites their type, promises of money, or a better place in line for the jimmies at the ice cream social. But Jim Gordon, ex-marine, ex-Commissioner of Police, and probably a reader of Alan Moore's Watchman reverses the situation swiftly, and he's not locked in there with them, they're locked in there with him.
"And they'll look up and shout, 'Save us.' And I'll whisper down, 'I am the one who knocks.'"
With the fights between Red Hood and Bane, Batgirl and Joker's Daughter, Bluebird and Mr. Freeze, Red Robin and Clayface, and Batwing and Scarecrow, it's difficulty for me to decide how I feel they should have handled this. On the one hand, if they spent the whole issue dwelling on their individual fights, it would get pretty boring, quickly. These fights are a mere distraction so that Batman and his allies will keep their eye of the main events. But on the other hand, by not doing much with these fights, it creates the distinct impression that indeed none of these fights even matter, so why did they even bother with this part of the story? Either way, I don't think they handled this element particularly well. It made the various birds and bats seem overly reliant on the computers in the Batcave and easily thrown off by Hush. At this point in the story we need to be concentrating on the person behind all of the events of this book, and these little preliminary bouts with Batman's villains just seem tacked on.
However, I do enjoy the interaction between Alfred and Hush in the Batcave. Hush, as usual, is keen to gloat about his advantage. He turned around getting captured by Batman and imprisoned in the Batcave. He has Alfred captured. He ejected Julia from the Cave. He's taking control of whatever resources Batman has left, playing with his toys. Alfred sees him for what he really is, a small, petty, jealous little boy, and of course has his own turnabout plans. Back ups for the back ups. And even more satisfying than when Batman himself took Hush down, Alfred uses his own skills to bring the pain to that bandaged bastard. I just hope they find a better prison for him this time. Like, say, the moon.
Alfred, speaking for the reader.
But I have a lot of mixed emotions about the book at this point. It has had its ups and downs, and I've found that there have been more good than bad material, and that most of the latter was because of stalling and some of the artwork. Unfortunately, stalling is just what this series is doing now, and has been for a few issues. What's worse is that the book almost seems self-aware and mocking the reader with its apologetic assurances that "the end is in sight". Well, fine, but don't disappoint, or this experiment will have proven that maybe 52 issues of a book about one particular corner of the DC universe might have been too much for the current team of writers. I love Snyder's work, but he's clearly putting most of it into the pages of Batman, and not here.
Bane's thinking, "Hm, I've never punched a jet before." And Batman's thinking, "Ugh, third guy I rammed with a jet this year. Life is so boring!"
Again, I don't hate Batman Eternal, and I didn't hate this issue, but there are problems, and there's a reason why so many seem exasperated that it's spinning its wheels.
"I'm also thankful that any of us can just use your stuff without you being necessary to the progression of the story!"
Next Issue: Reunited, And It Feels So Ouch!
- Penguin Truth
Story: Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV
Script: Kyle Higgins
Consulting Writers: Ray Fawkes & Tim Seeley
Art: Fernando Blanco
Colors: Marcelo Maiolo
Lettering: Steve Wands
Cover By: Cliff Chiang
Editor: Chris Conroy
Asst. Editor: Dave Wielgosz
Group Editor: Mark Doyle
Batman Created By Bob K--AHAHAHAHA, NO. Batman Created By Bill Finger