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Batman Eternal #17

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By Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Ray Fawkes, John Layman, Tim Seeley, Dustin Nyguyen, Derek Fridolfs, John Kalisz

“I don’t want worshipers. I only want Justice.”

The fate of Gotham doesn’t look too promising as a newly resurrected Blackfire takes another stand against the Batman. Those that have been reading this series since the beginning know what Gotham has in store and this issue marks the start of that onslaught by deacon Blackfire.

Ray Fawkes is on scripting duty this week with consulting from John Layman and Tim Seeley. This issue focuses mostly on introducing readers to where the Blackfire story/motive stems from as it pulls some of the issue three years into the past to show a former encounter between him and the Bat. The results from that scene come back to haunt Gotham, and turn a man mad with power into a man angry and literally having powers. Another trip is made via Red Robin, as he and Harper – who hid on his ship – make their way to Japan to deal with one of Gotham’s other problems, the nanobots. Harper’s character is one with a personality similar to Batman’s – and she definitely has his knack for making her own rules.  As right now, she’s rocking a look similar to Grifter, but the attitude of the Bat. Her current partnership with Red Robin is a welcomed one as their personalities play off one another – Red Robin being a more precise worker/thinker, and Harper just demanding the answers. Both are differing sides of Batman’s approach to such situations.

The trips into the past were handled well and proved to shed some much needed light onto the new enemy that’s been revived. With art by penciller Dustin Nyguyen, inker by Derek Fridolfs, and colorist John Kalisz, this trip into the past is presented in gruesome detail and colored in a way separating it from the rest of the story. Batman hangs in a situation probably not to his liking, but like most situations he’s found in it’s probably because he has a plan. The first scene showing him in this state is shrouded in darkness, as the light from a cracked door sheds onto the Bat. Kalisz did a lot of play with Fridolfs’ inks on this scene as he pulled a bit of brown and red into the mix. Batman is drawn in such a way by Nyguyen that he looks like he’s totally defeated. He keeps the scene focused on Batman while presenting a reflection in the puddle in front of him – a place where Kalisz does some work with the scene’s lighting.

This series has gone through many different takes on the types of horror Gotham has to face on a daily basis. The crime bosses, the corrupt cops, the freakishly corrupt deacons…Superman has it soooo easy in Metropolis. Issue #17 brings new story threads and motives into the mix as well as containing a scene showcasing the Batman in all of his Dark Knight glory (see the top quote for one of the best lines he’s ever muttered).

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