Batman Eternal #5
By James Tynion IV, Scott Snyder, Ray Fawkes, John Layman, Tim Seeley, Andy Clarke & Blond
In this week’s Batman Eternal, Red Robin (Tim Drake) takes center stage. As Bruce is busy trying to help Jim Gordon, Tim investigates a mystery that is not on anyone’s radar because the source is in Gotham’s slums, the Narrows.
James Tynion IV takes full scripting duties for the first time and this book shows it. The tone shifts completely from the first four issues. There is a lot more social commentary due to the predominant setting being the Narrows. Also, the are several references to the tragic events that have befallen the Bat-family. Sometimes it feels forced because it’s a way to show where these events are taking place within the New 52 timeline.
Switching gears to focus on Red Robin and a new threat was a smart move; it prevents the Gordon storyline from becoming stagnant and it adds a new level of danger to the already established conflicts. Seeing Harper spring into action was a welcome surprise and provides insight into how she becomes Bluebird. Now, the way Vicki Vale is portrayed in this issue is not exactly the best. She’s supposed to be a veteran reporter, but then she makes a rookie move and puts herself and others in danger… I don’t buy it. Some may argue her hubris was her downfall, but that’s not at all how it comes off the page.
Andy Clarke fits right in with this title. His work is reminiscent of Jason Fabok, who killed it on the first two issues of this series. Clarke was able to effectively depict the darkness of the Narrows. Seeing Batman and Red Robin work under the cover of night is what a good Bat book is all about. The assistance of Blond on colors allows the characters to really shine in detail under the shadows in each panel. I look forward to seeing more from this art team
This comic continues to add new layers and delve further into the Gotham underbelly… It’s addicting!