After 52 issues, Batman Eternal ended this week as Gotham once again rises from the ashes thanks to its many protectors — the standouts from the series being Batman and Jim Gordon.
Scott Synder along with James Tynion IV, Tim Seeley, Ray Fawkes, and Kyle Higgins have spent the last year giving Gotham hell. This city better be offering free healthcare or something because I don’t know why anyone would keep living here. Though the notion of Gotham being able to refine you, and make you better seems pretty nice, it just doesn’t seem worth the endless riddles, penguin attacks, being frozen while you’re just trying to enjoy the weekend and let it go. But if you’re a crime fighter, good times are to be had! Unless you’re Batman… he has some pretty bad times throughout this series. What with getting his caches robbed, the whole ‘not knowing who is the one constantly a step ahead of him’ (someone he would never suspect! Did you see it coming?), also the lack of sleep… no wonder he’s so cranky all the time.
This series revolved around the idea of taking everything from Batman — which by the end we see he doesn’t even need his…utility belt! It started off with Commissioner Gordon being put in jail, which put Batman at odds with the police force. From there, Batman’s toys and even comrades are attacked and little by little more is stripped away from him as he tries to figure out who could be behind this newest plot – – is it the Riddler? The Joker? The Butler?!
Throughout the series, the list of authors had swapped out who was doing that week’s scripting, but the artists on this series expanded to a wide array of talented pencillers, inkers, and colorists. A favorite (maybe just me, but the art was fantastic) comes from Batman Eternal #11 with artist Ian Bertram alongside colorist Dave Stewart. The artwork in this issue was unlike anything else in the rest of the series. Bertram created unique looking characters with intricate details — it’s also a big issue story-wise, come the series big reveal at the end! A great scene from this issue shows Batman having a “discussion” with Cluemaster as his daughter Stephanie walks in (a flashback, so she’s really young). She sees Batman as this vile creature attacking her father, Batman’s body composed of endless tentacles.
Another unique and excellent artist to work on this series was Emanuel Simeoni who worked on issues #7, #19 and #20. His art style had a way of leaping from the page with great intensity and details, focusing on the more vile natures of someone’s appearance much like Bertram did — example being the scars on the Lion’s face when he sees his face in the mirror in issue #20. In issue #19 he hits a high note however, as Batgirl is being controlled and sees Red Hood (Jason Todd) as Joker, the result being a million reasons not to mess with Batgirl, but also a great look at Simoeni’s take on Batman’s greatest villain.
The writing on this series has put us through plenty of loops in trying to guess who the main villain come the end could possibly be. (Seriously, did you see it coming?) The story, crafted by Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV, took Batman into a world he’s not accustomed — he was completely lost! Sure, Snyder has been known to put Batman through the ringer once or twice, three times…okay a lot, but this time he saw his city crumble around him as he felt absolutely helpless to save it — plus he wasn’t getting the proper sleep and apparently doesn’t even need coffee to exist in the real world, which should be considered a superpower… but whatever.
This series from start to finish offered a great combination of action, humor, and mystery. It showed us Batman will never be alone in protecting his city and that even the citizens can rise to the occasion when called upon. As the last issue teaches us, Batman is one of the heroes that can be anyone, all you need to do is go out their and believe (being rich helps too).
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