Art by: Alvaro Martinez
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: March 25, 2015
'Cuz they're whose clues?
I've complained about this book for just about a year now. I've yelled about the pacing, the convoluted plots, the lack of answers and the changing creative teams causing jarring transitions. I would like to think that most of my rants were warranted, but I'm sure some of them came from frustration and fatigue. I'm man enough to admit that. I'll also admit that last week's reveal of Cluemaster being the Big Bad had me a little beside myself, but I wanted answers and that was a big one. While I hoped to God that it was one last red herring, that seemed unlikely with just two issues left in the series. So, I prepared myself for this issue and prayed that James Tynion would somehow make me like the reveal and enjoy Eternal's ending. Did he succeed? Sit down a spell and let's find out...
I'll tell you right away...I loved this issue. Sure, it's mainly exposition, but it is great exposition. The frustration and anger that Cluemaster holds for Batman is palpable. He is a forgotten villain, a C-Lister that just wants the attention he deserves. Or at least, the attention he thinks he deserves. Just imagine being the best villain in an awful lot and you can understand his lot in life. Better than Signalman, worse than Clayface. Batman even calls him a second-rate Riddler to his face. Oh snap!
What's a villain to do? Well, Cluemaster wants to strip the man from the myth and prove to everyone (including himself) that Batman is not a god, but a flesh and blood mortal. That's what this has all been about. Sure, it started as a joke, but Arthur took it to the next level and now has Batman closer to death than any of those A-listers. He also removes the cowl and knows Batman is Bruce Wayne.
Let me stop here for a second. I loved everything about Cluemaster in this issue. Sure, it may be a little silly that the guy has gone to such extremes to get noticed, but crazy people do crazy things. However, when he ripped off the cowl and saw Bruce Wayne underneath, I got scared. Why did you go and do that Cluemaster? I don't care how much you think you are in control, when you find out that secret, your days are numbered.
Cluemaster isn't the only thing going on in this issue. We get Harper Row trying to convince Stephanie Brown to be a hero (it doesn't seem to work), Selina Kyle trying to decide if she wants to get involved in looting Gotham (My guess is she doesn't) and Jim Gordan telling Bard to start acting like a Commissioner (I think he will). All this is cool enough, but everyone reading this book will be on the edge of their seat to get back to the main attraction.
When we get back to Cluemaster, he has taken a bit of a beating from Bruce, but he is still in control...of the situation and the gun he has pointing at Bruce. At this point, I was fully ready to finish this story with Cluemaster as the villain and like every minute of it. Then things get flipped upside down, sideways, upside down again and then smashed to bits. I hope you get the idea that some crazy shit happens. Crazy shit you'll want to see for yourself. It's epic, ties into Bruce's past and is awesome.
I can't tell you how much I loved this issue. It may not wipe clean all the other times I cried in frustration over this book, but it gets close. I can't wait for next week's finale.
I really liked Alvaro Martinez's art again this week. He really draws a great Cluemaster and the bloody pulp that is Bruce Wayne looked just as good. The final page reveal is simply awesome.
Bits and Pieces:
Talk about saving the best for (almost) last. This penultimate issue of Batman: Eternal makes everything make sense and then tears it all apart. The story and art were excellent and I can't wait for next week's finale. This is my favorite issue of Eternal in a long time.